May 5, 2022
All of your questions about feminism and gender equality, answered by This is Your Life Now’s in-house Fembot.
Hello, I’m your friendly neighbourhood Fembot. How can I help you?
Oh, I’m just looking to get through my day peacefully, but the world is falling apart and everyone is mad at each other for a million different reasons. You got anything for that?
Feminism can help!
Of course! Feminism and gender equality can help all of us understand and empathise with each other better.
Well, by learning to appreciate each other as equals and respecting their autonomy, we can come together to solve problems effectively, without bias. Pretty cool, huh?
But isn’t feminism part of the problem, because it divides and pits women and men against each other? That seems counterproductive.
Well, feminism does focus on how societies can be generally biased towards men… sometimes, even in ways that backfire and hurt men themselves.
So you’re saying that feminism benefits men too, despite its name?
Yes! It’s not as simple as “men bad, women good”, as many people have been led to believe.
Not every social problem is due to gender inequality, though.
You’re right. Most women (and men) also experience racism and other forms of discrimination, and that’s where ✨ intersectionality ✨ comes in.
I wasn’t aware that I was signing up for a gender studies degree. Simplify, please.
To be truly effective, feminism must take other forms of prejudice into account.
What? Why not just focus on solving one problem like sexism first?
Because nobody is solely defined by their gender; plenty of women (and men) face sexism *and* racism, ableism, or other types of discrimination at the same time.
And discrimination on the basis of anything as random as gender — or race, or disability etc. — is just bad for society.
I see. So feminism may address gender equality, but if you agree that gender discrimination is unacceptable, it follows that you should also stand against racism and other forms of prejudice.
OK, I think I can get behind equality and unity. Sign me up.
That’s the spirit! Just bear in mind, however, that embracing feminism is not enough on its own.
What do you mean?
In theory, a good feminist should also stand against other forms of bigotry etc; their feminism should be ✨ intersectional ✨.
Yes, you’ve mentioned. Been there, clicked the hyperlink.
In practice, it doesn’t always work that way. Being a feminist doesn’t mean that the rest just falls into place; sometimes, feminists can be prejudiced in other ways too.
So problematic feminism is a thing? Oh God, I knew this was a waste of time.
Yes, it can be confusing but perhaps to reject gender equality for the sake of a few bad feminists will harm us more. It takes hard work to unlearn prejudice.
You said it would solve my problems, not give me more work.
Maybe think of it as a long-term investment in a better world. People’s problems are unique to their personal experiences, and none of them should be used to deny a person basic dignity.
Is this not worth striving towards?
Join us as we explore the ins-and-outs of what it means to be a woman today.
Read the next piece of this series in which we explore the persistent challenges women face and answer the question Why Still Women?
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