Written by Chloe Topley
This morning I woke up to find the video from Lauren Southern explaining why she isn’t a feminist. It’s safe to say that the video irritated me slightly, but I think it’s necessary to point out why what she is saying is exactly why she should be a feminist.
I’m going to firstly address her point she made right at the end of the video that feminism is a “gender biased word”, as this is something I hear a lot, along with suggestions that the movement should be renamed “equalism”. I understand why people may call it gender biased, when what feminism claims to be aiming to do is to challenge issues that make both genders face inequality due to the patriarchal society which we live in, and the gender stereotypes which this produces. However, the focus of females in the name of the movement is vital, as when the movement emerged it was females’ rights that were mainly being fought for, such as the right to vote.
The point is, that women were (and in my opinion still are to quite some extent) oppressed and silenced, so the movement should not do the same, it should make the group who it is fighting for known, as this is already a step to fighting the silence of them. It perhaps is the case today that women have a lot of the rights we were once fighting for and it is now the gender stereotypes which are mostly being challenged, but I think that it is important to pay respect to the very original fighters of the movement and not lose sight of the focus on women.
Throughout the whole video Lauren spouts out statistic after statistic that she “bets very few people watching this video right now know”. In fact, I was already aware of those issues, such as the fact that females are more likely to win a case of child custody, and that there are a lot of male domestic abuse victims, as well as female victims. These issues that she points out are issues which occur due to the gender stereotypes internalised within most members of our society. Why are women more likely to win a case of child custody? Because we are seen as the more caring gender, we are arguably seen as a walking womb, it is our role to produce and care for children.
This is an issue which feminists like me want to challenge, what about the women who do not want children, are our lives worthless? And, as Lauren says, why should it be expected that we will do a better job of being a child’s full time carer, rather than the father? And then, the issue that males largely experience domestic violence too, but receive little help. This is surely an issue of the ideals of masculinity, officials do very little to help male victims because it often isn’t even believed that males can be victims of domestic violence, as they are presumed to be the dominant member of a relationship, they surely can’t be being beaten by a woman? I agree with Lauren that these are huge issues that need to be noticed, and I, a feminist, notice these issues and believe that by challenging gender roles such as the ideals of masculinity, the issues could be helped. If masculinity was less of a ‘must’ for men, if men didn’t have to act strong and dominant, then maybe they would feel more prepared to open up about being victims of domestic abuse, and maybe officials such as the police would be more open to helping them, as they wouldn’t see why they shouldn’t help.
I would also like to add a comment about her recent twitter post of women who identify as feminists calling her a “dumb piece of shit” and a “blonde joke”. Such insults are what I would suggest is internalised misogyny, the need to insult other females because it is seen as a bad thing to be a “blonde”, or just a female in general. Basically, I understand that those women would make you not want to be a feminist but I can assure you that they obviously haven’t learned exactly what the word means, and by putting other women down they are not supporting the movement as well as they could. But as Lauren suggests that feminists blanket all males as being privileged, and all females as being oppressed, I hope that she doesn’t blanket all feminist as being like those in the picture which she tweeted (see below).
These issues of “entitlements and supremacy” which she seems to believe that feminism is all about, are what make this society unequal on the basis of gender, and that is what feminists are challenging, just like she is in the video.
I agree that certain people who identify as feminists are simply misandrists, and if those people are who Lauren primarily comes into contact with I can understand why she may think that feminism is not about equality, but I hope that what I’ve talked about here can show people who think that, that the movement is focused on all of the issues Lauren talks about and truly is striving for equality, for all genders.