Full Frontal Feminism

LVJ dusts the cobwebs off feminism and shows why the movement is as important as ever.

Cosmo Cosmopolitan Feminism feminist glass ceiling inequality Lads

This isn’t a feminist article. 

If it was, every Y chromosome out there in front of their laptop screen would visibly shudder and their balls would retract. As would their attention span.

Because feminism, it appears, has become somewhat of a taboo topic. Gone are the days of bra-burning and legions of women proudly wearing suffragette badges. Now we’re scared of associating ourselves with a movement clearly filled with short haired hockey players who have never had a boyfriend and can knock a grown man out with a single right hook. So we don’t like to call ourselves ’feminist’. I’m not saying we all sit quietly doing the ironing until he asks for a steak sandwich and blow job then happily get on our knees and oblige. We don’t. We go out, put on our perfectly fitted suits and fill offices in bigger numbers than that of sexually harassed secretary. The kids go off to a childminder and we are climbing the corporate ladder; the kind of proud successful empowered woman Cosmopolitan magazine encourages on a monthly basis.

There’s no mention of the glass ceiling. No mention of the fact that just one fifth of partners in the leading 100 UK law firms are female, or that at the close of the 2009/10 session only 20% of MPs were women: we’ve got the equality box already ticked. We already made our big stand – there’s an equal pay act and the principle of non-discrimination is now enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. We’ve recognised the fact that women are, in fact, people too. They’re allowed to work, vote and ask him to do the washing up every now and again. So why are you still complaining?

The fact is that although we’ve undoubtedly improved things, we haven’t perfected them. We’ve given up on true equality and set it as ‘something to get round to’ without doing anything proactive to achieve it. In the meantime, we’ve settled.

This means that these proud successful empowered career women are trying to DO IT ALL. Husband, kids, keeping the house nice, having a social life and climbing that all important career ladder. That’s not to mention fitting in gym sessions and a daily dose of rabbit food to fit in with society’s current obsession with the well groomed skeleton. They’re so afraid to admit that they’re not quite coping that they refuse to ask for help. So many women feel like they’ve got something to prove and any admission of anything that could be construed as weakness is inconceivable.  Well, isn’t this is what we wanted, all this equality? It’s this determination to man up and deal with it that leads to tragedies like Catherine Bailey.  This high powered lawyer and mum of two had such a perfect life balance that she threw herself off a balcony. No mental health issues, just trying to be superwoman when in fact she was painfully human. And crumbled.

We are set in a society that constantly reaffirms women’s insecurities by propounding photo-shopped images of minute models and magazines filled with glossy features on ‘how to make him fall for you in five easy steps’. Royal College of Psychiatrists research showed that women were ten times more likely to suffer from anorexia or bulimia than men. Now, I’m not saying that anorexia is caused by the pressure on women to be thin – it’s a complicated mental disorder with various causes and factors – but ask any woman if she’s been on a diet and chances are, she has. Women are far more likely than men to have an unhealthy relationship with food, worrying if they’ve eaten too much and constantly calorie counting. How many men do you know who would be happy to sit down to a meal of vegetables and grilled fish?

Now let’s have a look at ‘truelad.com’, a website that subscribes to the new cultural movement that is the ‘Lad’. A red blooded, heavy drinking, twattish phenomenon led only by The Penis.

‘Broke up with girlfriend of two years on good terms, went over the next day to collect my stuff to find her out and her sister in. She starts spouting about how she always fancied me. Furious shagging for a good two hours. I get a text the next day saying that my ex could smell me on her sister! LAD’

Readers are giving this so-called ‘lad’ a pat on the back for treating two women like utter shit. A quick scan of the site reveals a hell of a lot of stories where the crux of the joke is the ‘gash’ being an idiot/slut/good for a shag and that’s about it. By the way, I’m not completely naïve; I realise the majority of these stories are complete and utter bullshit. The issue lies with the fact that demeaning women is so often the source of humour and pride. Every now and then you come across a ‘ladette’, continually getting a ‘shit lad’ rating of course, but her attempt to join in with the big boys is just embarrassing really. Why try and join in when the joke is always on you?

And so that’s the crux: the fact that women now refuse to stand up and complain against discrimination or unfairness. Be it in the workplace where they stay silent no matter how much they struggle, or in the commonly held views which are just unfair towards the ‘fairer’ sex. It is in the things we let slide because ‘everyone does it’ or ‘it’s just banter’. We don’t want to be labelled with the ‘feminist’ tag any more, so we don’t complain when in fact we have every right. Fuck ‘feminism’; the point is acknowledging when things are unfair and not just letting them happen.

So don’t keep quiet. Stand up for yourselves a bit. Things aren’t equal yet and feminism shouldn’t just be something we read about in the history books.