February 10, 2016, by Joe
Feminism is the belief in the equality of the sexes. Despite this simple belief for which the feminist movement stands, many people see it as a bad thing. There are, broadly speaking, two reasons why people might see feminism as not worth supporting:
- They are misinformed about the actual values that feminism stands for.
- They think that the sexes are already “equal” and that there is no problem
My hope is that this post clears up both of these fallacies. When you get down to it, massive inequalities still exist in modern day Britain between the sexes. Both men and women experience discrimination because of their gender. For example tampons currently hold the tax status of “luxury product” in the UK today, despite it being obvious to anyone with any common sense that they are in fact essential. It is also worth mentioning that men often receive harsher sentences than a woman would for the same crime.
Discrimination is experienced by both men and women, although not in equal measure. It is very clear that women are discriminated against a lot more than men are. This is obvious and historically women have been oppressed for a longer duration and to a greater degree than possibly any other group of people. Acknowledging that men have been and still are privileged in everyday life is crucial to anyone who decides to question whether feminism is relevant.
However in spite of the apparent simplicity of treating men and women equally, when discussions take place, all too often the debate becomes about “who has it worse”, this is especially annoying when it is quite obvious women have it worse. This for me is a pointless distraction from the real question which should be “how do we deal with this problem”. It is crucial when discussing these issues to acknowledge privilege wherever it occurs, ignoring it and pretending it doesn’t exist leads to denial. Only by avoiding this sort of divisive and incendiary rhetoric can we work together to help end sexism in all its forms.