I got into a really ridiculous argument on twitter last night.
It all kicked off when my friend LE questioned a guy on him making an extremely sexist joke - "What does a woman have in common with a bowling ball? They both get picked up, fingered, and thrown down an alley." Yeah, I know, it makes me wince as well. So he promptly came back with something along the lines of "Nooo, I don't hate women, I just hate feminists."
Or gosh, if you're particularly religious. How could I not chip in?
I like to think, in our life and times, that all women are feminists. Even if you say "I am not a feminist", you are using rights GIVEN TO YOU BY FEMINISM to express that opinion. In fact, if you identify as a woman, and have ever voted, voiced a personal opinion, worn jeans, rocked out to Kylie, or taken control of your own vagina, YOU ARE A FEMINIST. I have a sinking feeling that the word 'feminism' has become rather unfashionable. Feminism has become a grammatical mine field for 'man hating', and 'big pant wearing'. Let me tell you something; you can wear big pants and be a feminist. You can wear small pants and be a feminist. Your choice of pant does not reflect your political views*. Let me tell you something else; every time I see a teenage girl, in denim hot pants, and one side of her head shaved, saying "Nah, I'm not a feminist, I don't see the point, y'know?" a kitten dies.** Without feminism, you COULD NOT WEAR DENIM HOTPANTS, OR SHAVE YOUR HEAD.
So, back to Twitter. Around this point some other dude started chipping in, claiming that there was no reason for feminism to carry on existing, and started to wonder if I could stab someone in the eyes, via the internet. Of course there's a reason for feminism to still exist. There are many reasons, in fact. The main reason I gave as an example, being that the majority of reported cases of women being raped are either not taken seriously, or ignored. HOW IS THAT OK!?*** If we're living in a world where rapists are still being permitted to roam free, we're living in a world where we still need feminism. I fully admit that there are many cases of men being raped - it's a horrible crime which affects all aspects of gender, race, religion and social class - which are not fully followed up as well, but contrary to what my twitter friends think, I'm pretty sure there are more cases of women being raped than men. Scrap that, according to the Stern Review, 8% of reported rape victims are male. It also claimed that 99% of convicted rapists are male. Point proven.
Well, to cut a (very) long story short, the guy who managed to kick the whole debate off later apologized. However, both of them later deleted all of their tweets from the debate. I have no idea what this means, feel free to jump to your own conclusions. I learned to say 'I am a strident feminist' without feeling ashamed, and that if someone resorts to correcting your spelling, they have probably lost the argument.
In the last year, I have developed one test for whether or not feminism is still needed. In recent years, it has become semi socially acceptable for men to talk about their genitals in public, yet it still remains fairly taboo for women to do the same. Thus, we shall need feminism until the day I can stand in the middle of an office, and say the words "yeast infection", without a single person flinching, hiding under their desk, or pelting me with biros.
*Just as feminism has nothing to do with pants, it also has nothing to do with man-hating. "Feminism is a demand for equal respect between genders, not for superiority of sex" - Me
**I may have made this up.
***I apologize for the amount of capslock I'm using in this post.****
****How many foot notes do you think I can shoehorn into this post?*****
*****Five. The answer is five.