Shallow faux-feminist postings plentiful
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
I’m an intersectional feminist. I believe feminism applies to and should be followed by everyone, including people who do not identify as female. I believe men can learn a lot from the feminist movement, and that they can learn a lot simply by considering what it is like to be a woman.
I follow several social media pages on feminism. It’s partly because I have a genuine interest in the subject, and partly because I’d like to learn how to become a better and more progressive feminist. Sadly, it seems these pages often contain neither. Instead, we are treated with style over substance, and vaguely feminist topics that don’t actually teach anything.
I’m a straight cis male, and perhaps not necessarily the target audience for some of these postings, though in many ways I’m also the prime target. It is people in my demographic that are the main oppressors of women and the least understanding of feminism. There is irony in me speaking out against these pages. While I can be part of the movement, it’s probably not my place to act like I know more about feminism than the women who run the pages.
There are many great social media pages that publish quality intersectional feminist content. But in a world of clickbait and instantaneous gratification online, just as many pages publish shallow content that isn’t progressive, educational, and may not even be completely feminist in its nature.
We are all familiar with the Brock Turner case. We all (or at least, us sane people) condemned him as a rapist and were outraged by his lenient sentence and defence. Perhaps no one more so than certain feminist pages, which posted many articles attacking rapists and exuding frustration over some of the misogynistic comments defending Turner that hit the web.
Progressive feminism is not dedicated exclusively to sexual abusers. It is about discussing rape culture, the serious recurring problem of defending rapists, and dismantling the systematic issues that lead to this sort of thing. It involves education and enforcement of consent, honest (if troubling) statistics about sexual assault, and criticism of a justice system that leads to abominations like the Turner case. It is a responsibility and consequence of many systems that lead to this, and all other feminist issues.
Feminism is not easy, nor is it meant to be. It is a complex system that continues to evolve in its intersectionality, theory, and practice. You can get a PhD in the subject. You can spend your entire life working to spread feminism, and still come up short with so many who are opposed to the idea. Spreading feminism means spreading feminist values, practices, and facts, which isn’t always easy. It involves opening a wider scope of social justice and exposing some very hard truths.
If one is serious about feminism, one needs to learn what feminism really involves. It starts with acknowledging and working towards equal rights for women, but it’s so much more than that, and more than what can fit inside a tweet or photo. It’s a deep-rooted social concept that fundamentally shapes society and human interaction. Perhaps the social media pages should reflect this.