Here’s some advice for the swelling ranks of Women Against Feminism — please give back any educational credentials gained post primary school, stop voting and if you have a husband immediately give him all the money and assets you possess or earn.
If you don’t support feminism, indeed you are railing against it, then you should at the very least understand what you are actually objecting to rather than trot out protests against inaccurate stereotypes.
In case some WAF are unaware, this is what feminism has delivered: access to education and employment, the vote and equal pay legislation (although this goal remains a work in progress) and the right to own property, or instigate a divorce, get a bank loan, and control your own fertility.
In fact, the very right for women to publicly voice their views, even the anti-feminist variety, is a direct legacy of feminism.
WAF supporters have been posting pictures of themselves and from the look of it, many are young women. Perhaps they need a bit of perspective.
Feminism is actually one of the most successful human rights movements the world has seen. Endless arguments about whether we live in a post-feminist world tend to give little credit for what has already been achieved, not by accident or naturally, but through sheer effort and sacrifice.
Sure, it’s mission is still incomplete. But that shouldn’t blind us to the massive changes achieved in the last century, overturning thousands of years of social and economic tradition.
Fighting and overthrowing unfairness is usually hailed as a noble and worthwhile endeavour. Imagine ridiculing and denigrating the efforts of the brave souls who led and supported anti-racism groups such as as the civil rights and anti-apartheid movements?
But feminism has suffered the opposite fate.
Some of the very people who it represents and have benefited enormously from it have been persuaded it is a left wing conspiracy of rampant man-haters who ban you from wearing lipstick and suffer from a humour bypass.
Indeed many people who tell me they aren’t feminists don’t credit the movement with much more than burning bras in the 1970s. Worryingly, some younger women in the WAF cohort seem to have fallen hook, line and sinker for the recent nostalgia for the stay-at-home housewife model, forgetting that most women just a few decades ago had no other choice.
For all it’s successes, feminism also has much more to do. There is still a gender pay gap of 17%, women’s reproductive rights are under threat in many countries, women in Australia have appalling low levels of superannuation and recent research showed an astonishing number of women are facing pregnancy discrimination.
And of course women in Saudi Arabia are still waiting for permission to drive a car.
We need feminism now more than ever. And there are no membership rules.
Feminism is not a club although it’s been depicted as one. You don’t have to hate men but hate unfairness. You don’t have to think a certain way but believe in the right to speak out.
You simply have to believe men and women are of equal value and entitled to the same opportunities. And if you do, then you are a feminist.
If not, there’s nothing stopping you from taking to the streets. Thanks to feminism.