The world has changed a lot in the past hundred years or so. The very foundation of first world societies have been tipped on their head and rebuilt from the ground up. It was only in 1918 that the right to vote here in the UK was extended to all men over the age of twenty one and prominent women over the age of thirty. A year later the first female MP took her seat in Westminster and then in a further ten years the vote was extended again to give women equal rights as men. Equal pay was enacted in 1970 and employers are no longer able to discriminate based on gender, race, religion or sexuality. Women are now consistently less likely to be unemployed, attain better grades at GCSE level and make up a growing majority percentage of university places.
All of this is pretty cool, right? It shows that we are a progressive society where women are valued and treated as equals. So why can’t I stop hearing people preach about inequality, sexism and misogyny? Even bringing up this topic in a rational and academic way makes me feel like I’m going to come under heavy fire but I’m tired of hearing empty rhetoric. So here it goes.
Third wave feminism is a lie. Is society perfect? No. Does sexism exist? Yes. Can things be changed to improve society? Certainly. Is crying, screaming, bullying and spreading lies a productive way to gain these changes? No. No it is not.
It is becoming more apparent that the biggest threat to women is actually modern feminism. That is a big claim but bear with me. Like all groups in the modern age, feminism has developed fringe elements that act in an extreme way and are hard to regulate. Anybody can say that they are a feminist. There are no set in stone rules or memberships that can be revoked. While these people may not represent the group at large, they taint the image and offer poor representation to the outside world, effectively turning people against their chosen label regardless of who else might be using that same label for genuine good. It is these fringe extremists that I will be mostly referring to but their opinions and actions reflect poorly on everyone.
So why are these feminists a threat? At its simplest they are creating friction in order to further their own goals. They perpetuate their own myths and engage in twisted games of self-fulfilling prophecies. If you listen to the rhetoric that they spout you will hear such lines as “rape culture” and “toxic masculinity”. They strive to paint the world as a dangerous, scary place where women are oppressed at every turn and cannot succeed in life under the current status quo. This simply isn’t true. Sure, danger exists, as does oppression, but they don’t discriminate as proactively as the feminists would like you to believe. As I showed above, women are actually outpacing men when it comes to day-to-day life. When you throw in extra facts like men making up 70% of homicide victims, 78% of suicides, losing most custody cases and getting far harsher punishment for the same crimes in comparison to women and you begin to wonder where all of this oppression is really coming from.
It is easy to point out the mythical pay gap or that most positions of power are held by men but they both stem from the same basic fact. More men try to get into these higher jobs than women. We established that more women attend university than men but if you look by subject you begin to see that women tend towards creative or social course while men go for the more practical or academic courses. Nobody is telling these women that they can’t study business or physics, and many do study them, but they instead chose to take a different path that leads to proportionately lower paid jobs. I took a Creative Writing course so I can’t judge people for taking less practical subjects but don’t complain about your decisions and blame them on “the patriarchy”.
It comes down to a key difference between how men and women think. On the whole, women tend to prefer personal happiness and take jobs where they help others and are in a social environment while men are more motivated by money and position. Thinking historically, men have always done hard, dangerous jobs to support their families. Happiness never came into it. People did what needed to be done to do right by those in their care. There is nothing wrong with either approach. The world needs both. Just don’t get angry that women as a collective earn less when they chose to go into jobs that pay less.
But it isn’t just the real world that these people want to misrepresent and change in their favour. Increasingly we are seeing feminists wanting to alter films, video games and marketing campaigns due to sexism and unrealistic standards of beauty for women. I will focus mainly on games here since they are more my area of knowledge. I will never say that increased diversity is a bad thing. I enjoy seeing more female characters and characters of other races. Are most women in gaming realistic? No, they are not. They are usually very fit and very sexy since most gamers in the past were young males. The player base for games has become a lot more equal than back in those days but the thing is, most of these female gamers came into gaming and loved these characters just as much as the men. Do you want to tell me that the thousands of women of all shapes and sizes who cosplay as sexy characters in revealing clothes are all doing it for male attention or through a warped sense of “internalised misogyny”?
Better yet, do they somehow believe that male characters in games are realistic and non-sexualised? From the muscle men of Kratos and the Gears of War guys to the ruggedly handsome likes of Nathan Drake and Ezio there really isn’t much that I can compare myself to. Do I feel downtrodden and insecure? Do I hate that I will never look half as good as these characters and that there are no flabby male characters with rat-like faces to represent me? Sure I can look at a character or actor and think that I should stop playing games and watching TV and start exercising and eating healthy and I might look and feel better. Then I immediately punch myself in the face and grab a glass of milk and a pizza and double down on my gaming because I don’t want to do that.
Ah, but the feminists won’t accept the unrealistic male characters because they aren’t sexist but instead “male power fantasies”. This only highlights an illogical chain of thought though. If men can watch He-Man and see him be built like a gorilla, wearing nothing except his underpants, and view it as a power fantasy representing the idealised man then why is old school Lara Croft in her combat shorts and t-shirt with a fit body and exaggerated proportions sexist, demeaning and emotionally crushing for young girls. Feminists are basically reaffirming that women are weak minded, emotional and are unable to cope with seeing things that might make them feel sad. Does this sound like a mold for strong, independent women like these feminists say they represent?
Gaming characters and blockbuster movie characters are not suppose to be representative of the masses. They are extraordinary. Often they are fighters, soldiers or athletes who are doing crazy things that most of us wouldn’t dream about. At this point a fifth of the world is deemed to be obese. Would you really want to play a game where your character struggles to fit through doors and violently throws up if they have to run more than ten feet? Granted, characters are overly sexualised, that can’t be denied, but as long as they have other character traits too then it really doesn’t do any harm. Why belittle Lara as a sex object when she is a world famous archaeologist, can flip and shoot to an Olympic standard and is more intelligent than most characters in reality based games? That seems the real crime.
It is all a strange double standard really. These women criticize things like female representation in the media, gaining a lot of support from women and men the world over, yet they never consider their own objectification of men. The shirtless man with a sixpack as seen in every female oriented movie and TV show ever, as well as advertisements like Coca Cola, are the male equivalent of the beautiful woman in a bikini. How many times does Jacob take off his damn shirt in Twilight? How many romance films involve a woman trying to win the affection of a balding accountant with a beerbelly?
In fact all of the evidence, (and this is going to be controversial), suggest that women want to be submissive to men. Just look at female media and it is awash with very clear ideas of what stereotypical women want. There is the trope of women being attracted to the “bad boy” type characters and we see this time and again. Look at the most popular examples of heartthrobs across movies and books and the recurring pattern seems to be that they are colossal arseholes. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights is lorded as the tall, dark and handsome archetype yet he is abusive to women and marries someone he hates just to spite another woman. The best example is Fifty Shades of Grey, a poorly written fanfiction that apparently set women’s ovaries fluttering and outsold the Harry Potter series, something bought by children and adults of all ages the world over. Christian Grey became THE sex symbol for the masses yet he lies, cheats and abuses women, ignores safe words during S&M sex and basically stalks and pressures the lead woman until he got his way.
Let’s not ignore the fact that because of this, women dethroned a fun, family oriented fantasy story as the most sold piece of modern literature and replaced it with porn. Call it “erotica” all you want but it doesn’t change the fact that there is an almost exclusively female genre of long-winded porn. Yet that is empowering while visual porn that offers instant gratification is vile and oppressive. Okay.
Returning to my initial point I stated that these feminists seek to create fiction. You can witness this in every facet that has been the subject of their attention. They are creating a very clearly defined “Us vs Them” mentality that is only serving to divide society. In gaming the culture had never been perfect but there wasn’t a real issue with female characters, just like in movies. There have always been badass ladies in fiction like Lara Croft, Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley and Samus Aran. Now though the debate from feminists has only sparked a paranoia that every female protagonist is now an attempt to further the feminist propaganda machine. We’ve seen this with many modern female led properties like the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, Life is Strange and The Force Awakens. Ironically women only became an issue when feminists made them an issue.
And that is the crux of the issue. These ‘extreme’ feminists need feminism to be an issue. Think about all of the women who kick up the most fuss about these issues and then think about what it is they do. Most of them have roles as advisers, campaigners and spokespeople. They make a career from feminism. As soon as gender isn’t considered as an issue they are out of the job so it is in their best interest to continue fanning the flames of hate.
If you consider yourself a feminist and believe in true equality for both men and women then good on you. Just don’t get angry and think that everybody who says that they don’t agree with feminism is automatically ignorant or sexist. Nothing is black or white. And remember, women of the world, you are not weak, helpless or oppressed any more than the rest of us. Don’t let anyone tell you to live in fear or that you need special help and considerations to get anywhere in life. Our three longest serving monarchs have been queens and we have had a female Prime Minister. You are not powerless.