Feminism | Posted by Colleen L on 02/13/2012

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

what does feminism look like today?

In its formative days (in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and then in the 1960s and ‘70s), feminism was, above all, about promoting equal social and political citizenship for women. Contemporary feminism – the “third wave” – is, like today’s world, far more complex than its predecessors. It’s not just about equality anymore (though this is and always will be an issue). To me, today’s feminism is less about getting equal pay and spouting catchy phrases (“down with the patriarchy!”) and more about fostering a world in which women, men, and transgendered people all have the opportunity to live healthy, happy lives as whole and fully valued human beings. To me, feminism is about turning current concepts of gender, sexuality, rape, and more completely on their heads. I could spew statistics galore about unequal pay, but the fact of the matter is that inequality is only one piece of this massive, multifaceted puzzle.

Give me a world where rape (not only of women, but of men, children, and transgendered people) is obsolete, and I’ll show you a world where feminism isn’t needed.

Give me a world where ze and hir are as common and widespread as he/she and him/her, and I’ll show you a world where feminism isn’t needed.

Give me a world where women and girls are valued primarily for their intelligence, humanity, and personalities rather than their physical attributes, a world where sex trafficking doesn’t exist, a world where politicians don’t bicker about what a woman can and can’t do with her body, where music about raping and killing women isn’t popular or mainstream (such as Eminem’s album Relapse, which sold over half a million copies just upon its release and contains the lyrics: “whore you’re the kinda girl that I’d assault and rape and figure why not…”), a world where sexual violence isn’t sexy, where young girls aren’t taught that in order to be a “pure”, happy, healthy member of society, they must jealously guard their virginity, a world where sexually active women aren’t called “hos”, “sluts”, “whores”, or any other multitude of demeaning and dehumanizing names, but rather are considered to be normal and healthy human beings.

We need more than systematically defined equality. We need a world where men and women aren’t forced into constrictive, harmful, and untrue sexual stereotypes such as the passive woman lacking in sexual desire (and thus needing to be convinced or coerced into sexual activity) and the man who is predatory and hypersexual. Let’s build a world where the foremost method of combating rape and rape culture isn’t telling girls and women ways to protect themselves (don’t drink too much, don’t wear anything too revealing, never go anywhere alone at night, don’t ever leave your drink alone, carry pepper spray, don’t lead men on, don’t leave your house, become a nun, et cetera) – thus preemptively placing the burden on potential victims – but a new paradigm where men and boys are instilled with the values of healthy sexual relationships and taught to view women as human beings who are sexual creatures, as are all human beings. (This is opposed to the current images of sex in popular culture, in which sex is portrayed as a commodity, something that women “have” and men must obtain through force or some other non-mutual, unilateral action.)

Give me a world where all these things are true, and I’ll give you a world where “feminism” is a thing of the past.

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  • Renee @ at 11:15 pm, February 13th, 2012

    Yeah while feminism is needed fake words like Ze and Hir or any variation thereof IS NOT NEEDED! Stop trying to make them Happen they aren’t going to happen! But this is coming from the site that used the phrase “girlcott” whateve the hell that is. Seriously when you start using made up words don’t expect people to take you seriously.

  • atrophia @ at 9:29 am, February 15th, 2012

    They aren’t fake words, Renee, they are increasingly popular gender neutral pronouns. I like “they” as a gender neutral pronoun, because there’s no reason it can’t be singular as well, but if any person prefers ze/zie/zir or any other gender neutral pronoun, it’s only respectful to use the pronouns zie prefers for zirself. And any of the above sounds way better than “he/she” or even “he or she” (not least because, as Talia pointed out in a previous post, with any construction of that nature one gender necessarily has to be put first).

  • Renee @ at 7:37 pm, February 15th, 2012

    They are absolutely fake, they are the fakest and most pretentious words to ever come out of the English language. I not 100% sure why I hate the gender nuetral pronoun(s) ze/zie/zir. But I believe that it has to do with the fact that IT DOES NOT MATTER! Seriously I think feminisms focus on this is just plain old ridiculous and honestly I forsee some kind of weird Twilight Zone-esque ending were we finally get our oh-so-craved GNP and just in time to celebrate the overturning of Roe v. Wade! TLDR; Fellow Feminist: Your focusing on THE WRONG THING!!!
    ETA: It also might be that I just have an irrational dislike like of the letter “z” when it comes to these words. Where did we get “z” from anyway? Wouldn’t it just be better to drop the “s” or “h” and just use e? Like: E went to the park with Julie. Or Eir waiting at the bustop.

  • Matt SS @ at 11:05 pm, February 16th, 2012

    Well another option is hir. Zie seems to be more popular though.

  • Gigi @ at 7:56 pm, February 22nd, 2012

    Whoa. I cannot believe those eminem “lyrics” are…well real. That is so incredibly screwed up. I’d never had much respect for eminem before but after reading that I’m thinking that he’s a misogynistic jerk with absolutely no claim on the term “musician”. It’s incredibly disturbing that songs containing lyrics such as those are the mainstream, and so popular…

  • The Round-Up: Feb. 14, 2012 | Gender Focus – A Canadian Feminist Blog @ at 2:17 pm, February 9th, 2013

    [...] Colleen at The F Bomb shares what she thinks the world needs to be before feminism isn’t needed anymore. [...]

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