Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Unpopularity of "Feminism"

"5. Much like scientists think creationists are lazy-minded, women aren't keen on men who make sweeping generalisations about our "mysteriousness". It's one thing to say that you have trouble understanding particular women you interact with, or to admit that you find romantic relationships challenging. But to say that we are all a mystery could be taken as someone positioning himself to dismiss and marginalise us; to imply that our opinions and ideas don't matter because we're intrinsically inexplicable. And that would be a disgrace. In future, if you are going to make a sweeping generalisation about women, try phrasing the sentence with the word "people" in place of "women". Does it make you sound daft? Maybe a little bigoted? It's OK. Few experiments work the first time."

(from Top tips on women for Stephen Hawking)

The context is that Stephen Hawking, one of the smartest people on the planet, who knows...well basically everything there is to know about the universe, said the last mystery he would like to unravel is understanding women.

Apparently that's an insult of the worst kind. There's a reason why so many women, who align their ideals and beliefs with the feminist movement do not label themselves as such. And it's because so many women who DO label themselves, are loudly offended by anything, and everything, men say or do. Which, oddly, annoys the rest of us.

I first saw this article posted on the Miss Representation Facebook page, and the comments at least, as a whole, give me confidence. I hope that other people see that the "feminists" who get enraged everytime someone mentions women at all are the minority.

Pam Ross: Wow[...]This kind of hypersensitivity is the very thing that stops me from referring to myself as a feminist. It's this kind of argument that causes the separation, dismissal and marginalization of feminists -- this petty, bloody-mindedly pedantic cry-babyism. So infuriating.

But my personal favorite was
Laura Lee: HER reaction proves HIS statement--he says "I'm confused about you" she hears "you're difficult and unimportant"

Ain't that the truth?

Clearly, we ARE a mystery. I don't even understand us half the time. And I certainly don't find that to be insulting. I think men are confusing also. They don't find that to be offensive. Causing problems based on such a simple comment only serves to reinforce the stereotype that women are overly sensitive and can (and will) make a mountain out of a molehill (or in this case, an anthill).

Men and women are entirely different creatures, who somehow manage to come together to procreate. Our bodies are different AND our brains are different. It is certainly not sexist to call out these differences, provided they are not rendering either gender subservient. The term "mysterious" does not denote marginalization.

If we're all going to be on the same team, we need to work together. We need to LAUGH together.

And finally,

As Tracey Mac commented, "Interpreting vague comments in an offensive manner is looking to be offended, which is what a lot of feminists do and accordingly why they get a bad rep. We need to focus on shit that actually matters otherwise it's just zealotry and credibility is lost."