Debate Magazine

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

Posted on the 13 February 2012 by Juliez
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Give me a world where rape (not only of women, but of men, children, and transgendered people) is obsolete, and I’ll show you a world where feminism isn’t needed.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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