This wasn’t the post I was intending to write. Sometimes something just comes to mind and I have to go with it. I’ve been thinking about feminism and my take on it.
That feminism exists is bad. OK, I’ve probably ruffled a few feathers with that but I’m going to explain my position. I hope you’ll keep reading and see where I’m going with this.
Feminism exists because of gender inequality: that is its raison d’etre. As long as women have lower social status than men there will be a need for feminism. This social status is demonstrated by the lower average earnings of women and in the low proportion of women in top jobs.
The lower earner in a partnership such as marriage is usually dependent on the higher earner to a varying degree. This is an unequal partnership, and gives more power to the higher earner. And in the majority of cases the lower earner is a woman. Dependency is bad because it leaves the dependent vulnerable to being coerced.
The existence of feminism is a symptom of inequality. If there were true equality, if a person’s opportunities in life were the same regardless of the gender they present to the world at large — yes, I recognize that not everybody is cisgendered which is why this isn’t purely about what happens to be between a person’s legs — then what would that world look like?
It’s an interesting question, not least because there are physiological differences between the human sexes. One obvious difference is that men are, on average, taller and stronger than women. But that alone does not account for the levels of inequality.
Most inequality stems from a bias in society that favors men over women. As an example, studies have demonstrated that, other factors being equal, male candidates have a greater chance of being selected for most jobs, even when those performing the selection are women.
This is obviously something that runs deep, so how can it be changed? I believe the only way is to demonstrate equality in practice so that a generation grows up seeing it as the norm. But getting there will be a slow process. Some headway has been made: there are some women in government and in high-powered jobs. But they are still a minority even though the ratio of the sexes is close to parity in the general population.
We are ensnared by established stereotypes of gender roles: these stereotypes must be dismantled, discredited, discarded. The fact is that we still have a long way to go before we reach the point of equilibrium, of equality. And until that day feminism remains as necessary as ever. I believe strongly in equality, and that is why I choose to be a feminist. I hope I see a day when it is no longer needed.