Published On: Sun, Jul 8th, 2012

Is The ‘F-word’ Taken Too Far?

No not THAT word. Feminism. In the year 2012, attention has been focused on feminism orthe ‘F’ word as it is commonly referred to. I have seen numerous magazine articles and a campaign ‘supporting the F word’ which even involved a number of celebrities. Why is this F phenomenon taking storm?

Look up feminism in the dictionary and you get the definition:  “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” I personally agree with this. Every woman should be a feminist in this instance. Women should absolutely have the same rights as men. Men are not higher beings and as a science student I can say this with confidence I agree with equal job opportunities and equal pay, I completely agree that women should not be looked down upon in society, however the high number of rape cases (one in four women have experienced rape or attempted rape) show that this is still an issue in Britain. Yet for me, this goes without saying. Just as we wouldn’t expect somebody of African-Caribbean descent to be paid less than someone of British decent with the same qualifications, or treated any differently, this should undoubtedly be the same for women.

It is extreme feminism I would like to challenge. The women who feel it is our prerogative to be on par with men in every aspect of life. The women who want to drink men under the table; refuse kind gestures because it comes from a male. The truth is, women are not the same as men. Men are stronger and larger. It is simply nature. Men are pumped with testosterone and hence ‘manly’ tendencies, and most importantly they do not give birth. It is a women’s gift to bear life, to grow a baby and then give birth to it and the ability to nurture it using nothing but our body which sets us apart from our male counterpart.

This shouldn’t be taken lightly; we spend nine months of our lives, swollen ankles, aching backs, braxten hicks and contractions, not to mention the act of birthing itself. It is an amazing thing. Men should want to worship us for going through it! Why do we continue to want to act like men? Why do we find it offensive if they offer to buy us a drink? Even to hold the door open for us?

I will hold my hands up, I was one of these women, I’m 21 and naive. I have been kept waiting for no less than 20 minutes each time I arranged to meet a certain date. When confronted that “surely it should be the other way round?” he confidently replied “It’s the 21st century,” and I wholly agreed. I’ve forced my £3.40 onto a nice gentleman who bought me a drink, to be faced with a very offended face stood opposite. There was even one point where I had finished two of three hectic 14 hour shifts spent on my feet and resulted to sitting on the tube floor crying to my mum to pick me up from the station. There were no spare seats nor one person to offer me their own, let alone a gentleman in sight.

It wasn’t until one day, nearing my 21st birthday (automatically making me wiser) I was sat on the tube on the way to work, I had been engrossed in my favourite magazine and when I had looked up. The tube was packed all of a sudden. I looked around to find women of all kinds: business women in suits and heels, the more laid back women ready for a day out shopping, some more mature ladies and some teenagers all standing around me. I then looked at the seats to find a great deal of them filled by men, staring at themselves in the reflection of the window. What was to come next made me writhe with anger. One man got off and a seat had become available. I know firsthand the war that occurs when trying to get to that seat. However when faced with a man, almost twice the size and most certainly stronger than the average female push his way to this single spare seat it’s not hard to assume that these women had no chance. What!? Did I see that correctly? Why couldn’t the woman about 20 years older than you have that seat? What about the woman about to embark on a full days work in the city?

But then again how can we blame this astonishing behaviour when as women, we are trying to drum into society that we are just like men? Even in the animal kingdom the chance of a male finding a mate depends on his courtship role – whether he can provide food and protection for the female and her family.

Maybe ‘feminism’ is the wrong word here, maybe I should be referring to ‘chivalry’. Never the less, as strong independent women we should embrace it. After all, there is only one Superman, let’s leave it to him!

Chelsea McKenzie

About the Author

- Clare is currently in her third and final year of studying for her degree in English. She is originally from Essex but is enjoying an active life as an adopted Northerner here in Liverpool. She is an avid creative writer; past experience includes published articles in Police publications and self-publishing her own book of poetry at the age of 16. In her spare time Clare relishes performing music, including clarinet, saxophone, piano and singing, and of course travelling and seeing the world.

  • Millie Kidson

    I don’t think many feminists would argue that having a door held open for them or being bought a drink is offensive or an affront to their equality.

    Feminism is coming to the forefront of the public consciousness in 2012 because of the gulf of equality that is yet to have been addressed. Such issues include the 17% average pay gap; the right of a woman to legal and safe abortion; the fact that only 22% of MPs are female; around 100,000 women are raped each year in the UK but the rape conviction rate remains at 6.5%; 2 women a week are murdered as a result of domestic violence.

    These are all pretty shocking given that it is the 21st century, and no amount of discussing chivalry and its merits or problems will fix that.

    • Chelsea

      Hi Millie,

      I agree with what you’re saying, I addressed a few of those issues at the beginning.

      However I see this as equality which I agree with 100% and would expect every female to be a feminist in that respect. Here, I am mainly talking about difference. I don’t think anything must be unequal to be different.

      I am talking about the extreme feminists, albeit few in numbers, and the guys who think the excuse “it’s the 21st century” is justifiable for impoliteness and unchivalrous behaviour.

      I hope I have justified my thoughts :)
      Chelsea x

      • Millie Kidson

        I don’t really get what you’re saying here – all females should be feminists but not ‘extreme feminists’?
        Could you give some examples of this ‘extreme feminism’?

        • Chelsea

          As mentioned in the article, some women dislike men holding doors open for them, paying for them ect. They may not be highly publicised and I may not be able to give you a hard copy of evidence, but surely you are aware that it does happen?

          There are also examples in the media such as ‘Ladette to lady’ and plenty of material on the internet that call feminists ‘man haters’ and the like. I don’t see how that would come to light if feminism was just campaigning for all of what you mentioned before. This particular article touches on some other feminist points, which I wouldn’t say had anything to do with rights and law: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/lapam/lapam018.pdf and you can find many others like it if you google ‘radical feminism.’

          I personally don’t think there’s a problem with those views, if that’s how some women wish to be treated. I was just expressing my views as to why I don’t have that attitude. Again relating to ‘difference’ in the sexes rather than ‘equality’.

  • Charlotte Nichols

    Got to agree with Millie on this one, however much it pains me to say it (only messing) :P

    Feminism gets judged from outside as being all about being concerned with whether or not men buy us drinks etc, but it’s not an issue I’ve ever heard a self defining feminist get up in arms about- unlike sexual harassment on the street (for example). I’m inclined to think it’s all a concerted effort to discredit the movement, as if feminists are concerned with petty things and equality has already been reached. It hasn’t, and there’s much bigger fish to fry. I think two different issues are being conflated here.

    Feminism has a lot of problems- mostly to do with engaging with more women from a more diverse range of backgrounds, and recognising that not all women’s experiences are the same (black women for example will generally be paid less than white women for the same work), but I don’t think this is one of them, or that feminism’s gone too far. It hasn’t gone far enough is the problem, IMO.

  • Mark Critchley

    All Emmeline Pankhurst ever wanted was a door wedge.

  • http://pleasesimon.tumblr.com Amy Kathleen Downes

    This is appalling

  • http://pleasesimon.tumblr.com Amy Kathleen Downes

    This is honestly one of the worst things I’ve ever read