No one would argue that the position of women has improved in recent years, at least in civilised parts of the world. However, it is also similarly impossible to deny that there is still a long way to go for full equality to be earned.
Even in countries where modern legal protections for women exist, shocking numbers of women are still emotionally and physically abused, raped and even killed by abusive men. Moreover, gender-based abuse is still present and driven by men within the workplace – these are facts.
Nevertheless, there is good news for women. By stopping halfway across the bridge to full equality, women can sometimes invoke both a feminist ideology and the typical sexist stereotype.
What does this mean? Women get to play and win on both sides of the fence. Women get to take full advantage of the laws created to protect our very being while still reverting, when convenient, to long-standing social customs that grant us, women, special treatment.
For women today, it is possible to adopt the zero-tolerance tone set by the media and the Hollywood elite while still participating in reactionary behaviour – playing the role of the damsel in distress – and playing it to our advantage.
This realisation came to me many moons ago, during my college years.
I was a young girl, fresh out of an all-girls convent, subjected to some very unkind and abusive behaviour from my peers.
Suddenly, I was thriving and finding myself in my new environment, an all-boys College – aside from a handful of girls who, like me, were lucky enough to receive acceptance into this wonderful and exciting educational institution.
If I recall correctly, there were not more than seven or eight young women amongst more than a hundred men.
Cast into this unique environment, I was now at the opposite end of my life’s spectrum. I soon realised that I could have my cake and eat it too.
No one would have dared doubt my intelligence and academic abilities in this prestigious institution. Yet, young men were still holding doors for me, complimenting me on my looks and inviting me to the most sought-after parties. I enjoyed this new role and felt like I could have it both ways; respect as an equal, with special treatment as a woman.
All my male friends respected women as equals, and we women were free to pursue the same studies and careers as our male counterparts or become mothers – or both!
I could catch a flight halfway across the world by myself, party into the early hours whilst drinking my male friends under the table, and no one would question my morality – what more was there to ask for?
Then suddenly, there was a shift. I felt that overnight, the wind changed direction, and this wonderful social dynamic between men and women became strained as a new brand of new-age feminism appeared.
A new kind of feminism that not only claims equal rights for women but additional, female-only rights. Thus, the cult of victimhood infused with an undertone of hatred towards the male species was born.
Quite simply, we now had the power to turn a man’s life into a living nightmare if only we wanted to. These women who engage in such practices dare to call themselves feminists whilst doing nothing but cheapening the trauma of actual abuse victims.
Recently, I have witnessed some of my best female friends making giant leaps of progress in the professional realm towards equality. However, unfortunately, I have also witnessed male friends go through some very turbulent times in their personal lives due to this double standard and abuse of power.
As a mother of a young boy and the wife of a good man, I want to fight this new age ideology that depicts all men as monstrous predators.
This is the trick towards real equality; men, and I’m referring to evolved, educated, caring men, of course, not the macho, neanderthal types with overbearing, well-intentioned mothers who cannot seem to cut the cord as they approach middle age – are being socially programmed to internalise themselves as the bad guys. The bottom line is that everybody – men and women alike – always prefer to think of women as victims.
You might be wondering if I still consider myself a feminist. Yes, I do. Very much so.
To me, feminism is fundamentally about mutual respect, empowerment of both sexes, equal education and opportunities, open-mindedness, and strong values. Feminism is not suppressing and bashing men, engaging in double standards and misusing the law.
As a mother of also a little girl, I must instil a belief in her that she can excel in life as an individual based on her abilities. To never use her gender as an excuse for her failures. To not believe she is a victim just because she is female. In the name of all women who are abused, raped, or forced into motherhood against their will, I feel offended when a woman falsely accuses a man of violence, sexual misconduct or emotional blackmail.
Collectively, we need to change the narrative because false victims are the worst enemies of real ones. Pseudo-feminism causes more damage to actual feminism than most admit, and the distinction between the two must be clear, defined and understood.
Chloe is a creative writer and content creator with a background in food and hospitality.
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