Saturday is International Women’s day, and I can already hear the complaints of why there isn’t an International Men’s day (There is: 19th November 2014) and just general complaints about feminism in general. From being accused of calling all men in Loughborough rapists due to this article to people questioning why there isn’t a men’s network in Loughborough (I’ll come to that later), feminism has taken a bit of a battering lately. I mean, women can vote now, we’re entitled to equal pay (even though many women still get paid less than men for doing the same job) and we can have sex before marriage without being outcast by society for doing so, so what else is there for feminism to achieve? Well:
1) We are looking at feminism from a very westernized view
When people say feminism is no longer needed, they are usually looking at it from a western perspective; after all, we have the vote, can pursue higher education and have the contraceptive pill. However, there are many other cultures where women do not have these rights and entitlements. In some cultures the mutilation of a woman’s genitals is still considered completely normal, a woman driving her own car is a scandal and rape is something which brings shame on the women’s family. What does this have to do with the western world? Everything. Feminism in the western world can’t just be abandoned because women in the west have managed to make progress in society. We live in a global community where one youtube video can go viral and get 1 billion views (I’m thinking of Gangam style here, but you still get my point). This makes feminism in the western world in more vital as we try and reach women in different cultures and try aid their liberation.
2) People still don’t get concepts like The Women’s Network
A couple of weeks ago in the exec elections, someone on Twitter asked a question which went along the lines of whether there can be equality if there is no men’s network in Loughborough. Of course, this on the surface seems like a valid point; if women have a network then why can’t men? Unfortunately, men are not considered an underrepresented group, and as my friend said ”Loughborough itself is a men’s network”. Loughborough was one of the last union’s to have a women’s network, and if the NUS passed a men’s network in Loughborough (and hell is likely to freeze over before they do) it would be one of the first. Just like able bodied people, straight people and white people, men are not considered an underrepresented group. I mean, can you seriously imagine a straight people’s network? or an Able bodied person’s network?
3) It’s more than equal pay and the contraceptive pill.
Women in the UK have the vote, equal pay, the right to contraception etc etc. However, fourth wave feminism (the wave which apparently began in 2013) is concerned much less with laws, but with attitudes. Feminism in Loughborough is not something which is embraced; this is somewhat understandable because Loughborough is a sporting university with a high ratio of males. This in turn creates a more laddish culture than what is found at other universities: the mixture of sport, competition and a lot of testosterone. However, even taking this into account, it doesn’t excuse the hall chants which verge on sinister, for example the one chanted by a hall a couple of years ago which said ”Take her back to yours and fuck her till she cries”, or Fucking girls until they bleed. Or the awards in halls such as the ”Bill Mo Bike”. Some will say it’s all in fun, but if someone was singing that song about your Mum, Sister or girlfriend would it still be amusing?