I was inspired to write this by an article I read on Vice which, for once, didn’t involve spending a day with Romany gypsies or going on a student bar crawl across the UK. The article was giving advice on how feminism could be improved in 2014; in fact it was the perfect article on the topic.
A while back, I was thrust into a heated debate like a young man forced to engage in awkward conversation with a girl across the bar, only I kind of got myself into that mess. I pretty much stated that I refused to be called a feminist and that I didn’t like the word, or labels. Before, you start throwing whatever virtual inanimate object you can find, hear me out. The girl I had the debate with couldn’t understand where I was coming from, despite being clear to others. I am 100% behind the idea and the principles surrounding feminism, just don’t call me one. Why you ask? Well, I’m also for racial and social equality. Personally, I feel that if I’m called a feminist, I’m dismissing all the other forms of equality that are as equally important. Let’s also bear in mind that men are also victims of patriarchy themselves, so I try to address that from time to time. Unfortunately, there isn’t another word for feminism, that doesn’t say I’m a butch lesbian that would beat a guy up with a snooker cue if he tried to hit on me. I’m not ashamed to say that I back the cause; otherwise I wouldn’t be writing/tweeting about it. I’m just a guy that hates labels of all forms because I don’t like to be put into a box. For example, I may dress like a hipster and pretty much live my life like one, however, I don’t want to be called one – for fear of being called a pretentious twat. It’s for this very reason I don’t call myself ‘pro-black’, for fear of being branded the ‘militant black guy who hates all white people’. That not being the case, of course.
Another reason why I don’t want to be called a feminist is because of the under-representation of ethnic minority females. It’s only just surfaced that R. Kelly has sexually abused hundreds of girls, the majority of them being black; even the girl he pissed on was black. Ask yourself this and be honest with your conscious – if the young girls were white, would R. Kelly still be so popular in the music industry and amongst the general public? Also, would this have been brought to light much earlier than December 2013? My point is that the feminism we’ve been hearing about in pop culture of late only appears to be focusing on white feminism. Lily Allen’s video was garbage because whilst she was poking fun of rap’s overuse of the ‘video vixen’, had she done her research on the sexualisation of black women during slavery, it wouldn’t have been an issue to take lightly. If you have a read of Sarah Baartman’s story on Wikipedia, you’ll understand what I mean. ‘Women of colour’ appear to be neglected in this conversation, probably because many feminists feel that tackling race and gender simultaneously is too much of a task.
You could say that my problem isn’t with the word ‘feminism’ or being called a ‘feminist’ but rather with labels in general. Labels create prejudice and misconceptions that we can do without. Not wearing them, figuratively speaking of course, means that I tend to come across as a reasonable man, capable of looking at both sides of the argument. Would you look at that, my first thought piece of the year came much earlier than predicted.