Maybe it’s time to think about it (Feminist Questions)

/positively brimming with ideas/

1. Is there such a thing as false feminism?

In a lot of ways, this is answerable by no. False feminism, much like false activism (hacktivism, armchair activism etc.) was coined up out of the tangle of sincere-to-insincere motivations of feminists and the effective-detrimental effects of a feminist action. But if we value individualism, and the different takes, perspectives and abilities people can have on the issue of gender equality, then those factors shouldn’t matter. A belief against gender inequality is still a belief against gender inequality, regardless of ulterior motives, effectivity or lack thereof.

But. In certain cases, yes, there can be cases of “false feminism” –things that appear to be feminist, for the sake of being accepted by society at large or lauded by pro-equality sectors, but in reality promote ideals that are completely against feminism.

This question became relevant when I read this interesting article by Dani Colman about Disney’s hit animated film, Frozen. The article, The problem with false feminism, listed many reasons why we should regret the highlight, prominence and celebration of Frozen as a feminist triumph. Because it’s not. In fact, the article goes on to say that compared to a lot of other Disney movies (from the Little Mermaid way back to Cinderella), Frozen has a lot of things to account for in terms of female agency (e.g. Anna), female representation (i.e. lack of female supporting characters) and body image ideals.

So. Form your answer to the question now, and to the implicit question of Frozen‘s merits as a feminist film. Then read this article –> **

2. Are women really less inclined to sex than men?

Popular culture would tell you that yes, sex isn’t the preoccupation of women like it is for men. Media illustrates this picture with romantic relationships broken apart by (male) infidelity, rompy (male) teenagers who masturbate 100x a day, and then (female) partners who are more rational and less likely to be led by their nether regions.

Even science goes on to support this theory, with (maybe fictive) research on how testosterone levels / primitive hunting instincts / other scientific jargon = males like sex more than girls!

But the answer can be (and probably really is) no, women are equally inclined to sex as men. As a woman, I can personally attest that the detachment of women from the idea of sex and masturbation has more to do with accessibility (in terms of moral culture) and exposure (also in terms of culture) than it does with anything innate or biological.

What brought this up? Alyssa Goldstein writes an interesting argument on the constructed relationship of sex and, well, sex –a created social construct or relation for the purposes of the patriarchy. In its defence, she took us back to history. Before certain revolutions of thought and religion, women were thought to be the more sensual and sex-inclined gender. For example, women were thought to have taken this “sinful” side from Eve, the Christian biblical figure.

This meant that, oddly enough, being the more sexually free gender equated to being immoral, irrational and weak. This is the reason why women were excluded from the highlights of history. But then came a shift in thought, where women were raised to pedestals of virtue and men began to be associated with sex.

But we were and are still excluded from the highlights of history, because being sexless suddenly meant being less driven, less emotionally-invested and less ambitious. And falls from grace suddenly became more dangerous with the introduction of virginity as the feminine ideal.

It turns out that there’s really no way to win this scenario. Read more on this argument here –> 

3. Can there be nonconsensual sex between two married persons?

I am tempted to just say yes, and be done with it. But (sadly) there still exists some people in our world who would answer no, and we have to slightly talk about this for their sake.

What is the main argument of people who believe that rape can’t happen between a husband and a wife? Simple. When you say “I do” to someone, pledging your devotion until death, you are promising to love someone regardless of anything that happens. Apparently, we follow the letter of the Bible which says that sex is an absolute responsibility. So when nonconsensual rape does happen, you should accept it as a wife, because you promised to devote yourself anyways. That is, if we don’t deny the lack of consent in the first place (yes, because wives and husbands are always automatically ready and willing for sex /this is sarcasm/).

Uh. This is the kind of rhetoric that supports domestic abuse. And while there are differences between rape and physical abuse, they both stand on the same horrendous principle: the belief that someone can have full and absolute rights over your own body, enough to hurt it, enough to supersede your own rights.

Where’s the problem with that? For one thing, loving someone doesn’t mean signing a contract with the devil, where you hand off all self-love, self-preservation and rational thoughts. It’s still your body. It’s yours. But another thing is this warped notion of love, that loving means absolving a sinner of all faults without recognition of a problem. Love means bettering the two of you, not worsening.

And this is important. A recent Supreme Court decision here in the Philippines sentenced a man to maximum jail time for forcing himself on his wife, in an instance even in full view of their children, regardless of the woman’s attempts to get away. True, the sentence was reached after 15 years, but that’s still progress.

Read more about the story –>  Then read the comments and formulate your own opinions.

4. Should Maxi Pad Ads use red dye instead of blue?

Let’s make it a bit more interesting. As a woman, it’s normal to see advertisements of sanitary pads being tested with blue dye for absorbency, durability, etc. But then there’s always that question in the back of your mind: why blue?

Watching a comedic video UCBComedy on YouTube on this very topic, you might be tempted to say no (please). The blue dye is necessary for some very important aesthetic reasons. For one thing, the red can be a bit too reminiscent of the menstruated blood, bringing with it associations of bad odor, discomfort and all other visceral sensations.

But then again maybe the answer is yes, because we need that kind of realism that the red dye alone can provide. In fact, why would we even cringe at it in the first place? It’s a perfectly normal phenomenon. It’s biological, and we should be proud of this trait. Maybe it’s really time to stop catering to the sensitivities of men (notice how they clam up the moment you say “I’m on my period”?) and cater to ourselves. After all, we are the target market.

What do you think? I’m still out on the jury with this one.

Watch the video –>

xx

 

Life Update I don’t know what I’m doing anymore… For Comm III, I delivered an extemporaneous speech on the inclusive nature of feminism, i.e. Reasons why men need feminism too (because the patriarchy brings everyone down). It was fun, and really inspired me to do this.

Every single day is STILL TOO LONG. I just don’t know what to do anymore I am so tired.

In other news, I spend roughly three hours with my Comm III group mates just hanging out? After our group discussion. Haha! That was a blast. :3 Especially near the end in KFC… Anyway, I’m off!

 

xx

 

**Regarding the article on false feminism, I don’t entirely agree with the implications of some of the arguments. For one thing, the older Disney films are relatively more feminist in values than Frozen, but they’re all equally sexist in certain aspects like engineering harmful body images and perpetuating undertones of the damsel-in-distress archetype regardless of the princess’ degree of agency around the plot.

 

No proofreading. xx

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