Thoughts on Women’s Freedom (Snarky at times)
“Men are not free. Women will not be free until men are free.”
This thought process among white women allowed them to vote for a man and a political party (of men who already have power, money, respect and influence in droves) that is now doing (and has consistently done) all they can, as men, to walk back the reproductive rights and civil rights of women, undocumented immigrants and the poor to ensure that they don’t get the same money, power, respect and influence as equals to these powerful men.
It is amazing that when the underprivileged speak out, they are called entitled. It is a wonder to me that people will oppress you for centuries but when you speak out against that oppression, your speech against that oppression is the problem AND NOT THE ACTUAL OPPRESSION. This applies with racism, sexism, xenophobia and even in personal relationships. You lie to me about something but when I ask why you lie, then me asking you about the lie is the issue and not the actual lie you told. Anyway I digress.
The men who are free in this world, who have an issue with feminism, often use that freedom to oppress the very women who sympathize with them over their own civil rights. Take the US election, for example, the women who voted for Trump or refused to vote so as not to vote for Hillary Clinton, just because they did not want to “vote with their vagina”, will now have to sit back with the rest of us as the Republicans, led by the male members of the party legislate health and reproductive matters in a way that will disadvantage them and other women for decades to come. Well done! But yea First, Second or Third Wave Feminism is to blame, not the actual sexist, elitist patriarchy at the helm of the legislative branches of government and influence in all areas of society.
In an article on Broadly.com, Camille Paglia criticized much of second wave feminism and believed that it became about male bashing from the inception.
In an excerpt of the interview, she says:
What I’m saying in Free Women, Free Men is that women can never be truly free until they let men too be free — which means that men have every right to determine their own identities, interests, and passions without intrusive surveillance and censorship by women with their own political agenda. For example, if there is an official Women’s Center on the Yale University campus (which there is), then there should be a Men’s Center too — and Yale men should be free to carry on and carouse there and say whatever the hell they want to each other, without snoops outside the door ready to report them to the totalitarian sexual harassment office.
The issue with critiques like this is they don’t fully account for the reason there is a dedicated women’s center in many of these institutions. The mainstream spaces (that should be for everyone) is largely for men and were dominated by men who used this dominance to silence and control the bodies and voices of the women in these spaces. Men have places that they gather and carry on and carouse and do as the like — it’s called everywhere! Men’s freedom has never depended on women.
Men are free! Let’s not fool ourselves as women who want to be fair to all. Men have been getting the credit for all that is good in society for centuries. The cries they have against feminism and the success of women in several realms are soaked in someone seeing the privilege that they have based their identity on for generations be eroded by people who are not born into privilege but are working hard to achieve the same levels of success and quality of life that these men have just because they were born the convenient race and gender.
Do men have to work hard for what they get? Sure. But they are not paid less, hired less, or considered less important just because they’re men. Therefore, I call hogwash on the “Women will not be free until men are free’ tagline by anti-feminist men and their sympathizers because men are already free and they are using that freedom to reduce the hard won freedoms of women worldwide. Look at the US case, consider at the EU MP who received applause by saying women must earn less because they are weaker. The Polish MP who challenged a group of young women to name one invention of note by a woman, the Australian opposition leader who said under representation of women is not necessarily a bad thing and countless other examples of what happens to women when MEN ARE FREE!
These free men take their freedom to undermine women, yet women must take their freedom to undermine other women. THAT is the patriarchy at work. Because no matter who is free, the man must be more free than the woman. Women must stop depending on the male privileged system and those who benefit from it to make them free. Therefore, feel free to vote for women who you can hold accountable to work in your interests and that of the wider society. Men have voted with their genitals for as long as democracy existed and are better for it enjoying a place of influence and power for centuries. Why are we afraid to vote and participate in machinations of society in a real way that will benefit us. NO SHAME should be had in supporting a strong political, professional or other candidate for any position in society who is qualified, just because she is a woman. Don’t be gaslit into acting against your own self interests. Goodness knows men are not! But they are FREE!
I am not calling for men to be oppressed. I am just saying let’s stop operating under the guise that women’s freedom hinge on the freedom of men because centuries of history has told us that men do not by and large use their freedom to assist women’s freedom. There are a few exceptions. In recent history, Obama and Trudeau have been hailed for their views on women’s liberation but as I said before the clincher here is these men have no issue with feminism and in fact consider themselves feminist. I can understand that they are. The first feminist I ever met was my dad. But women’s freedom hinge on women making the right decisions by themselves and other women and working hard to make sure that our voices are heard and that is why I support the work of feminism especially one that is inter-sectional and inclusive of all women (women of colour, LGBTQ, white women, poor women, middle class women etc).
Because the world (including men) have a lot to lose when we vote and act against our own interests.