118 Comments

If this is feminism, you can keep it – Warning: discussion of rape and swearing

I think I might have been lying for 50 years. I’ve always considered myself a “feminist”: as in a firm believer in and fighter for gender equality. After the last 48 or so hours, I’ve changed my mind. Either that or my IQ must have recently dropped about 60 points or so.

Subsequent to a round robin of articles relating to feminist ideologies (you can get all the links from The battle of feminist ideologies), I had a discussion with an academic who was busy throwing names of experts around. The chosen writers of feminist bibles, I gathered.

Now, I’ve had a busy 50 years. I did IT and business degrees, not the humanities. I accept I am at an academic disadvantage here. Even so, for some weird and wonderful reason I tend to see the question of gender equality in VERY SIMPLE TERMS (not exclusive list):

  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Equal educational opportunities
  • Equal employment opportunities
  • Equal access to medical treatment
  • Equal respect for the person  (the gang rapes in India, the rape and murder of Jill Meagher, the “decal” in some idiot’s ute)
  • Equality under the law, e.g. the right to drive, equal divorce rights, no need for two male witnesses

I am fucked if I know what the hell cyborg women have to do with stopping gang rapes in India or freeing the women of Saudi Arabia or stopping idiots having demeaning and rape-inciting decals painted in their bloody utes.

Clicking on the pic below will take you to Destroying the Joint’s Facebook page, from whence I stole the pic.

Ute Decal

To me this is inciting and normalising violence against women

I suggest women like Donna Haraway have received all the equality necessary in order to be in a position to write epistles and essays in the first place, but for the majority of women for whom feminism is desperately needed, her writing means little and achieves less.  I’m not saying there is not a place for the Haraways of this world. There is. However people sitting in academic glass houses discussing the development of the various types of feminism doesn’t get much done at the grass-roots level on a daily basis.

I don’t give a rat’s arse whether feminism is socialist, marxist or capitalist. I care that a woman in India gets gang raped and another in Saudi Arabia gets stoned to death because someone raped her.  I care that a child gets shot in the head in Pakistan for wanting an education. I care that some idiot thinks it is OK to paint his truck like the above picture, sending a message to small children that this is OK, unless he plans on keeping his truck in his fucking garage for life.

So while I appreciate the essay’s philosophic merits, I’ll be damned if I can correlate the content to saving women NOW, TODAY! I don’t need to analyse the history of the rise of feminism to push countries to pass laws to prevent the subjugation of women. I don’t need to consider  “The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world; it has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labour, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity.”  What I need is to see that fucking decal gone from that ute so small children aren’t seduced to organic unwholesomeness.

What all women need is a few simple laws and an education system that teaches equality from kindergarten. I would say from the cradle, but I know the reality is, in some homes that is not going to happen yet. Philosophy is important. Students still read the ancient Greek philosophers today, their thoughts are still relevent. I am not against the work of the academics. However, we need grass-roots solutions NOW. Sitting in lectures is not getting that action happening.

The other twaddle I can’t handle is the argument I hear in some quarters that men can’t be feminists. What a load of bullshit. As soon as a father supports his daughter through university, he is a feminist. As soon as a boss fires a male employee for sexually harrassing a female staff member, he is a feminist. Saying a man can’t be a feminist is like saying a white person can’t fight for the civil rights of black people. To achieve change we need as many foot soldiers as we can get. I don’t give a fuck what colour their skin is or what does or does not dangle between their legs. If their mind is on the right track, they are part of the ideological army. To that extent, Haraway is 100% correct – to achieve that post-gender (and “race”)  world, we really must stop caring about those physical differences when chosing our fellow foot soldiers.

Edited to clarify, as I’ve now had the discussion with a couple of people. When I was looking at education, I was thinking of fathers from countries where that is not the norm, where there is a commitment of years of expense and possibly social disapproval.  Similarly with a safe work environment – even in Australia many managers tend to prefer to sweep such things under the carpet. To stand up and be counted takes commitment – commitment not just to observe the law, but to the welfare of women.

Edit December 24, 2013: Eleanor Robertson has written an article well worth reading, In defence of intersectionality – one of feminism’s most important tools which I highly recommend.

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About Robyn Oyeniyi

We fought to be together as a team, we are now together as a team. Team Oyeniyi

118 comments on “If this is feminism, you can keep it – Warning: discussion of rape and swearing

  1. If I were to put the same decal on my truck, but it just so happened to be a male that was portrayed; am I inciting and normalizing violence against men?

  2. […] thing is, this isn’t even an original idea. Similar truck decals featuring hogtied women, like this, and this, all contribute to a culture of violence against women. Plus, this can’t be making […]

  3. […] one of my articles about feminism where I used the decal on the left received a readership of some considerable numbers in the USA. […]

  4. I am in two minds about this article. I studied Haraway at uni and some of the ideas in her books are very powerful. Although I realise that some women in the world live in atrocious conditions, I do not feel that we have it right in countries like Australia yet either. Sexism is everyday and casual here and part of our ideology and language. I see examples of this all the time. I am a high school teacher and am amazed by the limitations that girls still face: in relationships (the pressure of what they are meant to do in a romantic relationship compared with what is expected of the male); career choices (girls still want to extend their options but they do not wish to be pioneers in male-dominated fields, with all of the challenges that that brings); and in the way they are spoken to and treated. The fact that we now have elected an extremely sexist man to be our prime minister highlights the sexist undertones of Australian culture.

    I don’t feel that because I have two degrees I haven’t felt like I have grown up in a sexist society. I still feel scared (at 34) walking around Melbourne at night because of things that have happened to me and my friends in the past. My male friends do not share this concern.

    I think that any exploration of feminism has its purpose and I don’t think we are going to be equal until we have these discussions so that we can be aware of the fact that there are still problems to address.

    The face that Haraway’s art has inspired discussions like these mean, in my view of art, that it is a success.

    I am enjoying following you on twitter and look forward to your next blog.

  5. This video explains what’s happing with men and why men are vital to stopping this madness. Loved your original post (found on FB) and the ensuing comments.

    Cheers from Canada!

    • This will tie in with your video, I believe. It is written by Ken Lay, the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police.

      http://thehoopla.com.au/blokes-issue-violence/

      Thank you for sharing this video.

      • excellent article. thank you for writing it. please allow me to share what we are doing regarding the decal in waco, tx and ask you to please keep the pressure up.

        this man, brad kolb, has not even said “i’m sorry”. he actually stated publicly he will not apologize for his horrid decision to put that decal on a truck in waco, tx.. he had the driver drive around waco for a month before social media picked up on it and brought just attention to this pervasive #rapeculture we live in. the actions of social media pushing this to the forefront of the msm is what forced him to burn the decal on local news in san antonio, tx.

        since he burned the decal, the comments on his facebook page boarder on criminal and support the concept that violence against women is a joke. he has banned anyone who dares express outrage over his misogynistic, shock and awe tactics and mentality.

        this is a direct quote, posted under hornet signs facebook page.

        “Hornet Signs: We are not done yet Meg. The ones out there just trying to make nothing but caos are going to be more upset than ever with what we do with it next”

        this quote from hornet signs was pulled from their facebook page and there are many more equally offensive remarks and tactics.

        go like Hornet Signs as Seen on TV
        go join https://www.facebook.com/groups/boycotthornetsigns/
        sign the petition http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/hornet-signs-remove-the
        and join our boycott https://www.facebook.com/events/422694064501781/?ref=25
        and this one too https://www.facebook.com/events/230433753776909/

        thank you for all your hard work, but, we’re not done yet.

        please share this status widely. on your groups and pages. twitter, other social media outlets, in the comment section of articles, everywhere please.

        #rapeculture

      • Trish, as I am in Australia there is not a lot I can do in Texas, but happy to share what I can.

        You might like to take a look at the Destroy the Joint Facebook Group (link in article) for activity ideas though. They have been successful at raising awareness of sexism here.

  6. There is an image of a man, there is not an outrage. http://imgur.com/4Bjdmu5

  7. […] response, I have to say, has been amazing. The article in question has now been “Liked” to Facebook 132 times – I don’t think I have ever had […]

  8. Hi Robyn, I came across this and didn’t expect myself to read the entire article, let alone every comment (purely because it was a random find, that just shocked me).
    I just wanted to say though, how well written, clear and concise I found your writing. As you and others have been saying, the need to be able to reach those people who will not sit and read through an entire essay, which has people’s eyes glazing after the first paragraph, is imperative.
    I’ve never labelled myself a feminist, or anything else for that matter (I’m a 21 year old male). I’m not at all saying men can’t be feminists though. I just agree, less time should be spent squabbling about what to label yourself and more on focusing on the big picture and the ultimate goal.
    As for “if it were a male”, I was sent a picture depicting Jeremy Clarkson (tv personality) tied and gagged in the boot of a car. It was considered hilarious, by the person who sent it to me and seemingly everyone who commented on it. (You can see his face – looking quite terrified – and realistic).
    I found it quite unsettling though.
    Clarkson, being a public figure (and one who has stirred up a bit of controversy), makes it a little less shocking than an anonymous man though (as wrong as that is). The underlying joke being that he’s about to be taken somewhere and murdered..? It didn’t sit right. And when I saw the girl in the ute, it made me sick.
    Normalising violence in an extremely public place (without any warning of what people are about to see), especially sexual violence is outrageous. The impact it could have on young people’s perceptions is frightening to say the least.

    • Thank you Kyle for your mature and considered contribution to the discussion.

      Loved this! “less time should be spent squabbling about what to label yourself and more on focusing on the big picture and the ultimate goal” :)

  9. […] thing is, this isn’t even an original idea. Similar truck decals featuring hogtied women, like this, and this, all contribute to a culture of violence against women. Plus, this can’t be making […]

  10. […] thing is, this isn’t even an original idea. Similar truck decals featuring hogtied women, like this, and this, all contribute to a culture of violence against women. Plus, this can’t be making […]

  11. So what?

    Some of you are over reacting like little bitches. Maybe this is an ad for an S&M shop or aficionado. Some people like that type of stuff. I handcuffed my husband to the bed one time. It was fun. Was that pro-rape?

    Please get over yourselves. There are a lot more offensive things in the world today – like Obama dropping drones on kids.

    • Sabrina, I think you need to perhaps take a broader look at the world and not be so into your own little world.

      • Yea I gota agree with Sabrina here, getting this wound up over something so trivial is somewhat disturbing, perhaps it is you my friend who needs to step back and take a broader look at the world.

      • The fact you declare this trivial means you are part of the problem, sadly. Normalising such abusive images does nothing to further the respect of females in society.

        If this decal was if a man there would be an outrage!

      • Right. How much more self-absorbed can you be that worrying that your government is assassinating innocent children abroad? She should get over herself, and start worrying about what you tell her to worry about.

    • Get over ourselves? When you stop using the B word.

    • your husband handcuffed (by choice) in your bedroom is not the same as a women tied up in the back of a truck and being taken to who knows where…women worldwide are being subjected to unspeakable violence (see the news …any day) if you are aware of that how can you think that people are over reacting ?…you may never find yourself in this (or a similarly violent ) situation but many women have…think of them my sister….and i also find obama’s drones very offensive but that doesn’t mean i should ignore this…peace

    • Please don’t pretend to be a woman in order to try to “win” an argument. The tone, mansplaining, and the final, irrelevant slam against Obama smack of current male privilege – pretending to be a woman doesn’t lend your argument credence.

      • I had not thought of the pretending aspect…

      • Mbala’s comments are right on the money whether spoken by a man or woman. This kind of “decoration” is horrible and promotes the idea that abducting a woman, or looking like it, is somehow clever or funny, which it isn’t at all. Women DO face unspeakable violence perpetrated against them all over the world everyday, jokes about it are tasteless at best, cruel and conspiratorial at worst.

        And the comment on Obama is not irrelevant, as it is in response to a previous comment on our illustrious criminal in chief. And by the way, I’m a woman, as if it makes a difference.

      • Correct, Rachel, Mbala is right on the money.

        I make no comment on Obama, as I am not as in touch with American politics as you are.

    • There are many people into S&M sure, and a surprising number of people are into rape fantasy, something commonly referred to in the community as consentual-nonconsent. But another major aspect of the ideologies of the S&M community is ntheot forcing your kink on others, they have not consented to bear witness to your proclivities. If this is an ad for an S&M shop then it’s lack of discretion is in bad taste. If it’s a private aficionado then they area actually doing a disservice to the rest of the S&M community by forcing this on people that have not consented to witness such a scene.
      I do consider myself a feminist, as in equal rights for everyone, no matter their gender, race, religion…the list of things people are discreimijnated against for goes on. The discussion then shouldn’t be ‘would there have been as much a response if this was a man?’ the discussion should be, why *wouldn’t* the response be as dramatic if it were a man? We shouldn’t be lowering the expectations to ‘if this were a man’ scenarios, we should be lifting it to ‘this isn’t OK to do whatever the gender.’
      Gender equality, hell, equality of any kind shouldn’t be about lowering the bar to the lowest common denominator, it should be raising the bar to the level where we all have value, worth, respect and honor for all people.

      So no, you handcuffing your husband in the bedroom wasn’t about rape, but you were both consenting adults, and you did not force anyone who did not want to witness that scenario to watch it. In this case the owner of the ute is forcing the broader community to witness something that shows an implied level of violence and requires discussion and consent of those involved, and that image, like the image off you and your husband and your hand cuffs, shouldn’t be forced on anyone who wishes not to view it. Therefore this should not be on the back of a vehicle for public exposure (unless we can add a button to life with a disclaimer stating that ‘I am over 18 years old and aware that I am about to view adult content’ before I have to witness the travisity that it that decal).

      There are many issues we need to be able to deal with, we can’t select one over another. They are all important. But equality, in any form, is not trivial, and the lack of it may be one of the underlying factor of how we get into so many situations, as a society and as indiciduals, that are not OK.

    • I’m a woman and I don’t personally find this decal offensive either. I’m in the US and, before anyone comments, am very well aware of how women are treated in other parts of the world. But I think those issues trump this one. I would rather rage about women who are actually abused rather than expend energy on a sticker. All posts like this have done is further publicize the product, nothing has actually changed except the number of sales they’re making. Rather than helping them sell their product, it would have been more productive to call attention to acts of violence, etc.

      Also, I don’t believe there would be any real stink made over an image featuring a man instead. People are saying there would be but I’ll believe it when I see it; it’s not enough to just stay the reaction would be the same when history dictates that it wouldn’t. The media picks and chooses what gets displayed and it intentionally targets topics that grab the most attention. A sticker of a man tied up in the back of his gf’s truck wouldn’t get half the attention this has and I firmly believe that.

      • That’s great that you are a woman who isn’t offended by this. There are lots of women who are and it’s their right to be. Women are brutalized, raped, violated and abused everywhere, this isn’t a contest of who has it the worst, it’s the fact that it shouldn’t even be happening in the first place anywhere and making light of the scene the decal depicts gives permission for it to continue.

        One hopes you never have to live in fear of your life or be violated sexually, but to see an image like this paraded on the back of a truck is a huge trigger for abuse survivors, at the very least. Empathy. Look it up.

      • Exactly Steph. Could not agree more.

      • Kay, You are entitled to your opinion, however I cannot under any circumstances condone this as it normalises violence. For me that is the end of the story.

        I would point out I used the decal issue in this article as it was topical at the time in Australia and clearly represented, in my view, exactly what I was writing about. I wasn’t writing about the decal itself, but about what is feminism. I seems the focus of my article is overlooked by many as it is only the decal that grabs the attention.

    • Sabrina K, not something that should be paraded around the streets. Did you have your sex game with your husband made into a decal and parade it around the streets, or did you just move your bed into the front yard?

      Your lack of concern at the message this type of thing sends is very disturbing and says a lot about you.

  12. […] thing is, this isn’t even an original idea. Similar truck decals featuring hogtied women, like this, and this, all contribute to a culture of violence against women. Plus, this can’t be making […]

  13. Just…thank you. Your post takes some of the sting out of the horrific tailgate image I just saw on HuffPost, and ameliorates the despair I felt at the decal business owner’s response (“I wasn’t expecting the reactions that we got”). To be inured to the intrinsic insult of that image is beyond me. Sometimes the despair leaves me speechless. Your words helped me find my own.

    • Lise – thank you for your support. I am glad I helped in some small way.

      • Hey Team Oyeniyi!

        Thanks for writing this. It’s about time we get some basic common sense into the daily issues facing us. Your article is so reasonable that I am sure that it will be disregarded by anyone with any power or authority to address the challenges that women face daily all over the world. I apologize for this skepticism but until we get money and religion out of politics common sense responses and solutions will continue to be ignored.

      • Thank you Delilah. I agree with you about getting religion (particularly) out of politics. Did you read my piece on women and religion (link above in the article? We have a long battle.

  14. I personally think any gender having the “upper hand” in society is absolutely terrible. As a (well lets be honest, MOSTLY) anti-misogynistic male, the last thing I want is to be treated by women (or whatever prevailing gender identity) the way misogynistic people treat women. Fortunately for me, I am a male and any situation where women have tried to act superior to me based on their gender, I’ve just ignored it (annoyed to the core yes, but I can get over it cause I know who’s being ignorant). I think one important thing to remember when dealing with the less informed (as we all are before we become “more” informed) is emotion. When a man who doesn’t follow gender equality and the ongoing conversation about gets told “men are bad” or whatever they think they are hearing, they don’t respond positively naturally because in their mind you just called them an asshole. Also, the more people who aren’t really “in the loop” hear about this stuff on the surface level the more they feel like society is trying to weed out all male attitudes and masculinity. For the most part it’s absolutely not true, but on the other hand as a country we don’t want to take away everybody’s guns, but some do. Perceptions… Just stick to humble straightforward dialogue and people who are receptive will come around, followed by consensus.

    • Thank you John.

      I am all for keeping things simple, it makes for better understanding and a wider audience.

    • try court in USA if you think men are socially more powerful than women. LOL

    • John, when I see resources spent on recovering the ‘disposable males’ whom have been disadvantaged by laws doing more then providing opportunities that are equal.

      Let us simplify this a bit: Just how many men are serviced by any local domestic abuse shelter in you area? And if you think such a thing is not needed you have been brainwashed and lied too.. conditioned and lied too – because males are arguably as likely to have violence directed at them (or the threat), just you (Yes you! and society) joke it off. Well, it’s no less a tragedy then when the victim is a men.
      Also, compare breast cancer numbers and prostate censor numbers, including how many of each and how much money is directed towards those.
      Family Court, Jail sentences, and a long list more where being female gives you a legal or social advantage. This is mostly the case.

      And for anyone about to spout the women don’t get paid the same – please, stop being an idiot! This is a mis-statement of statistics.. more men work at higher paying jobs, because women generally aren’t willing to dedicate the time. Stop listening to media lies – pro-misandric political push.. always more for the poor women, more, more more… we deserve it and don’t care about fairness or anyone else. This is the basics in the feminism of today. The feminism you give cover too every time you repeat the lies and spin given to you by the society.

      The list is endless. To get some perspective try this: karen straughan (Youtube’s Girlwriteswhat) http://youtu.be/vp8tToFv-bA To open your eyes, mind, and heart, and start having human feelings towards all people, not just the most physically frail. You may learn to love yourself a little more realizing how this has twisted both male and female lives for the worse.

      Good luck with your education on this issue, it is wild what people can be trained to ignore. Use this as your example of how blind you once were, a real testament to how well such practices are perfected. This begs the question, what else am I blind too?

      • Steven, quite frankly it is you who needs educating. You are sounding more and more like someone who experienced a negative court outcome, for whatever reason, and you are now on some sort of rampage to ignore the inequality suffured by women worldwide.

        I am sorry you are unhappy, however your personal situation does not negate thousands of years of repression. It is only recently women got the vote or were, in many countries, allowed to own property. In some countries women still can’t drive or cross the boarder without the permission of husband or father.

  15. You are not a ‘feminist’ if you limit your associated beliefs. You are pro-gender neutrality, which is absolutely not feminism. Feminism is masandric. Learn more about the men’s rights movement for full(er perspective.) Feminists block a lot of content, if you leave this one you are likely not a feminist, but a genuine human with questions and answers to apply to life, willing to freely share knowledge and even information and perspectives you don’t agree with, or object too completely. We shell see.
    I have real issues between free speech and limits on this one, but you nailed the objection I needed to turn the balance: the child seeing.. good job, TY

    • I think you mean misandric (typos are terrors). I disagree. Misandrics are NOT feminists, just as misogynists they are extremes of the human continuum. It is not your place to determine what I am or am not, Steven, for feminists define feminism. Feminists are a varied bunch and I recommend you read http://teamoyeniyi.com/2013/06/21/feminism-can-be-frivolous-fun/ and the background articles. This clearly shows a wide range of feminist thought. In Australia, at least! :)

      I am also not pro gender neutrality at all. That implies sameness, and men and women are not the same, but they ARE entitled to equal rights. You might like to consider this for further reading too. http://teamoyeniyi.com/2013/06/24/motherhood-sexism-feminism-rap-and-the-whole-damn-thing/

      • You are very much simple minded in your definitions. I was raised in a feminist household, and for fa to long I considered myself a feminist. God, the damage done by misandry is truly ugly (how can you qualify lifelong misery from ugly self image?, for example)… I was pro-gender neutrality, because I was conditioned to ignore that very misandry.
        And I’ll call you what I want,BTW, and right now I consider you simply uninformed and very conditioned. Unfortunately, by calling yourself feminists (when you would reject – you think – the misandry)
        But the fact is that most women – until they have had raised a loved son – are hyper-privileged with societies blessing and support.
        I hope you become more informed on this issue, we need more clear informed thinkers to back fill some of what is destroying the very preciousness of humanity.
        Good luck and clear thinking!
        (BTW, we know many men gave up seats in lifeboats for women and children, but how many women gave up seats to children or refused seats? Women and children first is the rule – it’s effects can be seen in the homelessness numbers, and a million other ways. And are you pro conscription for women to be included in equal numbers in the armed forces? or the equivalent?)

      • You are coming very close to contravening the Comment Policy of this site. http://teamoyeniyi.com/comment-policy/ This is your final request to comply with the policy.

        I am very UNconditioned. I was raised as a boy, effectively. As the oldest child I did everything a son would have done on the farm. So you are the one proving yourself very uninformed and very conditioned.

        Men giving up seats in lifeboats is quite imply survival of the species if you think about it. It used to be called gallantry, I believe, however there is good scientific reason for it.

        As for the military, well, we don’t call people up for the military in my country but even if we did I see no reason why we would not call men and women up in equal numbers. Except, of course, for the very reasons I have already discussed: equality does not mean sameness and there will always be roles men and women are respectively better suited for due to PHYSIOLOGY.

      • By the way, I do believe Placidair’s comment below in response to Carnot Antonio Romero is actually meant to be a reply to you.

  16. […] is, thishere isn’t eve un originull idee. Simlar truck decals feeturyun' hogtiet wimmen, like thishere, an' thishere, all contribute ta a cultchur o'violence agin wimmen. Plus, thishere a'ken’t be […]

  17. Couple of things: 1) I had read the Donna Haraway material (and in fact I think I had to teach it to some undergrads once) and… I can’t imagine it’s a parody. She definitely takes a metaphor and runs with it, and knows she’s stretching it, but her tongue is not even slightly in cheek.

    2) Of all the quotes for you to choose: “We have no *truck*?” (sorry, leapt out at me, there was no ignoring it)

    3) Yes, the decals are abominable.(Although a friend suggested it COULD be fun to put one of the Aliens from the Alien movies on one of them… :)

    • Unintentional choice of quotes, I assure you. But now you point it out……

      Yes, I am sure it is genuine Haraway too. I’ve found no evidence otherwise, it was only that someone suggested it as I think they were another whose eyes glazed over.

    • Feminism is not “masandric”… nor misandric. Feminists don’t hate men. In fact feminism decries the aburd gender roles assigned to both genders — and the limitations in core humanity set for both.

      My father once “got it” for a moment and stated “you know if a woman can change her own tire, it doesn’t make her less of a woman, and if a man can cook a meal, it doesn’t make him less of a man. It makes them both stronger people”…. as if it was a concept that had just occurred to him….. I responded “wow, Dad, you finally get feminism!”…. his response, sadly was to sputter and shout “that’s not what feminism is!”…. yeah, it really is. The notion that what we can do should be limited by our gender is exactly the issue being battled. Battling the absurd notion that stepping outside some limited role makes you less of a or a woman is at the very core of feminism.

      The limited roles assigned by gender in society are harmful to both women AND men. The major difference is that part of that also gives men additional rights and benefits and denies them to women…. so women for the most part have been the ones standing up against that, because they’re the ones with more tangible damage done by it. That does not mean men are excluded from benefit of the changing of such, nor does it mean those trying to change it are somehow “anti-man”. And, quite frankly, I get tired of the guys running around trying to claim it does — because clearly, they’re not paying attention to the reality of it.

      • Thank you for your support on this!

      • I’m sorry, I didn’t see you mention any specific rights men have that women don’t. I like to have examples – let’s get specific. I have one showing the opposite as an example. Male conscription (since the dawn of time.) And women can and do serve in support function – just some god damn thing.. lots of people would grow up pretty fast, which might be enough. !0% of a population is all you need.

        When you give your example, please include any laws that might be in place enforcing. For example, in this version the “Women don’t make the same as men” is not allowed – as you being informed on this issue enough to write about and correct someone else, will already realize that that is just how feminism uses one sided statistics.. they twist things like a picture of domestic violence being man-on-women only. just for example.

        Being specific is something most feminists can manage, because the actual real data shows or indicate incorrect and fraudulent (at times) use of statistic. And you all – and I – just believed it. Lies. You have been lied to and conditioned most of you life, as I had, to disregard males efforts, pain, sacrifices, and deaths as part of a women’s right. That’s just how it should be…

        “I think you mean misandric (typos are terrors).” sorry about that. It a word hard to find in regular dictionaries, and the conjugation of and spellings of are not common. Frankly, the very concept was hardly realized until recently. Wonder that!

      • Steven, honestly you are asking for specific examples? I really would expect anyone commenting on this topic, especially as stridently as you have, would have a very good grasp of the realities around the world.

        This IS NOT about the USA legal system. Personally, I would not venture to comment on your legal system. This is an Australian site and I am Australian. I do know the facts of many other countries and examples have been given in other comments: women not allowed to cross borders without the permission of husband or father, women not allowed to drive, victims of rape requiring two male witnesses in rape cases. Countries where rape in marriage is not a crime. Globally there are many, many examples which anyone prepared to discuss this topic should already be aware of.

        As I said to another on this article, the USA is only a small part of the world, not THE world. 300 million people out of 7 billion.

  18. […] thing is, this isn’t even an original idea. Similar truck decals featuring hogtied women, like this, and this, all contribute to a culture of violence against women. Plus, this can’t be making […]

  19. I’ve spent many years studying comparative religions, myths, and philosophy…

    And I couldn’t agree more. I tried to give Donna’s chapter a read and my eyes started glazing over about three paragraphs in. I ended up skipping to “Fractured Identities” which I thought was a decent analysis. But the chapter ends on a note as equally obtuse as the beginning.

    Philosophising, by which I mean “inventing thought experiments” in this instance, is relatively useless when it is so detached from reality. The connection of the Analogy to the Existential world can be meaningful, but only if the analogy is clearly and concisely drawn. Donna’s analysis is neither clear, nor concise, and as a consequence is of no use to those of us engaged in activism as well as “theory.”

    Race, Class, and Gender analyses are extremely important to the activist. But only when they are direct DECONSTRUCTIONS of the dominant (Rich White Male) paradigm. Deconstructing the poorly constructed arguments of those that defend their privilege is the best use of “philosophy,” (which in this case I mean the rational use of logical argumentation).

    Direct, empirically based analysis is, in fact, the best way to skewer the sophistry of people who ABUSE philosophy to obfuscate, rather than clarify a situation.

    Anyone who wants to see what a REAL logical analysis from a Feminist perspective looks like, would be better off following Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency video series examining pop culture.

    Such analyses are much more revealing, and much more useful to the activist who needs to use clear language (and no stupid analogies) to counter the arguments of “regular folk” who think nothing of painting misogynist pornography on the back of their trucks.

    https://www.facebook.com/femfreq

  20. I’m not interested in arguing the point, but I’m both amused and dismayed by the idea that only women can be feminists.

    I’m amused because, if only women can be feminists, then who can be arsonists? Only people made of fire?

    I’m dismayed because insisting that only women can be described with this word serves no purpose but to enforce the very separation feminism seeks to overcome.

    How about this : I’m a feminist because I say I am, not because you approve of what’s in my pants.

    Oh — and on the topic of the truck decal : it’s simply shocking. It’s the kind of thing I’d gladly take a hammer to, any day of the week. Monstrous and sick.

  21. […] thing is, this isn’t even an original idea. Similar truck decals featuring hogtied women, like this, and this, all contribute to a culture of violence against women. Plus, this can’t be making […]

  22. even more decals being made, sick thing is woman are posing for the photos so that the decal can be made for it. also sick that this paticular business in the link provided below did this to attract more business and it worked. people don’t even seem to mind all the 911 calls coming in from people who think what they are seeing is real when in traffic just catching a glimpse. it’s wrong on all levels. so wrong. i enjoyed your article & agree wholeheartedly as a teen i was a “riot grrrl” (a more youthful 90s feminist grass roots movement that started out just as a girl band movement, all about DIY & we can do anything no matter the “boys only” stereo type) we were active. we passed out fliers all over town that gave abuse line numbers, shelter numbers & more info for women who needed it. we boycotted & picketed companies who did such sick & twisted stuff as the kind of people who made these decals, didn’t have equal pay for women employees etc. there was much more to it all but the point is we really tried to make a difference through actions (& we were just teenagers). and that is definitely what we need more of, action! not retoric from academics from people who never get their hands dirty so to speak. anyway great article!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/texas-truck-decal-woman_n_3881700.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

  23. […] thing is, this isn’t even an original idea. Similar truck decals featuring hogtied women, like this, and this, all contribute to a culture of violence against women. Plus, this can’t be making […]

  24. […] thing is, this isn’t even an original idea. Similar truck decals featuring hogtied women, like this, and this, all contribute to a culture of violence against women. Plus, this can’t be making […]

  25. […] a view. Maybe, maybe not. We tend to make many issues way more complicated than they need be. Read If this is feminism, you can keep it – Warning: discussion of rape and swearing and see how the very (to me) simple concept of gender equality gets complicated beyond belief in […]

  26. […] If this is feminism you can keep it (swearing and discussion of rape) […]

  27. I fail to see how anyone saw this as demoralizing women, if it was a white guy tied up in the back then nobody would have said ANYTHING, but since it happened to be a woman , all the feminists start bitching. if it would have been a black person, then they would have started bitching, so on, so forth. You won’t get anywhere in life by whining about how bad things are for whatever group you fit into. Also, feminism is very hypocritical, EQUAL RIGHTS is a path that actually make sense. God bless,

    • Mike the photo you refer to depicts what is considered one of the most egregious acts under law. The victim’s gender, race, age, religion or anything else about them have no bearing on the offensiveness of the image or the seriousness of the criminal activity portrayed. My reading of this article is that RO sometimes despairs of feminism, not because it’s a bunch of bitching, hypocritical whiners, but because too many of its more visible proponents are so busy addressing esoteric theory they fail to offer much of use to the average person. Like the average person in the photo, or the average person who sees no harm in it. Similarly, your race reference misses the point. While RO argues skin colour is irrelevant in the administration of justice, her argument nowhere suggests that objection to racism is an invalid response to its perceived occurrence. RO is the last person on this earth, in my opinion, to believe unfought for equality is a guarantee of much at all.

  28. Well, I suppose I’m a bit late here, and I suppose I’m a bit of an outsider (being from India and all), but I stumbled upon this post somehow, and I just had to say that I really loved the clarity of your thoughts.

    I’m a lawyer by training and profession, and I work with a small group (NGO) of fellow lawyers, engineers, and other professionals here in Delhi, that provides financial and legal assistance to underprivileged victims of domestic violence. We also write to, and participate in, governmental committees and panels whose job it is to lay down appropriate legislation to minimize such violence.

    Having read this article, I feel that a lot of my own beliefs match up with your own. In that sense, I am indeed a feminist. But to be honest, I’ve really stopped caring whether being a ‘male feminist’ is kosher or not. If someone asks me, I simply tell them about my work and my beliefs, and in order to avoid unnecessary conflict/offense, I usually just refrain from using the F-term, especially with other women who are feminists.

    In the end, I feel it does not really matter what you call yourself, although in the end, I also feel a little stab of dismay that some people seem to think we can afford to bicker over these things! India is not a nice place to be born as a woman in a non-elite, not-so-affluent family, and it is truly unfortunate that purely academic concerns end up acting not just as distractions, but rather actual barriers to real grassroots reform, the sort of reform that would actually HELP huge swathes of the population.

    In any case, I am glad that people such as yourself exist. As you say, academia is important too, but I believe there is a strong case to be made for keeping this academia at an arm’s length from the everyday battles that we, as empathic members of the human race, fight everyday, regardless of our sex. We really, really need every single ally we can get, and we simply do not have the luxury of arguing over whether they should call themselves ‘feminists’, ‘feminist supporters’ or something entirely different.

    Cheers, and thanks for writing this!

    • Naman, thank you for your contribution. I love your comment because what you say is so true.

      The quibbling bothers me too – I think it is so counter-productive.

      I wish you well in your work and I do hope improvements in India are happening as fast as possible.

      Please visit often! :)

  29. [...] “The other twaddle I can’t handle is the argument I hear in some quarters that men can’t be feminists. What a load of bullshit. As soon as a father supports his daughter through university, he is a feminist. As soon as a boss fires a male employee for sexually harrassing a female staff member, he is a feminist. Saying a man can’t be a feminist is like saying a white person can’t fight for the civil rights of black people. To achieve change we need as many foot soldiers as we can get. I don’t give a fuck what colour their skin is or what does or does not dangle between their legs. If their mind is on the right track, they are part of the ideological army. To that extent, Haraway is 100% correct – to achieve that post-gender (and “race”)  world, we really must stop caring about those physical differences when chosing our fellow foot soldiers. “ If this is feminism, you can keep it – Love versus Goliath [...]

  30. I initally thought the painted tailgate was a superimposed photo to illustrate the treatment of women in this society. When I realised it was some gene pool reject I was shocked, my heart literally heaved in my chest.
    Your writing is superlative.(the good definition) Having five sisters I would say yeah, I’m a femminist, never guess it’s the twentyfirst century.

    • Thank you for visiting Hank. No, it was real, if you can consider such an act as real in any sense.

      Thank you for the compliment on my writing! :D You did notice I’ve published a book, I hope? :)

  31. Females are dominant in nature and I for one believe that females are meant to be dominant in the human social groupings. A society that doesn’t treat females as at least equal to males is one that is unnatural. Just my opinion. I blame organized religion and orthodox theologies for oppression and repression of women in global societies. The individual who painted that on the tail gate of his truck hasn’t left puberty intellectually and quite obviously hasn’t experienced real fear himself or he wouldn’t find such a horrifying image amusing.

    • The image is simply grotesque, isn’t it? Really horrifying that anyone would even consider painting such an image on a vehicle and then expect to be allowed to drive around in it. I worry most about the impression this makes on children and teenagers – the effect has to be one of normalising such behaviour.

      Shocking.

  32. Feminism can only mean what it means to the individual woman. We all see it differently.

    The feminist movement is as diverse as any other movement. Perhaps the word ‘current’ is better than ‘movement’. Currents tend to ebb and flow according to the conditions.

    I know what I think and rarely read the theorists now. Too old :)

    • I agree about feminism meaning different things to different women, but it has to be within an overall framework of objectives otherwise nothing will ever be achieved. When women fought for the vote I think they were much more focused that the ‘current’ is today. And they achieved.

      Yes, I think I’m too old to read the theorists these days too!! :)

  33. Rock on sister! Was very pleased to find this piece on Twitter. I have long felt like I am a “faux feminist” because I don’t do marches or protests or fringe political parties and haven’t read any of the book. I do however run an all volunteer grassroots activist org that raises money to help women in Ireland and N Ireland get abortions. I COMPLETELY agree with everything you said above. Let’s stop pontificating and postulating and making sure every possible group has every single one of their demands met and join forces and agree on a few things like, oh, stopping violence against women, getting equal pay and, I dunno, ensuring women can chose when to have children and just get this shit sorted, eh?

  34. Oh my god that’s disgusting and evil, someone needs to get it with a spray can quick. Sick bastard, I’ve never seen anything like that.

  35. Well said my friend…and seriously I can’t believe that whoever owns that truck hasn’t been confronted. Or maybe he has, but what the hell was he even thinking? How messed up do you have to be to go to the trouble of getting that done. It makes me very sad that our world has come to this…it really does.

  36. Hey Robyn,
    Yes, your frustration is showing : )
    I myself have taken a break from my views on Feminism, mostly because i find it, yes, frustrating, but also very depressing. As a community if we cant accept our own diversity we lose and will remain in this position, with small victories by small groups, but no cohesion and singular goal driven purpose. You are right, but so is Helen and all the other women out there who have a different ideal of feminism. We all (ok that may not be absolute) strive for equality! Now if we just all agreed on that and made a plan….. sigh.

    Oh just to throw a spanner in the works, I don’t believe men can be feminists, supporters yes, a father can take on a mother’s role, quite successfully, but he will never be called a mother, just a different perspective : )

    Once more have greatly enjoyed reading your words, hope all is well in your world.

    Cheers
    Karen

    • We will never all agree 100% I am sure!

      To me bottom line is we need more action.

      Thanks for your input, everyone needs to speak up and out!

      Sent from mobile

    • didn’t know you had to be a mother to be a feminist :)…a person who is aware of the inequality /discrimination/oppression (some obvious, some subtle) faced by women and who wants to (and actively tries to )do something about it…using that simple (simplistic?simple-minded?) definition i call myself a feminist…but labels are , i think ,not so very important…i’ve been labelled a “gender equality advocate” and a “femanist”…all sub-sets of being a humanist maybe:)….and in reply to mike…i would have been upset if that was a man tied up ,black white or other…part of the problem here is that the people who did this image and the many who bought it consider this “sexy” when it’s a woman…and i think feminism IS about equal rights…peace

      • I agree with you. Feminism is, in my view, one aspect of being a humanist. I also see sexism and racism as pretty much interchangeable – the sad part being women of colour cop a double whammy. There is no difference between oppressing people because of their gender or because of their skin – oppression is oppression.

        There is a slight difference, if one wants to be picky – in many cases sexists still believe they love the women they are subjugating, whereas with racism this is not the case – HOWEVER both racism and sexism revolve around the concept of superiority of one over the other: male over female, white over non-white. Although of course whites aren’t the only racists in town. The white/black divide has been the highest profile perhaps, but there are other ethnic discrimination patterns around the world.

  37. I think your mind is totally on the right track, Robyn. Thanks for this post.

  38. Robyn, keep thinking of feminism in simple, concrete practical terms, because that’s the only way it can be effective and accomplish anything. The kind of gibberish Haraway is spouting is what is expected from academics who dwell in a world not of real people and things but abstract concepts and unintelligible jargonese.

    • Thank you. I know people studying feminism may feel initially a little affronted, but I ask them to re-read. They do have a place, but the problem is it seems we have lost the grass-roots action that was around when women fought to get the vote. They moved mountains and there wasn’t much academic study of feminism back then, I suggest.

  39. Well said, and I couldn’t agree with this post more.

    Bravo!

  40. Oh very nice, a beautifully honest piece.

  41. Robyn, you have nothing but true respect from me. You really do have a beautiful soul.
    Brought tears to my eyes it did.

    • Thank you Sandra. If THIS brought tears to your eyes, hmmmmmmmm, perhaps you might be one who should avoid the book……

      I just decided to let a little frustration flow…..

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