I consider myself a feminist. But the word feminist has become so bastardised today by women calling themselves feminists that its meaning has been lost and deliberately distorted. When the idea of feminism was being established and the ideas prosecuted, its meaning was quite different to what it is today.
What it meant in the 1970s and 1980s, and what it means to me is equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity for tertiary education and the ability to get a bank loan. This may seem ludicrous to suggest that a female back in the 1970s needed her father’s or husband’s signature to get a loan but that was the case. And if you go back a little further, women had to resign their jobs when they got married. In some professions they were permitted to continue to work but the moment they got pregnant had to resign.
I know about the issue of equality between the sexes as I studied it at university as an elective unit towards my degree and I worked at the Office of the Status of Women in Canberra. I know all the arguments about why women were not equal and how this imbalance was to be redressed and some of the techniques in redressing the inequality were objectionable then and still are today. For example, the way in which a unit in OSW was planning to give girls an advantage was by giving girls an advantage at school, but the cost of that policy was that boys did less well at school than girls. Some 20 years later the results of pushing female academic performance has proved successful. One measure of female success is to look at the feminisation of medicine and law.
What I see in modern day feminist’s rhetoric is that no longer do these professional women want equality they want to be more equal. They have adopted a strange idea that there should be some kind of payback or penalty for past male wrongs. They want to be compensated for men having got a better a deal than women in the past. This is strange because the past about which they speak didn’t include them as they weren’t even born then. The stupidity of this idea is that certain women, who I call ‘’professional women’’ claim to speak on behalf of all women but they don’t speak for all women. They speak for themselves and this new wave of feminism is a vehicle to give them an advantage in the job market just like certain ‘’professional women’’ did in the first wave of feminism. Women like Germaine Greer and Anne Summers who did enormously well out of feminism. It made their careers and in the case of Germaine Greer made her a lot of money from the sale of her groundbreaking book The Female Eunuch.
This idea of being more equal extends to quotas in the workforce. This means that in order to meet quotas second rate women and in some cases incompetent women are employed or promoted ahead of competent men who by virtue of their gender miss out on well paid jobs. Clearly the merit principle is dead.
This push for affirmative action against men is abhorrent to me as it goes against the grain of the idea of gender equality for which women of my generation fought. This idea tilts the playing field in favour of ‘’professional women’’ who are motivated by self-interest. Given we’ve seen it all before; ‘’professional women’’ pushing a personal agenda why are we falling for it again?
The most pressing issue for true feminists not false feminists is the position of Muslim women. I know how badly treated they are by simply being born female. In Islam a female has half the value of a man. Think about that single fact. How can we value women as less than men? Why is female genital mutilation condoned? Why do women have to cover their bodies when they go outside the home and men don’t?
In most Islamist societies women are ruled by Sharia law. Whilst some may try to make a distinction between culture and religion this isn’t true because Islamic countries are ruled by Sharia law, which is rooted in Islam and derives its authority from the Koran.
Sharia law completely controls woman’s lives particularly how it dictates what happens in divorce. A man can divorce his wife by saying he divorces her three times, a woman does not have this same right. Under Sharia law a divorced man gets custody of any children of the marriage a woman does not. In Islamic countries a woman must be controlled by a male guardian who has complete control of what she does. If a woman defies a male guardian he can avenge her disobedience by imprisoning or even killing her – honour killings. In short women have no rights and if they object they can be killed without any consequences for the murderer.
This type of behaviour is not acceptable in Australia. There is no way of dressing this behaviour up to make it acceptable particularly when women of my generation fought so hard for the freedoms we currently enjoy. It is a truly frightening thought that Sharia law intrude on or replace Australian law. If this were to happen we would immediately lose all the gains we made in the 1970s and 80s and be catapulted back into the dark ages of the seventh century were women were chattels of men.
We stand at a cross roads of where gender relations go from here. On the one hand we have women who want to be more equal than men while at the same time these same women do not raise their voices to draw attention to the inequality of their Muslim sisters who are enslaved by Sharia law.
If we go along with the shrill voices of false feminists and keep beating up men and boys we risk poisoning the well of gender relations for generations to come. Men are now suffering exactly the same inequality that women of my generation fought against. The early gains should have been a win-win situation but clearly they were not. There were winners and losers.
I ask myself where the real feminists have gone – in truth there are no longer any feminists. What we see masquerading as feminists are false feminists who are nothing more than opportunists.
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