Friday, 22 July 2016

Is Supporting Other Women A Feminist Obligation?

As a feminist, and particularly a feminist with somewhat of an online presence, I'm often met with misconceptions about what the movement promotes. Some are deeply ingrained in social norms and expectations which in a way I can't blame people for believing, while others are petty and superficial. One in particular weighs on my mind a lot though, that in being a feminist, one should blindly support all other women. We should support women regardless of their beliefs, not matter how problematic they are or who's rights they infringe upon. Or even that we should support all women even if we are simply not interesting in their 'output' (for lack of better terminology) whether that's music, art, literature, social theories, anything really. 

To me, blindness supporting all women simply because we share a gender does more harm than good for feminism. I grow up in a predominantly female household, I attended an all girls high school, when I studied for my degree, all my classmates were female and I now work in a job where women largely outweigh men. Perhaps it's being so comfortable and not feeling threatened by the success of other women, that I don't feel automatically obliged to support them any more than anyone else based simply on their gender.

Following Brexit, that I'm sure will go down in history as one of Britain's most almighty boo-boo's, it's almost unsurprising that the traditional politician types, the middle aged, straight white men are dropping like flies so while I don't support the Conservative party, I was pleased to see that two of their proposed replacements for prime minister were female. The same principle applies to the American presidential race. Neither would be my dream candidate, and while there's a lot of her policies I don't support, you can bet your bottom dollar that I'm backing Hillary Clinton all the way to the polls. To some, this might seem like blind support but it's not. It relates back to representation. Across the world, members of all types of under represented groups have nobody to look to for inspiration, nobody who shares their identities making their own dreams seem even more unlikely. Of course I'll favour a non-female candidate if I agree with their vision, but when it's an immoral, manipulative man vs. an immoral, manipulative woman, gender is enough to be the deal breaker.

(Nicola Sturgeon put it far more eloquently than I ever could.)

It happens all the time in the blogging community too and those who try to break down systems and create a dialogue are having their feminist identities questioned. If I see a blogger posting something problematic which I feel is disrespectful or spreads ignorance or falsehoods, I can't support that. There seems to be an unwritten rule throughout a lot of the blogging community that to call someone out on their problematic views is worse than is worse than having problematic views. We may share a gender, we may share interests but if we don't share an vision, you don't have my support. There is one discernible different though. If I see one blogger posting something I don't agree with, there are hundreds of other bloggers out there and I can take my readership elsewhere. However, politically, our options are naturally more limited. 

I'm a big believer in calling people out if they're being rude or ignorant or disrespectful (while simultaneously picking your battles carefully) and I've gotten to a point in my life whereby I want people around me to do the same for me. I don't think in most circumstances gender alone is enough to base support on, especially as it promotes the misogynist ideal that women should be taken for face value and that what they stand for & believe in comes second. However, what I am in favour of is supporting women, and many other many other under or misrepresented groups, for the sake of representation and equality. It's a tough one but I'd love to hear your thoughts...

[Side note : I understand the blogging community is not entirely female, but the majority of bloggers I run in the same circles with are. I don't mean to cause any offensive or exclusion through this statement, or this blog post as a whole.]


  1. I am totally with you, I think when it comes to politics I think we really do need someone to represent us. When I tweeted about Brexit someone tweeted me saying the referendum was a husband's job. I thought it was a joke, I have as much a right to worry about my country as any man, I have a right to be interested in politics and how this could impact upon my life. I love politics it is something that was always debated in my household so I genuinely love it.

    I don't think we should blindly support others because I totally agree it does more harm than good in general, yes we want to have a voice and be represented but we want to make sure we don't support immoral things and that is important too (like you said.)

    I did overhear someone say when I was shopping that feminism was dead and that women will never have the representation they need, I nearly said something but I was so shocked no words could come out. This isn't the kind of thing we want people thinking, feminism is important in our lives, we need it.

    I think Nicola Sturgeon is wonderful I think she is a lady of strong beliefs and will definitely be a fabulous role model to many. As for the whole Presidential election I'm totally with you, however I feel that Hillary Clinton is the lesser of 2 evils. If Donald Trump got into office I think it would be a sad day for a lot of people in this world.

    Sorry about the essay!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan | Instagram | Twitter| Facebook

  2. With you 100%! We are not obliged to defend our own gender even when the behaviour being displayed is offensive or upsetting just because we're women. Let's call a spade a spade here, a horrible person is a horrible person and needs calling out.

    As for Nicola Sturgeon I can't get enough of her, she's setting a fantastic example for everyone.

    Tore | xo

  3. I completely agree, Sophie! People get so uppity about the idea of women voting for Hillary Clinton in part because she's a woman but nobody gives straight, white men the same hassle for voting for the person who represents them and their interests!
    I think a lot of people (especially in the blogging community, because that's the main sphere we're talking about here) are so scared of the catty/bitchy tag that they think we do need to be all rainbows and smiles towards one another. Nope.
    If you have a problematic view - or maybe it's not, maybe someone else is just perceiving it that way - you have to be willing to discuss it. Otherwise you're just a dick. That's basically how the world is split - dickheads and non dickheads. x