Archive for June, 2014

The End of “Feminism”-By Samir Nawaz

11 Jun

Time magazine and I have a had a very rough go over the last few years. The magazine has been on thin-ice ever since it ran this bizarre article about weight loss having next to nothing to do with exercise,9171,1914974,00.html and then followed that gem up with how little has changed in the last fifty years while completely ignoring things like, I don’t know, the advent of the internet, the rise of social media, the abundance of new technologies (including of course new categories of technologies never seen before), the revolution in bio-technologies and the emergences of new pharmaceuticals and medical treatment to the point where once life threatening afflictions like HIV and cancer(certain forms) are now quite manageable (but of course, the money is in the treatment not the cure, hence the billion dollar drug market as opposed to eradication).

However, when I recently read a new article by renowned “feminist” table slammer Hanna Rosin, I decided to throw in the towel and decided to bid farewell to Time magazine once and for all. Has Time lost the luster and prestige it once had? If it has (as I suspect) perhaps in a desperate stab at a return to the glory days, the brass at Time feel that instead of  focus on informative, creative and maybe even counter-culture stories which challenge both the human mind and the current state of the human condition to get back their readers, they will resort to shock writing designed to boost sales and increase clicks. Unfortunately, as Tom Green will tell you, this strategy can work well for a while, but if there is no substance or soul to what you are doing, your target audience will eventually reject you in droves.

On that point I will return to the “feminist” piece by “feminist” Hanna Rosin. Although new words are included, old words re-arranged and the example of Rob Ford is included in order to provide a shining example of modern man (because of course all men today smoke crack, what you didn’t know?), the piece is not much more than another “feminist” hate-rant against men, or as Ms. Ronsin describes it, what the term “man” used to stand for in her mind. Her “feminist” piece is therefore called “Men are Obsolete.”

By this now you must be asking yourself do why I keep putting the word “feminist” in quotation marks? The reason is quite simple, because I do not understand what feminism has become and I do not agree with how modern “feminists” are using an important movement and ideology meant to empower women in order to push their own agenda and misguided ideals and in turn, poison the true feminist movement as a whole.

For me, and throughout all my years of education and experience, feminism was supposed to be a movement that sought to ensure equal opportunities in education and employment while simultaneously protecting a woman’s right to choose and make her own informed decisions. A feminist is someone therefore who promotes these ideals and fights for the cause of women. As such I did not come to understand that “feminists” were to turn a movement that was to be such a positive and tool of empowerment, into a platform to create misguided and sweeping generalization about men, and to do so in a manner that is at best non-humorous and at worst (and all to often) hate-speech against the other half of human race. I also thought feminism was to be the tool that would empower not only woman, but men as well and be the means to which both men and women would  cooperate and thrive in a symbiotic relation (happily) to the end of time.

Due to what has transpired of late in our culture, I have two fundamental problems with “feminist” Ronsin’s work and all “feminists” like her whose self-service and erroneous guidance have undercut such a promising tool of empowerment and hope. My concerns can be deduced to questions which I am hoping even the most (mis)informed “feminist” will be able to answer. 

Today’s “feminist” goes to great lengths to announce that woman have arrived and that they have already overtaken men in many of the most quantifiable measures of success like income, university degrees, positions of leadership (which is truly fantastic by the way). As such, my question to the “feminists” out there is why if you have accomplished what you have set out to do, why are you still around? Does the athlete remain on the court after they hit the winning shot and the trophy has been given out? Do people remain in the courtroom if the landmark victory has been achieved and the judge has left the building? Do soldiers still shoot off their guns when the war has been won? The answer of course is no, so why are you? More politely though, if your fight against men has been won, why are you still selling yourself to the public? If the state of women is better than it ever was and woman are achieving at greater rates than their male counter parts, why are today’s “feminist” so angry, obnoxious and desperate  to convince the public that they still have something novel to sell say? Maybe the answer has something to do with the fact that there is still something important left to be done, or maybe even, the manner of the fight was so misguided that the alleged victory is so hollow.

This of course leads to my next question, why, if today’s feminist have proclaimed victory, is the World and dynamics between men and women both in such terrible shape? I offer the proposition, that although there was a much needed push to ensure that women had equal opportunities, rights and protections, in sum genuinely more empowerment, that the path taken to achieve this end was not the ideal one. For example, although women as a whole have attained many wonderful benchmarks, many needed goals and aspirations, perhaps many things along the way were missed, and the path taken the incorrect one. As such, perhaps today’s brand of feminism as envisioned by the “feminists” is quite incomplete.

In assessing the aftermath, it would appear that the critical flaw in the direction modern feminism took, was that it blindly sought to give women the same opportunities and equality as men, by turning women into men. The thought could have been well intentioned in that in order to get the same rights and opportunities as men, perhaps women should copy the “man-formula” in its entirety and thus the same brand of feeling, thinking and acting will yield the same results. The problem however with this turning women into men approach however is what happens when that which you are emulating is deeply flawed to begin with? If you copy it, although you are attempting to replicate certain desired results, are you not also doubling the problem? Put it simply, do you not end up with two Frankensteins instead of one?

The author of the Time magazine piece herself praises how aggressive, violent and sexually promiscuous confident women have become, but at the end of the day, I honestly ask is it a good thing to now have two flawed sexes instead of one? Add to this man’s inherent superficial, uncaring and materialistic nature and are we then not left with a generation of women who care nothing but for themselves, have only the most tempermental  and precarious of allegiances, value themselves so little that they sexually devalue themselves at every turn with reckless bed hoping only to think their new found self-loathing, low self-esteem, and low self-worth can be reconciled with a trip to Louis Vuitton or Manolo Blanikh?

To this day I am puzzled and saddened by how the shallow, flakey, materialistic, and self-centered world pioneered by Carrie Bradshaw and perfected by Hannah Horvath not only exist, but are actually praised as being some kind of feminist accomplishment. To the people who might say lighten up they are just light fiction, I say that I cannot because shockingly the prominence of the women and ideas depicted on these shows are not only on the rise in the real world, but before we as a society could blink these (and other) horrible representations have become the defacto template for women and in so doing, the zeitgeist for our times.

In the end as a society, we must empower every member of our society and ask for everyone to be accountable. Do not say on the one hand you want a relationship like your grandparents, yet think and act nothing like them. Both women and men of generations past understood the value of working to fix problems instead of throwing things away, they thought of making the other person happy first instead of themselves, they were engaged to such a degree with their personal growth, family and community that they were able to build self-worth and not instead be consumed with the inevitable realization that their feelings of being “done”, “lost” and finding no meaning in life are the direct result of leading a meaningless existence. In short this is why far too many women today feel unsatisfied despite emulating the shallow me-first role models depicted all around them. Men in generations past might have been just as flawed as they are today, but they and their families still could grow because women were the backbone and level headed members that kept the good in our society together. If they tragically did not have rights or opportunities, what they did have was still a form of empowerment. What is more powerful then holding society together?

I will conclude by saying that I am an optimist and that I love women and the potential that exists for the future. If I did not love women I would not write a word because in this day and age it is a great time to be man with bad intentions and love the fact that “feminism” has made it easier than ever to take advantage of women by only offering them a half-heart compliment in order to bed them, promising them that there is nothing wrong with sexual promiscuity (and thus undermining their self-worth), conning them into believing  that money and labels are what makes the world (and thus enslaving them to it), and making them believe that relationships without meaningful commitments are ok because marriage (and the great implications, the stability, and securities for both women and children inherent within) are unnecessary. I am sorry, but I love women and humanity too much to keep quiet.

It is my hope that one day today’s “feminism” will turn into what I call “empowermentism” where women not only are free to have equal education, equal treatment, equal career and every opportunity that men are afforded, but at the same time that they realize that they should resist the quick fix which merely replicates the terrible traits of men, which in turn duplicates the world’s problems. The scope of this piece perhaps does not enable me to further flesh out all of the ways men and women can attain harmony, but it is a start and the goal is for all of us to live in a world where women have all of the positive opportunities and experiences they hope for, while also retaining the inner strength, substance, dignity, respect and self-worth that has existed within women for generations. In a way, being a star in the world, the backbone of one’s family, and being comfortable in one’s own skin and having self-respect is the most powerful form of empowerment there can be. I wait for the day where this vision can be realized, but I know that with work it can be.