New age feminism has had a crazy go of it the last few years! From a shaving commercial to a people’s March for Life to the political movements of the Me-Too movement it seems feminism (whether we like it or not) is coming up more and more in day to day life. Personally, I find it all pretty justified and desperately needed in response to the patriarchal society we live in. Why shouldn’t feminism come in every shape and form?
My last article talked about where feminism has come from – because I think it’s really important to acknowledge the roots of any social movement, let alone one that’s been criticised and reformed to the extent feminism has.
And, now, I’m going to look at where exactly it is we are. What is present day feminism? Can it ever be summed up under one banner with such a myriad of different voices speaking within the movement? I wanted more than anything to say yes and to present the concept wrapped up in a cute little bow for you to swallow with Sunday dinner but honestly – I can’t. One little article writing for a Ecommerce skincare platform isn’t going to be able to cover all the different forms of feminism (believe me, when researching this article, I wanted to try). Academics that study their PHD in this subject couldn’t even do that. So, alas, I’m going to narrow my topic before this becomes a full-on dissertation in skincare feminism. Even, though, that does sound really fun. Who doesn’t love a scrub, moisturise and feminism sesh?!
In order to embody feminism in its most pure form at the moment, I’m going to chat about two important social collectives that have been happening in recent times, specifically, the #MeToo movement and the #MeNOmoremovement.
The #MeToo movement was a seemingly huge break through point for feminism and, thus, women everywhere surrounding sexual assault. This timeline of the events shows how the phrase was coined long before the actual events that culminated in Harvey Weinstein being out rightly accused of sexual assault by Ashley Judd. One of the stark details of that first story is how so many people around her commented that they had known about Weinstein’s behaviour for years. It really emphasises how accepted sexual assault is within our society. We all know the #MeToo movement spread until it touched women around the world who weren’t in Hollywood.
The #MeNOmore movement in the Australian music industry is another example of how women are being taken advantage of. In 2017 the movement began once #MeToo started to engulf Harvey Weinstein and other culprits. The open letter to the music industry cites countless abuses to women as musicians. It reflects the same heart that #MeToo has. In my opinion, it has successfully created a space where women can finally talk about things that would have previously been ‘swept under the rug’.
But, this has happened before. As John Oliver pointed out on Last Week Tonight in the 1990’s there was a huge social movement against sexual harassment and women stood up and told their stories and the world’s attention was drawn to it for a moment and it seemed finally like all of this would…. What? Stop? See a key problem with the #MeToo movement is that it uses twitter and the newer forms of online outrage but there are no proper infrastructures in society to enact those demands.
I mentioned the March for Life – which is an anti- abortion march that in my opinion – strongly contributed to the defunding of planned parenthood. A service which provides women’s health care like STI checks and emphasises safe sex as well as providing safe abortions. For the Trump administration to defund it is for them to prioritise weird moralistic views of sex over the health of women in reality. And then it came, Alabama’s abortion ban. This ban is at all stages of pregnancy and actually has NO exceptions for rape or incest. Holy Fuck!
Now back to this travesty that we actually even need the #MeToo movement and the #MeNOmore movement, they all have something in common. Regardless of the huge wealth’s of support these movements have garnered online, in reality they don’t seem to be making lasting, long-term effects. Brett Kavanaugh was still elected to be a Supreme Court judge. Sticky Fingers – who have been criticised for abuses – have just released an album that has already been heralded as a lasting classic.
Feminism is fighting in a world where we place moral themes over women’s health and entertainment over women’s safety. And, it makes me angry. Activism seems to be limited to the online scope. I do see the triumphs along- side the defeats – for example, the resignation of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. However, I think without looking at the systemic support sexual assault has in society, women are never going to feel truly safe in the entertainment industries.
But, I think modern feminism is fighting against a lot. The small incremental changes we make are steps forward and one day in the future, I hope feminism will contribute to creating a world where we can all be respected. Women really do rock – so you better believe that world is going to be fairer and less violent. Hell to the YES!