Feminism Is Important, But “Feminists” Need to Chill.

Author: Coco Marett
06.12 / Lifestyle

I stared at my TV in shock as I watched a VICELAND program about child marriage in Zambia. They were following Dialess, a 14-year-old girl, in the days leading up to her arranged marriage to a 48-year-old man. He was marrying her because his current wife was old, falling ill often, and therefore unable to perform certain tasks that he needed her to perform. Dialess spent 30 days being groomed to be the perfect, obedient wife, and was to be pulled out of school as soon as they were married. A condition that, according to her soon-to-be-husband, was non-negotiable.  

It’s not an isolated incident. In just one year, 16,000 girls in Zambia dropped out of school as a result of child marriage. This - THIS - is serious a women’s rights issue. But it seems like these days, we’re constantly being bombarded with - even glorifying - petty acts of “feminism” that distract us from issues that really matter. From issues that could really make a difference.

Frankly, I don’t care if some teenager “shut down” a sh*tty comment made by some pre-pubescent boy on Twitter. Nor do I care for gender neutral awards like at the MTV Movie & TV Awards - what do we really gain from this? Is this really an issue? How was this seen as inequality in the first place when there were both “best actor” and “best actress” categories to begin with?

Feminism shouldn’t be about women vs men. It should be about women vs archaic conventions that leave women - like Dialess - disenfranchised, denied of her rights, and deprived of any control over her future.

Women are not better than men and men are not better than us. We’re just different - we were made that way - and really, that’s ok. In fact it’s more than ok. I f*cking love being a woman, and I love me a “manly” man.

What’s dangerous about this new wave of small, clickbait gestures is that we are misrepresenting what it means to be a strong, independent woman to the next generation. It’s become less about female empowerment, and more some kind of perpetual victim complex. Damsels in modern day distress.

I refuse to blame men for whatever problems I have. There are countless incredible women out there getting it, who come from all backgrounds and circumstances. I mean, just look at the many amazing MISSBISHes we’ve featured on this site alone.

“Feminism shouldn’t be about women vs men. It should be about women vs archaic conventions that leave women disenfranchised, denied of her rights, and deprived of any control over her future."

My hometown, Melbourne, recently introduced “female” pedestrian signs. There are a few things wrong with this well-intentioned but horribly executed move - first of all, who’s to say the original was a man and not just some androgynous symbol? Why must the stick figure wear a skirt in order to be perceived as a woman? Why are we making a fuss about f*cking stick figures in the first place? And most importantly - how does this bring us closer to what we’re ultimately trying to achieve?

Or what about Kiran Gandhi, who was praised for free-bleeding her way through a marathon. Again, I get it, and more power to you if you’re down with that. But I don’t wear pads or tampons because I’m “ashamed” of being a woman or of having my period. I wear them simply because I don’t want to get blood everywhere. It’s just not my idea of a good time. I’m sick of being told left, right and center via mainstream media that I should feel angry or wrongly done-by about things that, I feel, are non-issues.

It begs the question - why are we looking for things to be angry about? We have enough to tackle as it is. If we waste all of our time trying to shut down every misogynistic, uneducated troll on the internet, what time do we have left to give to the ladies out there - who really need it - a voice?

Let’s stand up for each other rather than waste our time standing up to people who will never get it. Who ultimately serve no role in the progress we are trying to make. Let’s do what we women do best - let’s just get sh*t done.

To get a head start, here are five female-focused organizations that support causes worth fighting for.

Days for Girls - Days for Girls provides sustainable feminine hygiene solutions and health education to girls in impoverished communities around the world, so they can continue to live life and pursue their education. According to the charity, “When girls and women have health, education, and opportunity, communities and our world are stronger.”

The Kind Campaign - Through film, school assemblies and educational curriculums, The Kind Campaign "brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl bullying."

Girls Not Brides -  This global organization is committed to wiping out child marriage throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.

Prajwala - An organization based in India that is dedicated to rescuing, educating and empowering victims of human trafficking and sexual slavery.

Planned Parenthood - This one needs no introduction.

Artwork by: drømsjel