Feminism isn’t what it used to be, and in no way is that a negative thing. Intersectional, supportive and inclusive feminism is the equality movement needed for all women, and is being spoken about and fought for on a wider level. While although we haven’t reached a completely equal society for everyone, progress has undoubtedly been made. As a global community we have brought the #MeToo initiative (first created by Tarana Burke, a social activist and woman of color aiming to empower survivors of sexual violence) to global recognition. In more recent times, the movement has spoken out on how safe abortion being available to women is a human right (as Ireland only recently elected to Repeal the 8th), as well as the boundaries as to what every single woman can achieve, whether she is gay, straight, black, white, trans, CIS, disabled or not. The promotion of these ideals is contributing to the shattering of limits and the overcoming of boundaries.
It is for this reason that Germaine Greer and those who share her views shouldn’t use the term feminist to describe themselves. Known as one of the key figures of Second-Wave feminism (a period in which feminism became popular in the West, and issues such as women having jobs as opposed to being housewives was discussed), Greer went on to be seen as a writer who brought up a large conversation about gender throughout parts of the world, with her work entitled The Female Eunuch. Nonetheless, having recently come under fire for saying sexual assault is sometimes just “bad sex” while calling for rape sentences to be more lenient, and previously declaring that transgender women are “not women,” her divisive and problematic views should not be overlooked by women, and do not mean she is still a feminist.
Time after time, celebrities and individuals who are lauded as icons are given a free pass. For example, the instance of Kanye’s hurtful and ignorant comments about slavery were brushed over the minute his new album came out.
Let’s make it clear: individuals like Greer are no longer revolutionaries. When so many women are underappreciated for the contributions they make in favor and support of women from all backgrounds and walks of life, having out-dated, fairly derogatory views only seeks to alienate the people she attacks, and make feminists and the feminist movement be perceived as something hateful, something only exclusive to a certain type of woman.
We need to shine a spotlight on these remarkable women, these remarkable activists. Activists like Sarah Tenoi, Monica Ramirez, Marai Larasi, Calina Lawrence, Jasvinder Sanghera, Laverne Cox, as well as activists in the past like Gloria Steinem and Frida Kahlo and many many more. It’s true that the media has a long way to go in promoting the rights of every woman, and that influential women who are driving change need to be recognized. This list is just the start, and there are still and will be undoubtedly more people to write about for it later on, but it won’t include the name of individuals like Germaine Greer anymore.
Photo: Art for Amnesty via Flickr