Hooray feminism. Hooray sisterhood. Hooray women!
Living in the era of fourth-wave feminism, we hear pro-female slogans banded about on a daily basis. ‘Girls support girls’, ‘women support other women’, or the slightly more fairytale version ‘real queens fix each other’s crowns’ are now pretty commonplace.
You’ve probably seen them printed on the front of cheap notebooks, slapped on t-shirts in H&M or being tweeted by Taylor Swift in *that* Twitter spat. They’re nice, empowering, easy-to-swallow feminist slogans for the youth of today, stepping in where the Spice Girls’ ‘girl power’ left a gaping hole around 1999. They tell us that us women should work together, be a sisterhood, not a divided gender competing for the attention of potential suitors (*cough* Little Mix *cough*).
While this is all well and good, and I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment, the vacuous nature of this generic feminism is all too evident – and actually quite worrying. Can we really support all women? The answer is a big fat no.
There are many women who still aren’t on board with the whole feminism thing (like it’s some new invention for millennials and equality isn’t actually a basic human right, whatevs), nor are they on board with supporting LGTQIA+ people. They don’t support people of colour or any other marginalised group. They’re comfortable in their lovely white bubble of ignorance, with no chance of stepping outside of it – especially when it comes to being considerate of anyone but themselves. (See: that person on your Twitter who “just doesn’t get” International Women’s Day…)
And that’s fine. Those women will always exist, and yes, we should still be decent towards them. But we should not stop calling them out. To cover all of womankind with a blanket of greatness based purely on their gender is not just blind, it’s stupid and it’s pretty dangerous.
Take for example Theresa May. While it’s wonderful to see a woman in a position of power, the way in which that power is being used is destructive. In her political past, she’s voted against allowing same-sex couples to adopt, against bringing the age of consent for gay couples in line with heterosexual couples and recently voted in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act 1998. Literally voting to remove human rights.
Yet pretty Instagram quotes tell us to lend her support on the basis of how she identifies her gender, not how she conducts herself or the good she puts into the world. (And yep, you guessed it, girl band Little Mix even described her as “a bit of girl power” *rolls eyes for the 1231238149000th time*).
But back to the point – yes, our default should be to support other women. If they’re being spoken over by men in a work environment, be helpful and raise your voice too to ensure women are being heard. Don’t automatically view a fellow female as competition, but as a potential friend and supporter. But do call out women (and men, obvs) who fail to support equality and are actively doing things to reverse it.
We all know that person who’s counterproductive to the cause. The one who would say ‘I’m not a feminist because I don’t hate men’ in one breath and say ‘girls are so bitchy, aren’t they?’ in the next. Do what you can to educate them, to open their minds and to shatter the stereotypes they’re continuously purveying.
But don’t be generic af and blindly sing the praises of other women who wouldn’t do the same for you – or the rest of the so-called ‘sisterhood’. Because, quite frankly, some women just aren’t nice people.