The Dirty “F” Word

Posted by on March 10, 2014

No, I’m not talking about the expletive that is probably overused and generally a lazy use of language. As you’ve probably suspected from my last entry, I’m talking about Feminism. I mentioned that I have a problem with the way the media portrays men and women. Well, I have a problem with the way it portrays feminists, too. Particularly because it makes women who might become feminists say that they aren’t.

The media portrays feminists as man-hating crazy women who are completely out of touch with reality. It’s been my experience that it’s the women who’ve bought into the media portrayals who do the most harm to men, not the feminists. As for out of touch with reality, the fact is, feminists are aware of things in reality that most people don’t or choose not to see, and then they often don’t explain it well and the people who choose not to see it twist the words. Crazy? Well, I think everyone is crazy.

Last year I discovered Anita Sarkeesian*. She is a vocal feminist with a youtube channel who stirred up a lot of controversy through a Kickstarter to fund her “Tropes vs. Women” series about problematic portrayals of women in video games. One of the main criticisms the series received was that the people making games didn’t sit around trying to exclude women or portray them in these ways. The thing is, she (and I) would have agreed with that. She was very clear that most if not all of these representations were accidental. But just because the developers didn’t intend them doesn’t mean they weren’t there.

As a writer, I’ve had first-hand experience with that untruth. So many times I’ve shown my writing to someone, and they find ideas and themes that I didn’t realize I’d put in. Another more glaring example: the Canadian bobsled team didn’t intend to flip the sled. Does that mean they had a clean run? The difference is that the flip is something very obvious that everyone can see. Media representations are subtle. Many people don’t want to go to the effort to try to find them or to try to fit them into their worldview. Other people do see them, but don’t want to believe they didn’t see them in the first place, so they deny it. Still other people know they’re problematic but actually want to preserve the power imbalances. As a result, it’s much harder to convince people that these stereotypes exist and that they are harmful than it is to talk about the Canadian bobsled flip.

But they do exist, and they are harmful. The media is wrong. If anything, feminists see more of reality than non-feminists.

What do you see in life and reality that others don’t? Where do you disagree with the media? What do you think of when you hear the word “feminist”? If you are a creator, has anyone ever found something in your creation that you did not intend to put there?

*Anita Sarkeesian’s youtube page is here:  I do not agree with everything she says, and eventually we will get into the pro-sex and anti-sex variations of feminism, but just because I do not agree with some of it doesn’t mean I think she’s wrong about everything.  I also find it important to treat other writers and speakers with respect, so any time I mention someone, I will give you a way to get in touch with them.

Last modified on March 10, 2014

Categories: Feminism in General
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