Oxford dictionary translates ‘Feminism’ as “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” Naturally one would then suppose that a ‘feminist’ would fall into the definition of “a supporter of women’s equality”. Nevertheless in today’s society there seems to be an ever-growing sense of negativity and, for loss of better words, a stripping of the feminine expectations of the people (namely the women), who support such a movement. Living in a world that prides itself on equal opportunity, one must ask how this word has now been slandered.
The answer, dear reader, is the media.
Simply put; Media moulds minds. Such repercussions have been the fuel of people anxieties concerning the media since the beginning of modernisation. Think the 1930’s film Metropolis, 1960’s George Orwell’s 1984, 1982’s Riddley Scott’s Blade Runner, and 2008’s Disney Pixar’s Wall-E … Each text reflects the dystopic fears that are born within each era’s introduction of new technologies.
Be that as it may, despite a succession of mediums reflecting society’s ongoing fear of technology and it’s influence , media has continued to capture, control and influence the opinions of the general public.
Such is how the portrayal of women as desperate, radical, and immoral was introduced and sites like ‘5 Ways Women are Literally Like Natzi’s’ were created; The media acting as tool for public shaming of ‘feminism’ and being a feminist now the dirty laundry of women who profess to support it.
Now no-one will ever truly be able to pinpoint the reason for the disgracing of the term, but the justifications I found most interesting were made on a question and answer site where numerous women internationally had commented why they thought the word ‘Feminist’ had such negative implications. One woman, wrote:
“Until feminism became a palpable threat to the status quo, it could be safely ignored. Once it began to make some inroads…it had to be…mocked and portrayed as pathetic”.
What is suggested here is that the media in an effort to remove the power associated with the growing independence of women now put the term in disrepute. Arguably some could say that the removal of the word’s effect can now be shown in the increasing sexualisation of women on television, the GST on their hygiene products, and the glass ceiling which still on average causes women to earn $300 less per week than men.
Another woman, suggested that people of the media were not opposed to equalising women, but rather scared of giving them the power to treat others in the same way they once were:
‘Feminist’ now means women seeking a pound of flesh from men in return from the oppression they had suffered under the thumb of a once patriarchal society.
Regardless of what feminism has come to mean, the media’s responsibility for enabling people to disrespect the term on a public platform, proves its true capabilities and influence over its audiences. That’s why the only way to fight the denigration of the term is through using the influence of a medium platform myself – just as all closet feminists should- to return the word to its natural origin:
(Header Image):10 Myths And Truths About Feminism | Odyssey. 2016. 10 Myths And Truths About Feminism | Odyssey. [ONLINE] Available at: http://theodysseyonline.com/cal-state-northridge/10-myths-and-truths-about-feminism/314914. [Accessed 18 March 2016].
(Everything else is hyperlinked).