“Could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?”- Ellen Page (x)
“She’s such a bloody feminist.” He spat the word out, disgusted at the thought of such horror! It is 2014 and, apparently, being called a feminist is still an insult. Oh I’m sorry, didn’t realise that supporting gender equality was such an embarrassment.
Not too long ago I was browsing through the magazine aisle of my local supermarket only to spot that all the current affairs magazines, such as ‘The Economist’ and ‘New Statesman’, were categorised under the ‘Mens’ Interests’ section. Whilst waiting for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to start playing, two women behind me go, “Oh lots of women playing today… Hope we haven’t been sent the second class players.” Too many people, of both sexes, remain convinced that men and women are now treated equally. I suppose, to an extent, on paper we are; we can vote, run for parliament and there are laws to protect us against gender discrimination in the workforce. Yet, how many of us have been told to ‘get a taxi home’/ ‘don’t wear anything suggestive’/ ‘keep an eye on your drink’? If this is such an epidemic, why aren’t boys simply taught not to rape? (Don’t even get me started on rape culture, could be a whole other 3000 word essay I’m telling you…)
The whole Miley Cyrus/ Robin Thicke VMA situation caused such a stir and I’m not denying that Cyrus has plenty of faults which should be criticised (e.g. her date rape joke). All I’m saying is that why was there so much media controversy over her actions and virtually none whatsoever on the married, 37 year old dad grinding behind her! On a more serious note, the repercussions of deep rooted sexism can be serious. Just last week, Elliot Rodger appeared on headlines around the globe after he murdered 6 students in California as revenge for him being a 22 year old virgin. In his YouTube video (which has since been removed) titled ‘Elliot Rodger’s Retribution’, he says that:
“You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime because I don’t know what you don’t see in me, I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman. I will punish all of you for it.
On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the hottest sorority house at UCSB and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut I see inside there. All those girls I’ve desired so much. They have all rejected me and looked down on me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance toward them, while they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes.” (x)
Before I get criticised, I know that not all men are like this and he quite obviously had a severe illness. However, Rodger’s case highlights the severity of the ‘friendzone’ culture. These snide remarks, which I see everyday online, only serve to cement the idea of male entitlement and the belief that a woman always owes something to the ‘nice guy’. Unfortunately Rodger’s case wasn’t an anomaly; a few days ago, a woman was beaten to death for not giving someone her number and last month, a 16 year old girl was stabbed to death after refusing to be her classmate’s prom date.
Thankfully our generation are becoming more and more aware of the faults within our society.With role models such as: Laura Bates from the Everyday Sexism Project, Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban for speaking in favour of education for girls, and even Beyoncé who played her part in the Ban Bossy campaign, there has never been a better time to support gender equality.
So next time you hear a guy complaining about being ‘friendzoned’?
Tell him do one.