Ok Judy-B fans[1] calm your tits and hear me out: when I talk about embracing gender I don’t mean barefoot, pregnant in the kitchen pink-loving weak-ass bitches vs. testosterone-radiating providers. However I do want to discuss how important it is for our social progression to embrace our genders, that is:  to confront them, come to terms with them and empower ourselves through their characteristics rather than meeting them with resistance.

“But gurl, we know this, what about lipstick feminism etc? What about boss bitches like Chimamanda[2], who endorse embracing femininity?”  You might say. Indeed lipstick feminism (an offshoot of feminism that seeks empowerment through femininity, particularly the sexual aspect) is on the right track but what I’m going to discuss runs much deeper than that.

 

Down with the Patriarchy

Across the globe, since the dawn of time, patriarchy has dominated in social, cultural and political belief systems. This fact has led us to believe that masculinity has always been in power. However this is not in fact the case. Neither men nor women have ever truly been empowered in their genders. Patriarchy arose and still thrives on the oppression of women more so than the self-empowerment of men. Men were only able to rise to power because they used certain advantages to strip feminine power, creating the illusion of their own power and setting forth to manipulate social, cultural, political, religious systems that begot innumerable generations of advantage by excluding half of the human race from society. However we must see how there is no power gained in the disempowerment of others and the dominance of the masculine in society is a superficial form of power rather than internal self-accepting empowerment.

If masculinity had ever been comfortable and truly empowered within itself then it would not feel the need to oppress and punish its counterpart. We’ve probably all had enough therapy to know that when people belittle others it comes from a place of their own insecurity, confusion, lack of self-awareness and self-acceptance. This is what has happened here on a much grander scale because humanity has never arrived at a place of understanding on gender. Society teaches us to deny our intrinsic selves and thus we have never understood gender outside of archaic socially-constructed ideas. Thus, the patriarchy is not only fucked up because of its sexist foundation but also the fact that this foundation doesn’t actually reflect any conscious truth about masculinity because masculinity and what it means has never been explored beyond superficial means.

 

Power dynamics

“Power” is such a dangerous and daunting word to use. Because society has evolved from modes of oppression we immediately associate the word power with oppression, resistance, something to which others compare less than, something that often needs to be fought against. However when I talk about being powerful in your gender and empowering yourself I mean thriving by means of your authenticity; to be able to direct the course of your own reality and to not feel threatened or inferior by being you; to be able to maximise your capabilities without threat or judgement. Because we live in a society that teaches us to deny our true selves and mould to certain labels and behaviours, we have to unlearn some of these everyday oppressions; we have to free ourselves and our thought processes of social oppression and through that, in realising our personal authenticity, self-awareness and self-acceptance, we are empowered. And it follows naturally that peace within begets peace without.

Let’s  unpack one of my recent interactions as an example of power dynamics. Consider the below excerpt from my life:

After being approached based on nothing but my looks and- to some surprise apparently- ending up in stimulating conversation…

Fucboi: you seem really smart

Kay [with exaggerated sarcasm] : wow, OH MY GOD, [dramatically holding onto table as if going to faint]WHAT A SURPRISE!

Fucboi: haha, wow, you’re also a bitch, it’s hot

Firstly, yes I was a dick there, I know. Secondly…”you’re a bitch, it’s hot” is a really interesting concept to me. My last partner also found “bitchiness” attractive, as do, I’m aware, many men. My thoughts on this are that the male ego is so damaged by patriarchy itself that it craves the treatment it subconsciously deems itself worthy of (maybe) but mostly there’s  a certain power dynamic coming into play. I believe that what is at the root of this attraction to “bitchiness” is the sense of power it stems from. When someone conveys “bitchiness” or “sass” or “spice,” they are conveying a disagreement with you and a sense of agency in rejecting the ideas of another, which asserts the “power” of the bitch because of her self-assurance. I think it is this self-assurance that is the root of attraction and should be an indication of what we should be gravitating towards.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not condone “bitchiness” in the sense of unnecessary passive aggression, thoughtless, narcissistically-driven callousness or purposeful malice; I purely mean self-assured spice. The fact that this notion of bitchiness is so complex just shows the social instinct to belittle and oppress self-assured women.

 

From small everyday interactions to global concepts it is obvious that power dynamics in the genders is an oscillation of fighting and disempowering one another, or forcing one another into the aspects of their own gender (such as women having to take on masculine qualities to thrive or “extra-sensitive” men who cry being deemed ideal “relationship material”) rather than recognising, supporting and uplifting the differences in each other’s gender.  And sorry, J-Bizzle[3] but there are intrinsic differences is us!

 

So why fuck feminism?

Well because the more we fight the patriarchy, the more power we are in fact allocating it and the more we engage in gender war the further we are fleeing from our true individual selves and a positive understanding of gender dynamics.

Feminist movements have been absolutely imperative in bringing women to where we are today but there is still a long way to go and I believe the path to true equality surpasses old manners of resistance and lies in each gender uplifting one another and doing some serious soul-searching. We have been angry and we have fought and that has been necessary but now it’s time to shift our focus within and discover, accept and embody our genders in a passive way.

The evolution of feminism has manifested a space where a feminists must either adopt masculine characteristics or reject her own feminine characteristics OR deny gender-related characteristics altogether in order to be respected, to thrive in society. And yes sex-positive derivatives of feminism reject that notion but we seem to have only come so far as to recognise and develop a very limited amount of feminine characteristics. There are so many aspects of the feminine which are underrated and largely unexplored on grander social scales, at least not enough to integrate them into society in a serious way. Aspects such as menstruation and motherhood are still marginalised in the greater social scheme of things; women are still forced into disconnection with these aspects of their womanhood to fit into society.

 

Let’s look at a (very very very) brief history of feminism

  • Man oppresses woman for a false sense of empowerment and excludes woman from society; the feminine becomes the quintessential Other and feminine characteristics are normalised as shameful. Women are oppressed into passivity and socialised into domestic and sexual beings.
  • Bitches be like “oh HEYL no!” and start fighting back for equality- equality being what has now been ingrained as achieving the same power as men, thus women are now fighting to achieve masculinity in the social space[4] basically because it’s the only example of freedom and power that has ever been
  • The movement evolves into rejecting feminine characteristics and adopting male characteristics to show that women can be like men, they can be equal. Remember masculinity itself was never truly defined, it was falsely empowered by Othering its counterpart so now both genders are striving to achieve something that built its foundation on nothing anyway
  • Lots of stuff happens, the movement achieves a lot but women are still the “second sex” and then we realise that adopting masculine qualities isn’t the answer either so an aspect of the movement where feminine characteristics are embraced comes into play and sex-positive attitudes are adopted because the sensual power of women is recognised. HOWEVER even though society has started to accept that women can be badass in their lipstick and heels and the magical powers of the tits are finally recognised; this femininity is still having to be squeezed in to a patriarchal society. A woman can now be badass at work in a top level position in her heels yet she is having to be torn between her mothering and her career in the workplace that was established upon not having to worry about caring for children, about doing 9-5 and beyond while your children’s mother was caring for them
  • And so the struggle continues and some theorists reject the notion of gender all together (an indication that we are so damaged by these dynamics that we need to be in denial of them)

 

Feminism is coming to a place of stagnancy. I think that we’re now spending too much time playing the victim, shaming men and getting hung up on small technicalities which can be important but aren’t really giving any momentum to the movement. Look I’m not criticising modes of empowerment and resistance feminists use or debunking their value, I’m just saying it’s time to move on. I have always been the biggest ambassador of resistance and fighting against what’s wrong and what you don’t believe in. Since I was 13 my life motto has been “fuck the system”. So trust me, I get it, the feminist in me is always screaming to shove zap signs down the throats of misogynists and ignorant conformers to patriarchal norms but now I’m tired, I’m done. I don’t want this gender war to take any more of my god damn energy because the more we let it sap us and anger us the more we’re actually just feeding it and draining ourselves.

Small acts of resistance such as spelling “womxn” are nice shades of empowerment but it’s also becoming such a cop out. I know plenty, too many, men, women and establishments alike who throw in “womxn” at every opportunity on social media yet continue, without thought, to perpetuate sexist behaviour that is so ingrained it goes unquestioned. I personally don’t spell womxn because my individual preference is reappropriation rather than overt resistance; I feel my most powerful when I show that I do not need to dedicate a drop of energy to fighting masculinity. Or maybe I’m just being an obnoxious cunt, I don’t know anymore. Many people will strongly disagree with this but I hope we can respect one another’s methods of progression.

And the same goes for playing the victim; victim mentality does not allow any momentum. It is OF COURSE extremely important to work through traumas to which you have been the victim of and for humanity to work together to avoid cases where women are victims of patriarchy, sexual harassment  etc. but it’s JUST as important to move on from the victim state. By keeping yourself in a state of victimisation you are disempowering yourself. “oh look how mean the boys are to us” is not going to get us anywhere, we need to come together and figure out what femininity is and what it means to us DEVOID of the masculine. Up until now we have only ever defined femininity in the context of masculinity. Also shaming men… we are seriously above that and surely smart enough to recognise that fighting oppression with oppression is futile. Saying #menaretrash is seriously not doing anything for either gender. Oh my god the way I hate that hashtag. And the same goes for women shaming one another. Upliftment guys, that’s all it takes.

I really don’t want it to come across that I’m endorsing this vibe of “ladies nights” and “pamper parties” and having to be all girly together and shit. Ew. No not at all. Yeah those things are great if it’s your personality but what I mean is things like supporting women in art and business, support rather than jealousy, not slating other women AND not slating men; and paying men less god damn attention, and by overtly excluding them we are paying them attention.

Chimamanda said in response to Beyonce’s song Flawless in which she is quoted,

“Still, her type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men. I think men are lovely, but I don’t think that women should relate everything they do to men: did he hurt me, do I forgive him, did he put a ring on my finger? We women are so conditioned to relate everything to men. Put a group of women together and the conversation will eventually be about men. Put a group of men together and they will not talk about women at all, they will just talk about their own stuff. We women should spend about 20 per cent of our time on men, because it’s fun, but otherwise we should also be talking about our own stuff.”

And it does feel like ‘feminism” still has too much to do with men. And yes, of course there is a lot of backing of badass bitches among one another but it’s within this space of “please validate us! We’re still so marginalised and hurt that there needs to be a special place for us.” This just shows how marginalised we still are. We need to start defining femininity on its own terms, we need to acknowledge the oppression femininity has been cultivated in and take that as one aspect of what femininity means in the modern day rather than basing its sole definition around past oppression. There are so many aspects of being female that have not been allowed to develop in their natural form in the confines of society.

 

Patriarchy and the oppression of the masculine

Now let’s talk dudes… who have either had to fit into bullshit ideas of masculinity or feel guilty for what masculinity has done to women and suppress their intrinsic masculinity and now we’re living in this fuck show of confused and emasculated softbois and fucbois who are basically wandering through life crying inside trying to stick their dicks in stuff to see if that’ll make them feel like men.

Ok that was hectic, that’s not quite the case. However we know at this point that men have been just as oppressed by the patriarchy- sure, not in terms of hierarchical or economic advantage but very much so on an internal level. Men are born and they get told what is expected of them and they are then expected to live up to this certain role in society and that’s that.

There’s so much that’s been written on this subject recently so all I’m going to say is that men have never been allowed to explore their gender outside of the social space just as much as women. Their identity is based on a false sense of power to start with, which is not going to lead to any kind of real fulfillment. Men are either suffering because they have to fit into certain norms that do not actually resonate with their personal identification or values, or they’re feeling so guilty for just being men and what the patriarchy has done to women that they’re suppressing their masculinity and allowing themselves to be undermined.

I think that it’s ultimately this oppression of the masculine that has allowed rape culture to thrive. Rape culture is the most explicit indication of the battle between masculine and feminine: the masculine feels threatened by the feminine ESPECIALLY when it comes to sexuality and thus feels the need to control it with physical strength and violence, ultimately overcompensating for feelings of weakness and threat that are buried deep within.  There is no power in that. Men have been oppressed in their gender by the patriarchy but have not been allowed the space to sort through these feelings- they exist on such a deep subconscious and repressed plane that they come out in unaware violent ways. Society has always assumed that men have all the advantages and therefore do not need to question their role in society or how socialised gender has affected their identity.

Yip, it’s a fuck show.

 

Achieving Balance

Until very recently I thought that the next step in gender evolution was going to be men learning to embrace the feminine within; for a rise of femininity in every aspect of life. But I realise I’m mistaken. That’s not the answer. What we really need to do is transform the polarity that exists in gender into a duality, achieved through simultaneous rising.

We can only move to a place of true equality in the genders once, firstly, we acknowledge the fact that there are differences in gender and each gender has different qualities and characteristics (as well as some of the same).And secondly, we sort through which parts of gender identity are bullshit social constructions created for certain advantages and power dynamics that aren’t actually based on truth. We need to stop stripping one another’s power and rise separately and together and achieve a yin-yang balance where each opposite has a little bit of the other within.

So,

Fuck the kind of feminism that says we must deny our femininity

Fuck the kind of feminism that denies gender

Fuck the kind of feminism that says your sexuality is your femininity

Fuck the kind of feminism that is STILLLL talking about men

Fuck the so-called “feminists” who slate other women

Fuck the so-called “feminists” who slate men

Fuck the feminism that never goes beyond anything but ideology, and;

Fuck YES to respecting fellow humans and creating spaces that are conducive to human individuality

Fuck YES to trans-gendered people who’ve got it right, who are actually so in touch with their gender identity that they have the courage to be like “fuck this body, fuck what society says, I am a woman/man and I’m going to be a damn woman/man”. The rest of us seriously need to learn to have the courage to express our inner truths in spite of social and biological confines.

 

Yoh, that was preachy AF. And long. And I used the word “power” way too much. Apologies. Just a thought.

xxx

 

[1] Judith Butler- a gender theorist famous for her social constructionism philosophies in which she argues that gender is socialised and separate from biological sex (to put a complex theory very simply)

[2] Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- Award winning Nigerian author and feminist. Watch her TED talk We Should all be Feminists

[3] Judith Butler

[4] By social space I am collectively referring to social, political, economic, religious etc; all  aspects of society