Friday 24 January 2020

Why would anyone be against feminism?

'To me, feminism couldn't me simpler. We're all equal, hurray! If you're pro equality, then you're a feminist, and that includes men too.' Picture posed. Thinkstock Images
'To me, feminism couldn't me simpler. We're all equal, hurray! If you're pro equality, then you're a feminist, and that includes men too.' Picture posed. Thinkstock Images

You know a thing is officially a thing when it gets its own hashtag, and now Women Against Feminism is a full-blown thing. It's 
mystifying really, because being anti-feminism is like being pro-apartheid, or a big fan of social injustice, but no one would think it's cute to hold up a sign saying that. Granted, feminism does seem to have an image problem. At a dinner party I sat opposite a woman who told me she wasn't a feminist because she didn't "wear a
conical bra" or "hate men". I told her she had feminism mixed up with Madonna in the Sean Penn years.

To me, feminism couldn't me simpler. We're all equal, hurray! If you're pro equality, then you're a feminist, and that includes men too. If you are of the male persuasion and not sure feminism's for you then here's a quick test. 1. Do you have a mum, daughter, girlfriend, wife or sister or have you ever met a woman? You have? great! 2. Do you think she should only be able to open her mouth to talk about kittens or embroidery? No? Congrats! You're a feminist.

Seriously though, thanks to feminism, my
career options are not limited to secretary or homemaker, I can choose how many kids I'd like to have and I can vote, but feminism's job is not done. We need it to fight for equal pay, to sort out the sex trade, to call out those who thrive on making us feel despicable for 'daring to bare' orange peel legs and to collectively laugh off all that '8 ways to please your man in bed' nonsense, as if women are nothing more than a back-scratcher to keep on the bedside table.

In other parts of the world, where female genitals are mutilated, teenage girls are kidnapped and forced to marry while others are sold for sex, feminism is even more badly needed. Feminism isn't about man-hating, or pretending men and women are the same and it has nothing to do with underwear of any dimensions, it's about equality. Why would anyone want to take a stand against that?

Katy Harrington

I hear you knocking, but you can’t come in

I have a history with doors. When I was young, our main source of entertainment was knocking on doors and running as fast as our little legs would carry us. There wasn’t much else to do in my area. The fact that lots of elderly people lived there, added to the excitement.

I spent many hours hiding behind cars with people shouting out their windows at me. “Eleanor Goggin, I know you’re behind that car” An impasse would ensue. Me remaining behind the car and the old dears staying at their windows. Futile on both our parts. They nearly always gave in first, but I wasted a lot of my childhood years sitting behind cars.

 It’s come full circle. When I moved into my new house, the little kids from the park saw the ‘auld wan’ as an easy target for runaway knock. I just wish I had the energy to give chase.

If only they knew I don’t answer the door anyway. It’s invariably someone wanting me to switch provider, sponsor a scout or then again, it could be a killer.

 I have this rule that nobody answers the door without first checking if it’s a murderer by shouting “who’s there?”.

My son points out that nobody is going to declare themselves as a robber, killer or rapist anyway, and my daughter claims that when people have  high-vis jackets, which we can see through the frosted glass, they must be selling something and are therefore not a threat.

I point out that they would don a high-vis jacket just to fool us. They think I’m paranoid and refuse to shout out as it makes us seem like lampy people.

I sat through three rings the other day and my daughter came huffing out of her bedroom. I glared at her as she passed me by and opened the door to a friend of mine brandishing a present for me. Maybe I’ll ditch the paranoia.

Eleanor Goggin

The past is not always best left behind

I had a conversation with someone from the past about the past. We have all been through events that change the routes our lives take, and this was one of mine. At the time, this person had heard one version of the story, more than 20 years later he heard mine, which was rather different. He pondered for a moment then said, “It was a long time ago, there’s no point in thinking about the past.”

I had told him because it was his story too, and I needed him to know the truth, I  thought it might kill off a shadow it still occasionally cast. Instead I was left wondering if he was right. Is clearing up an old issue just the key with which to fully and comfortably lock the door on a painful chapter or is it needless, even vengeful, muck-raking?

There are endless examples of how destructive it is to drag out and be defined by the past. Most wars are caused, or justified, by a memory of some historic wrong. However, people who refuse to engage with the past are often just as trapped by it as those who won’t let it go. Pivotal life moments can prompt long-term behaviour patterns. Denying that something happened or that it was important can mean sticking at that emotional age forever, around certain triggers at least.

In your forties, you start to really feel the effects of cracks, in your face, in your pelvic floor and in your psyche. My contemporaries who believe that the past is best left unprocessed in the past are starting to hit walls. Some have gone to great lengths to seek anaesthesia from reality. Others can be relied upon to react on occasion like five-year- olds. And some brandish their denial like swords of stoic superiority.  As we get older, those things seem less like quirks and more like damage, and people start getting left behind with their mummified pain. People tire of other people’s drama. I’m not claiming to be a bastion of sanity and balance but untreated pain, no matter how deeply buried, seeps toxins into your system forever.

Aine O’Connor

Sunday Independent

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