I Need Feminism Because…

I Need Feminism Because...

All round classy human being Greg needs feminism, and we fell in love with his impassioned speech. Too cool.

I am a deeply greedy person who wants all of the very best things that existence has to offer, not the best the world has to offer, that’s too limited, the best that creation might offer at its very best. I want these things yesterday, I want them at no cost to me or anyone I care about or anyone at all. I don’t think anything about this makes me unusual, except that I’d express it in those terms.

I need feminism because currently half of the population faces a huge barrier to entry in fields like engineering and the sciences, and mathematics is stigmatised as unfeminine from primary school right up to the university level. Think of all of the awesome things that have been invented or built over the last decade. It is mind boggling how much progress has been made and all of the awesome things we have now. Now imagine how much wouldn’t exist if half of the researchers or engineers had been told every day of their lives in a thousand ways that they’re not good enough. However much of a loss that would have been, we’re missing an equal amount of what we could have had. Think of the breakthoughs we didn’t have because of the women kept out of science, the games we never played because of the women kept out of programming, the tech that was never made because of the women kept out of engineering.

I need feminism because I like cool sh*t and want more of it.

I need feminism because more than two thirds of the women I know have talked to me about street harassment and almost a fifth have had some experience of actual full physical contact sexual assault. Since I’m not actively seeking out such reports I have to assume that those numbers are lower, possibly much lower, than the real numbers. I value my friends, I like it when they’re happy – it makes me happy. I don’t like it when they’re not happy – that makes me sad. The open aggression towards women in this society is disgusting; it makes my friends’ lives much worse so it makes my life worse.

I need feminism because I want to smile more when I share life with friends.

I need feminism because when a woman enjoys herself having consensual sex with lots of people she’s called a slut or whore or worse. The world at large tells her that she has no value and she had better change her ways or else be subjected to attack, be it direct attacks by outright misogynists who outright instruct her what her place is or indirect attacks from so-called enlightened people that come as a thousand small attacks in little comments or barbs. I like sex, it’s really fun. I’d like to have more sex, particularly with people who’ve got lots of experience and do all sorts of neat things.

I need feminism because I like sex and don’t want people to be told that they can’t do it with me or else.

Feminist quote: Florynce Kennedy. Image: Mookychick Online

I need feminism because this country is a mess. I can’t remember the last time that I started reading the news and walked away happier than I was when I started reading. Whether we’re talking about education or economics, Europe or the NHS, crime or poverty, I am left with a deep sense that we are doing so much worse than we could be. 22.46% of MPs are female and with the number of intelligent, thoughtful women I have known I simply cannot believe that this is a statistic based on merit. I’d expect that if we were picking our very best to lead us, based on nothing but the qualities that are needed to make good decisions, we’d see something within a few standard deviations of a 50/50 split. This is one of many indicators that we choose our leaders in entirely the wrong ways.

I need feminism because I want the political structure of this country to make the place that I live a better place for everyone, particularly because I am a part of that everyone.

Feminist quote: Shirley Chisholm. Image: Mookychick Online

I need feminism because my spine might go at any moment and if it does I may never walk again. The thought terrifies me and every twinge or spasm keeps me up at night wondering if tomorrow will be the day that I don’t walk again. If it happens I’ll be in the hands of the doctors and surgeons that we have, such as they are. I want to know that I’m getting the very best treatment there is. I’m sure you can see where the argument is going by now, so perhaps I’ll just cite the recurring theme and be done with it. There are power structures that are keeping talented women out of important jobs and since I might one day rely on the people in these jobs being talented that presents a problem for me.

I need feminism because I want the very best doctors and surgeons and nuclear engineers and all of those other pointlessly male dominated areas that could badly f*ck me up if someone gets something wrong.

I need feminism because when sex workers of all genders talk about it to the wider world they get it in the neck from all sorts of angles, from personal acquaintances treating them badly to goddamn yoga clubs throwing them out. I’m tempted to go off along the line of how it affects my friends and me through that, but I already did that one earlier, so let’s take a different tack. I like it when my friends are free to talk about whatever it is they choose to do; I find hearing about people’s choices interesting and I like it when people open up bits of the world I don’t normally see through sharing their experiences with me.

I need feminism because I’m curious about the world and don’t like it when people are shamed into shutting up about parts of it.

I need feminism because I am sick of products doing better when they put plaster sexually provocative images of women all over non-sexual products. Every time a crappy product sells better than a well put-together one because of this sort of thing it leads to more crap on the market. It’s especially bad in games, which as an area is kind of a big deal to me. I wanna see more women making games. I do not want to wind up playing another crappy game that only made it to market because of some virtual bubbies, and even worse I don’t want to wind up getting forced to make one.

I need feminism because products sold on the promise of objectifying fictional women get in the way of the production and delivery of things that I actually want.

I need feminism because roles in society are gendered to the point that normally decent people feel the need to force roles onto people. A man must never cry. A woman must always be passive. F*ck. That. Sh*t. While I think that women have got the bad end of the stick, this is bad news for everyone. A lot of social rules describe interactions and it is not possible to force one person in an interaction to stick to a script without forcing the other person into the opposite role on the same script.

I need feminism because I want to act however I goddamn please.

I need feminism because misogynist sentiment is strong enough that people are actively punished for expressing displeasure at casually gender prejudiced language. Someone who halts a conversation to object to something that has just been said is a “killjoy” or “stick in the mud”. Alternatively seen as manipulative “white knight” or somehow lacking for being willing to bring it up “slacktivist”. For all of the reasons above I want to say things like this and it’s made hard, I can only imagine how much harder it would be if I were actually the target of the comments and risked being told to “calm down dear”.

I need feminism because I want the issues above to be a part of our conversation and don’t want to be punished for making them that.

Now the thing is this. None of the things I’ve written above are the best reasons for supporting a feminist agenda. Hell, they’re not even in the top 100 good reasons. There are so many ways in which the world could be so much better if we escaped the kind of limited thinking that keeps the world looking like this. But those reasons rely on a sense of community, on caring about what other people’s lives are like or on having some empathy for the experiences of other people. I wanted to write an entirely egotistical list of reasons to support feminism from the perspective of a straight white man to highlight something that’s been bothering me for years:

How is anyone against this? Are there really people out there to whom not one of the benefits above is at least a little tempting? Not one?

I try to understand other peoples’ points of view, but sometimes, I just don’t get it.

Greg wrote this article around midnight and didn’t initially intend it for publication so he’d like to assure you that he can do words that is gooder like wot he writes on his board game design blog.