So while taking a break from my painstaking essay on Arendt and Foucault’s conceptions of power, I came across Banksy’s new post on Instagram and I had to stop everything I was doing to respond to the ignorance behind his erroneous statement. He posted a picture of a wall graffitied with the words “Feminism is a weapon: weapons are for war. Make love not war!”. For those of you who live under a rock and have never heard of Banksy, he’s a pseudonymous graffiti artist based in the U.K. Whether or not Banksy was being ‘ironic’ (or if it wasn’t even officially posted by him since i’m hoping for his sake that he was hacked) he must have known that a statement like this one will be taken literally by many a people and, thus continue the already existent demonisation of the feminist movement. Feminism really doesn’t need any more flack than it already recieves and feminists in general are tired of having to explain why we even need feminism in the first place.
Instead of making moronic statements about how feminism is ostensibly a “weapon”, Banksy should take the time to educate himself on our goals, purposes and maybe just clue himself up on what the fuck feminism is. Yes, i’m mad. No, it’s not just graffiti. People will eat his statement up and we really don’t need any more ignorance surrounding the aims of feminism. Instead of going into detail on the most common myths about feminism that I plan to do in a different post (keep a look out) I have decided to address some of the worst comments from Banksy’s provocative Instagram account in the reasonably aggressive and humorous manner that you’ve come to appreciate me for. I’ve also posted some of my favourite comments. Hopefully this post will shed some light on just some of the myths about what feminism is and how it operates.
Disclaimer: I know that Banksy likes to spark controversy, and I know that a lot of people tend to be oblivious to what feminism is really about, but i don’t excuse ignorance. Smart the fuck up about important shit or keep your silence. It’s very simple.
Women are raped more than anyone else in the world, with 1 in 3 being victims of sexual abuse and that figure is around 1 in 5 for rape. Globally, over 90% of rapes happen to women. These are facts. They are non-negotiable. How about dealing with the fact that patriarchy is still alive and kicking, limiting women worldwide even in 2014 instead of scapegoating the issue by claiming that “women rape too, women kill too”?. Feminism does not deny the reality of men who suffer as a result of violence or sexual abuse, actually feminism is one of the only movements in the world that recognises this and works towards alleviating the suffering of both sexes. Feminism is not only about women. Eliminating patriarchy and sexism liberates us all since men suffer too as a result of it.
In fact, you don’t need to bring up the fact that women are also capable of violence and rape at all since it is common knowledge that everyone has the capacity to practice cruelty. What you should be dealing with is the acute oppression that women are subjected to both in the developing and non-developing world, not making excuses for feminist-haters who use the same arguments as you. Recognise that even if women are capable of violence, murder or rape, this does not make it okay that we suffer disproportionately to men. And that there has not nearly been enough damage done to humanity by women that has been done by men. Don’t absolve rapists and abusers by irrelevantly bringing up the fact that women also abuse and rape because if that’s an issue you feel passionate about- i recommend that you express it at another time and not as a scapegoating tactic that gives the semblance that you actually care about those men who are raped and abused by women- because if you did, you wouldn’t use them as a debate tactic, instead you’d actually be out there championing their cause.
Sounds about right,
Dear Wileyaus and Notwrong,
Feminism is inherently humanist. The only difference is that humanism suggests that both sexes start off on an equal footing and we all know that this is untrue. Women are still paid less for the same jobs as men, women are the smallest minorities in almost every government or parliament, women are still treated as emotional beings who are incapable of rational decision-making, women are still sold off as child brides, women are still stoned to death for adultery, women are still sold into sexual slavery, women are still the biggest population of those in extreme poverty and the list goes on and on.
Ask yourself; does humanism deal with a single one of these issues? Does it delineate how we are to transcend such obvious injustices against women? Does humanism offer a plan/manifesto/methodology of eliminating such issues in our global society? The answers: No. No. No. Therefore, humanism is convenient for those who don’t want to admit that we even need feminism in the first place and ditching feminism would probably be the worst thing that could happen to half the world’s population.
Treating one another equally is not enough because equality in an unfree world is not equality; it’s an illusion. We need full liberation, not excuses and idealistic ideations.
Dear Brandonarts and Notwrong,
Again, women and men cannot be united as long as women suffer disproportionately to men. It’s really, really not difficult logic to understand. Humanism fails to deal with specific issues that women face and it is not enough- you can be a humanist feminist, but being just a humanist and believing that it’s enough to achieve full equality is frankly delusional.
Woohoo. Some sense.
I love that you brought some sense into this discussion by highlighting how feminists are not about bashing all men (we have a lot more pressing things to do than that, really) and that we are only interested in fighting “harmful, violent men” who try to subvert our innate powers. You’re wonderful.
Dear Amir Fresh,
Exactly! By definition, a movement geared towards alleviating the injustice and inequality of any persons cannot be a weapon.
This is the kind of pseudo-science that justifies patriarchy and sexism. There is no irrefutable evidence to suggest that men and women are wired differently, not in neuroscience, not in biology, and not anywhere on this planet. Please do enlighten me on the “biological purpose” of women because i’m pretty sure that it’s some kind of subservient, passive role where all we’re expected to do is carry kids in our wombs. Get outta’ here.
Precisely. Feminism is only perceived to be a weapon by those who either don’t understand what it means or are nervous about breaking the status quo. Every man i’ve known who disrespects feminism and its goals has coincidently been threatened a strong woman who knows her rights.
It’s a common myth that feminism is unpopular because of feminists- it’s unpopular because it challenges perennial traditions and patriarchy that is so seeped into our culture.
Dear Anneleise Marie,
Good fucking question. I doubt Banksy considered this. Sexism and misogyny harm millions of women worldwide every-mother-fucking-day, and yet feminists are considered the warmongers? Ha Ha.
And lastly.. My personal favourite..