“I’m Not A Feminist, I Believe In Equality!”: A Banksy Inspired Post

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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.

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Dear Pennyleex,

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.

Sincerly, Mohadesa.

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Dear Rhabibix,

Sounds about right,

Sincerely, Mohadesa.

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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.

Sincerely, Mohadesa.

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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.

Sincerely, Mohadesa.

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Dear Johny,

Woohoo. Some sense.

Sincerely, Mohadesa.

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Dear Sanssvw,

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.

Sincerely, Mohadesa.

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Dear Amir Fresh,

………

Sincerely, Mohadesa.

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Dear Surfxsun,

Exactly! By definition, a movement geared towards alleviating the injustice and inequality of any persons cannot be a weapon.

Sincerely, Mohadesa.

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Dear Kcinickcinick,

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.

Sincerely Mohadesa.

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Dear Kunniko,

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.

Sincerely, Mohadesa.

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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.

Sincerely, Mohadesa.

And lastly.. My personal favourite..

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Amen!

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18 Comments Add yours

  1. I really appreciated this piece. It’s important people step up and speak out. Thank you.

  2. MJ says:

    Y’know, I believe that everyone has a right to an opinion along with having different views. I mean, we’re all trying to go for equality right? Not a feminist by any chance (you can be disappointed on my views or whatever) but being a humanist/egalitarian goes for all human rights (men, women, transsexual, cis gender, etc.). Men’s Rights Activists focuses almost entirely on men’s issues (yet feminists call them “terrorists” or “hate group”), feminism focuses almost entirely on women’s issues and I can’t support something that doesn’t equally focus on one gender’s issue (and the radicals in both sections….yeesh. MRA, masculinism, feminism, just not for me. We all have issues, and yes, we DO have different functions in our bodies individually, so we’re not the same at all (some men are strong, some men aren’t. Some women are strong, some women aren’t).

  3. MJ says:

    And for the record, I do support women’s rights, just without a label.

    1. Nobody says:

      Um… Did you actually read this whole article?

      1. MJ says:

        Yes, have you?

  4. KC says:

    This isn’t by Banksy, nor is it from his official instagram. His official instagram is @banksyny. It’s from a project called Pictures of Walls, which compiles photographs of “the best worst graffiti in the world.” This photograph is of graffiti in Sweden, and anybody who bothered to check the website of Pictures of Walls (which is linked in the caption) would have known. The unofficial social media pages likely chose that one out of several hundred images to share because they knew it would rile people up, but it’s supposed to exist in the context of other examples of bad graffiti from all over the world.

    1. KC says:

      I DO think calling out sexism is important, but doing so in the context of Banksy is irrelevant and muddles the discourse.

  5. Popgun says:

    That isn’t Banksy’s instagram account. This is: http://instagram.com/banksyny

  6. CAAC shelter says:

    I have though a lot about the first couple of letters to the commenters. You stated that: Feminism is not only about women. Eliminating patriarchy and sexism liberates us all since men suffer too as a result of it.

    I think more people should see this definitely. I am really open-minded to any idea about anything and I remember drawing something in about “Why should only girls be elevated, why can’t everyone be elevated. I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist.” Then, as I spent sometime alone with myself, I think of the struggles that men and other people who aren’t women go through are because of these gender boxes, especially when it comes to their bodies. Things like men should always want women and shouldn’t have their virginity under 18. No one talks about men’s consent because the only reason why he wouldn’t want to bang a girl is either she’s ugly or he’s gay. They can’t show emotion because then they would be effeminate, weak, vulnerable, like girl. Like a girl. The reason why men are going though this I just realized is because of the patriarchy. Everyone is effected by it (I think it has a lot to do with religion and its influence on culture. The patriarchy is strong in that one)

    Then you stated: 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.

    I don’t think that everyone knows that women can hurt people, but that doesn’t make me any less of a feminist. Feminism is a label and we define labels. If that commenter thinks that that’s what feminism is… What I’m trying to say is I don’t blame her that she thinks that way. It is only recently that culture realized that women were capable of be attracted to anything. They can fight and abuse, too? It didn’t even cross my mind until about a month ago. Because it’s ingrained in me to think that men hurt. Men are tough and dangerous. There are more men in jail. Be careful when you see one of them. But a woman? She hits like a girl, she’s weak. She probably hurts people like a girl, too.

    I do think that we should all wipe away what we thought of women. however, we all have different ideas about how to do that. I’m saying “like a girl” because I saw that Always commercial, the one that talks about doing things “like a girl”.

    1. CAAC shelter says:

      Oh and the Kcinickcinick comment really pissed me off. People aren’t biological purposes, u you Kcinickcinick-dick. I hate it when other are like this and say that shouldn’t happen because we need to repopulate. Are we frickin monkeys or dogs? Honestly, whether its “women should go topless because men need to have some more sex appeal in the bedroom” or “two women falling in love? That won’t make a baby, those idiots.” I like to pretend comments like that are full of sarcasm so I can move on with my life. I don’t want to stay and smell the bullshit. But I should probably smell the coffee because it’s reality that there are people out there that think that our only purpose in life is to frickin repopulate.

  7. speakingwins says:

    Bumper stickers and graffiti are rarely sources of wisdom.

  8. xaviersx says:

    I agree with MJ. When something starts off with a we versus them, it’s already a road block to forming an us. Clearly the labels are perceived as a roadblock, and some of the positions as well were people form parties that state that a discussion can not be had while one group is considered on top, on bottom, different even though both human ~ apart. I’d like to hope that most people would not be as disappointing as the model of Congress, but it seems that once lines are drawn, so are conclusions and the quagmire.

  9. HUMAN says:

    I don’t get along with men, I am not gay, I am white and I am a Male, I am a humanist, yes I have heard men laugh about women being inferior, but I have also heard women talk the same way, I believe both behaviors are inappropriate, and untrue,
    When you Women that say Men are evil, you are now putting a man like me that supports equal right for everyone YOU PUSH ME RIGHT UP ON A FENCE,
    JUST THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING,
    because if a gender WAR were to break out, I would be on the Men’s side because it seem women would just throw me under the bus for being a man without giving me a chance.

    HUMANISM IS THE ONLY WAY WE WILL MAKE PROGRESS

    I stabbed a guy because the girl I was dating said he rapped her, and I though it was the right things to do, BUT I STOPPED believing her after her brother told me that she fucked his friend wile I was in jail for her, the girl was 19 the boy was 14, that also. She admitted it was true right away.

    but I don’t blame this on women, I made the stupid choice, and she is just a cruel human.

    Violence is stupid and it solves nothing.

    ever heard of Anxiety, fear of something that hasn’t happened

    My anxieties are that women want to take over the powerful position and use them to oppress men and MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES MEN have been making for the last 2000+ years but some of us men have been trying to stop and reverse the damage for the last century.

  10. Sandy says:

    This is absolutely delusional.

    First world feminism is not about equality, it’s about elevating women. Feminists don’t want equality where it doesn’t suit them- I don’t recall any feminists complaining that they don’t have to sign up for the draft or kick up a stink about the lack of women in sanitation jobs, for example.

    The 1 in 3 and 1 in 5 statistics are blatantly false and have been disproved by both feminist like RAINN and anti-feminist organisations. Please stop spreading lies, okay?

    Feminists do NOT help male victims of rape or domestic abuse. That is a blatant lie. Ever heard of the Duluth model? Or the Jezebel comment sections in that article about how their members attacked their husbands and boyfriends, congratulating themselves about it, always with the excuse that their significant other was winding them up or “asking for it”? Or how about in India, where feminist groups successfully opposed a law that would make rape gender-neutral. As it is in India, only men can be charged with rape. This, of course, further ensures that your overblown rape statistics are false.

    Women are NOT paid less for the same jobs as men. That’s illegal, you utter fool. If you’re being paid less than your male co-worker for the same job with the same qualifications, you can sue.

    You’re both delusional and a complete idiot. This is why second-wave feminists loathe the third wave. Appropriating the struggles of third-world women to justify whining about women in video games and how you can’t hit your boyfriend. Absolutely repulsive.

  11. Frankie says:

    It shouldn’t be called feminism.. it should be called equalism. Feminism is indeed a weapon.

  12. the_mouse_ says:

    You did not convincingly answer the question of why we need feminism. Sex should not be a reason for discriminating against anyone, and all people should be equal in the eyes of the law. This is one of a variety of tenets of Humanism. Feminism, however, is antithetical to this position. You and feminism posit that we live in a “Patriarchy” where men are oppressors and women are oppressed. Can you give some examples of this supposed “Patriarchy”? Please read the rest of my reply before you do.

    The commonly touted statistic of women earning 77 (or sometimes 73) cents per dollar a man makes has been widely shown as false. The study compared all full-time workers, so a man who works two full time jobs and a woman who works one are still given equal weight. Men are more likely to work the maximum amount of hours that were found, and women more likely to work the least. Once you correct for these factors, the differences disappear. And if you actually compare samples of men and women working the exact same position, qualifications, and hours worked, women actually make slightly MORE these days.

    You claim statistics of 1/5, 1/3, and 9/10 for rape, sexual abuse, and rape percentage. All of these are false, with the 1/5 being the most often discussed, as well as the most frequently refuted. (Check the description of this video’s description for some real data: http://youtu.be/gekyg7yy4Dc) In reality, reliable statistics (such as that the FBI finds 27 rapes per 100k people per year) suggest rape is a very rare crime, only slightly less frequent than murder. I bring this up because the use of these false but frequently cited statistics is usually a marker of someone who believe in the fiction of “rape culture”. In the US, rape is punished by long prison sentences, people’s careers and reputations are ruined or jeopardized by a mere accusation of rape, and a huge number of colleges provide mandatory rape-awareness lectures. Where is this “rape culture” I keep hearing about?

    “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.” I can’t tell if this speaks to the profundity of your indoctrination, or of your ignorance. An ideology that believe women are victims of oppression at the hands of men will suppress information that suggests women are just as frequently perpetrators as they are victims; that should be fairly obvious. There is no doubt that women’s rights are a noble cause to champion for in countries where women do not have them. So that brings up my question:

    Mohadesa, where do you live? There are many countries where women do not have equal rights, but there is a great deal about your ideology that makes me doubt you live in one of them. Care to share?

    1. Myles says:

      Well put

  13. Jay says:

    “Feminism is inherently humanist.” So call it humanism. Call it gender equalism. The only reason it’s called feminism is because when it was started, Females were literally considered second class citizens. However, today, over 60% of college graduates are women, and men are treated like they are all potential rapists. Specifically men. In reality, we’re all potential rapists, male or female, let’s just be glad the majority of us don’t reach that potential. Sure, women still have problems that only women have…but men also have problems that only men have, and many of them are similar to the problems women have. The idea that one gender should be promoted in ANY way, for ANYTHING, over another gender is heinous.

    Odds are you actually agreed with the majority of what I just said…so you should understand that regardless of what Feminism is TO YOU, it’s something different to the rest of the world, and that’s why the movement gets so much flack, even when the intentions of many of it’s members are pure like yours. It’s time to end feminism completely and just focus on gender equality and ending gender stereotypes and prejudice completely. Because you know what? I want my daughter to live in a world that doesn’t look down on her in her career because she’s a woman…and I want my son to live in a world where he doesn’t get looked down upon as a parent because he is a man. I want them to live in a world where my daughter can be tough, play baseball, and make as much money as she’s worth…and I want my son to live in a world where he can be a stay at home dad if he wants to, where he can show his feelings, enjoy a good ‘chick flick’ and where he doesn’t get called a babysitter when he’s taking care of his own kids.

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