COMPETITIVE FEMINISM

I believe myself to be a strong-minded woman. I am guided by traditional values which shape the decisions l make. I work hard, l have ambitions. I provide for myself emotionally, financially and spiritually. Before becoming an NHS nurse, l worked full time as a journalist writing for magazines. During that time l did not regard myself as a feminist, despite having characteristics which clearly defined me as such. I had difficulty embracing the concept of feminism because of what I see now as the prevalence of a competitive form which crowded out other manifestations of feminism.

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The regressive attitudes I was exposed to in the past, and even to this day via competitive feminists, has typically taken the form of  judgmental, critical and intolerant attitudes towards feminists of a different hue. I was commonly viewed as one of ‘those’ women; An anti-feminist who dared to freely celebrate their sexuality and femininity. Some years ago I remember appearing on a panel for Showstudio, interviewed by Lou Stoppard. During my time on the live streamed roundtable discussion, I was berated by my host. The reason? I explained that l enjoy dressing for men’s appreciation as opposed to women; Lou was appalled at my revelation, despite her own tight fitting outfit and heels. I was pointedly excluded by her from her chaired discussions after this point. 

For me, such an attitude, though extreme, is not entirely unusual. I have always enjoyed the company of men, and enjoyed being appreciated physically and intellectually by them just as I may appreciate them.  I do not think this compromises my status as an equal in the company of men or women. The issue here is not the length of my skirt, it is the attitudes of those women who reject other women who do not identify with their self limiting definition of themselves. I champion and embrace diversity; There’s more than one legitimate way for women to express their femininity. Sadly, throughout so many feminist circles today a gang like culture has taken shape, one which coralls women into a narrow definition of feminism.

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Competitive feminists are as regressive as the old-fashioned misogynistic cultures which they protest so adamantly against. The danger in this is that many young women, much like my younger more vulnerable self, will be labelled as non-feminist. From experience, l know such social exclusions leave girls feeling that they are not worthy of support from fellow females because they do not adhere to a set of rules which dictates the mindset they should adopt and uniform they should wear. The modern world should celebrate freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of identity. If we are unable to be ourselves and embrace the very essence of our true character and spirit, because of this flawed perception of feminist ‘freedom’, then what is the point Competitive females believe themselves to be superior and so a new problem emerges; A regressive dictatorship which fails to recognise the beauty in our very uniqueness.

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Much like social class structures, modern feminism appears to promote a hierarchy. Those at the top behave like men and those at the bottom, viewed negatively by the top tier players, ironically enjoy being a woman in the most feminine of senses. Feminism means we can wear makeup and be CEOs. Feminism means we can be soft and command teams of workers as efficiently as any man. Feminism means that we all stand together, men and women, as an equally important component of the same machine. Most importantly equality is not competitive and neither is true feminism.

POSTED BY: MILLY MCMAHON

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