If the past couple of years has taught us anything, it is that the current wave of feminism has become downright damaging to women.
The embarrassing decline of feminism could not have been any clearer than in Grace Tame’s confected performance with the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, what the commentary both in support and condemnation of her seems to have missed is that her timing and demeanour were carefully designed to achieve one thing and one thing only: to keep the spotlight firmly on herself – even when her year of special treatment was over (and, sadly, at the expense of her successor).
Supporters will say that Ms Tame did a wonderful thing by drawing attention to her cause. How being disrespectful to a Prime Minister advances the cause of child victims of predatory grooming and sexual abuse is not entirely clear, so perhaps they would care to list the changes Ms Tame has brought about for abused children? If they cannot, it is because there are none to speak of, but this does not seem to bother the luvvies.
I cannot blame anybody for wanting to avoid the issue of child sexual abuse, because small children being molested is a uniquely distressing matter to confront. In contrast, the nebulous and ever-expanding bandwagons of ‘ending gender-based violence’ and ‘calling out the patriarchy’ are much more palatable.
They are also a gateway into the huge, self-perpetuating and well-funded industries of advocacy and consultancy that offer an endless gravy trail of ‘jobs for the girls’, which has become the whole point of modern feminism. As a movement, feminism has become self-indulgent, elitist, and completely obsessed with insisting that the fatuous is extraordinary and that the shallow has hidden depth.
This is bad enough on its own, however the most terrifying betrayal of women comes when you take a critical look at who the so-called feminist movement most lauds, not just in Australia, but around the world. The women feminism cheers the loudest are not the scientists, the successful entrepreneurs, the outstanding athletes, or the multitude of others who have achieved remarkable things – often, against exceptional odds.
No, the women held up as beacons of hope and change for the future of womankind are, almost without exception, those whose only real achievement in life – aside from being suspiciously photogenic – is determinedly wearing the badge of gender-based victimhood at all costs. In instances where they have not experienced actual violence or abuse, they simply create it – hence why ‘unwanted looking’ has become a violation.
Is this what we want our daughters, our sisters, ourselves to aspire to? Do we really want young women to believe that the best way for a woman to get ahead in life is to take on a victim role and see the entire world from that blinkered view? Do we honestly want the next generation to dumb itself down and sell itself short like this? Are we alright with teaching girls that victimhood is a credential – and, it seems – a better one to have than the ability to think deeply and critically?
The perpetually outraged will insist that using victimhood for ‘positive change’ is inspirational and will bang on about how ‘brave’ such women are. If we take a step back from the breathless fawning, the rah-rah cheer-leading, and the spectacularly out of touch sphere that is Twitter, then we are forced to admit a simple truth: it does not take ‘courage’ or ‘bravery’ to ‘speak out’ when you have a ready-made cause wanting to adopt you, an incredibly sympathetic media backing you to the hilt, and legions of politicians waiting to be on your side if they think there might be some advantage in it.
This also raises the question of what, exactly, is the ‘positive change’ that is happening? Realistic and effective responses to addressing violence against women do not seem to be part of the equation, because the preferred feminist approaches of ‘awareness raising’ and ‘cultural change’ have been going on for years with – shock horror! – no apparent impacts on the statistics. It is hard to point to anything more tangible than promotion of the view that the ‘ideal woman’ is one whose value lies in talking about her victimhood and the inferred victimhood of all women.
When we buy into the cult of victimhood, we are also buying into the unspoken notion that women are, deep down, helpless little creatures who need somebody to protect them. Today, that somebody is invariably ‘the state’, but is that really any different to the days when women were seen as needing constant protection by a father, brother, or husband? As a society, we need to get past our fixation with this damaging, insulting role for women and completely change the message.
Our message to the girls and women of the future must be this: one woman can change the course of the world – but that woman, no matter what she has been through, will never need to play the victim-card to do it.
Lillian Andrews holds a Bachelor of Laws and has spent the past 15 years as a researcher, advocate, and volunteer in the field of domestic violence prevention.
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