Over the course of the past few weeks, there has been a video floating around social media which I am sure most people have seen.
This is Lauren Southern and she wants you to know why she is not a feminist.
No, this photo is not a joke. This is a photo that Southern posted online and has since received “support” as well as “hate.” The “hate” she has been receiving, she claims, is mostly from feminists who have told her that she does “not know what the word ‘feminism’ means because feminism is actually a movement for equality.” Well, Southern is still not a feminist. And here is why:
Lauren Southern claims that “Third-Wave Feminism is not a movement for equality.” If you are an educated feminist reading this, then you are probably as perplexed as I was at first. But please bear with me. Southern claims that we do “not see equal representation of both genders issues” and that we do “not see feminists complaining about benefits that women have over men in certain situations.”
First of all, I could list the most important issues in regard to equal representation of gender issues right here and now, but I will just list what Southern deemed the most important aspects to address.
1. Approximately 100,000 to 140,000 men are raped in prison, annually.
Yes, this is something to be addressed. Rape culture is alive and prevalent in the United States and in other parts of the world. And the fact that prison rape is not often discussed is a feminist issue.
2. Men make up 80 percent of deaths by suicide.
Suicide is not a problem that is addressed in terms of gender, typically. When someone, anyone, commits suicide, it is a tragic and devastating loss. And the reasons behind why some people choose to commit suicide is not necessarily a feminist issue. (Unless, of course, that it could be due to the standards that men are held to in our society, where mental illness is not something to be spoken about or addressed for fear of appearing “weak” or “un-manly.” Then yes, in that case, it would be a feminist issue.)
3. “Men are objectified, men are raped, men are mistreated, men are held to ridiculously high societal standards.”
Okay. Now here’s the point in the video where I began to lose my patience. Yes, men are objectified, raped, mistreated, and held to high societal standards, just like women. But for her to say that feminists are silent on these issues is baffling.
Frustrated yet? Just wait. Here’s the real kicker:
According to Southern, as a woman, she “will have her rape and assault accusations taken seriously” and she “won’t be laughed at for not being manly enough.” No, but you may be blamed for what you were wearing, drinking, and doing at the time, or told that you were “asking for it.” That is, if anyone actually believes you. And as for your rape accusations being seriously and making it to court? I have news for you. Only seven percent of rapes accusations lead to an arrest, two percent lead to a felony conviction, and only two percent of rapists will spend one day in prison (rainn.org).
Southern also claims that “feminists continue to place this blanket judgement over all men that they are all privileged.” Men have privilege over women just as white people have privilege over minorities. And saying that there is something called “reverse sexism” is the same as saying that “reverse racism” is real.
Yes, at first this video and the argument that Lauren Southern was making (very passionately, might I add) made me absolutely furious. But then I thought about it a bit more and I began to feel sorry for her. To not know what it means to be a feminist and the power behind that label is heart-breaking. It would appear as though Southern feels as though she is privileged. But just because something does not affect you directly does not mean that it is not a real issue.
At no point in the video did Southern mention anything about the necessity of feminism for women in other countries. She only seemed to be concerned with white, American “equality.”
Finally, Southern claimed that she is “not a feminist because I believe that both genders should be treated equally and both their issues should be addressed.” Well, Lauren, so do I. And that is why I am a feminist.