I still haven’t forgotten how I was branded an “anti-feminist” not because I burn my bras and rallied on the streets telling feminists to fuck off. Even more so not because I petitioned on the local government to torn down monuments of heroines and replace them with the ones bearing a phallic symbol like the obelisk. Trust me, I didn’t and would never want to.
Calling Taylor Swift Ugly
But guess what? I was labeled to be against feminism because I said Taylor Swift looks uglier now than she was back then. Okay, maybe I was being stereotypical for preferring Taylor Swift having long curly golden hair, not that I hate women with short hair and think they are all ugly. Maybe I just particularly like Swift’s curly-hair days so much that I can’t seem to accept her new bleached, cropped hairstyle.
Well, it’s not just the hair, really.
I mean, she just changed a lot in a way that shattered that sweet innocent girl-in-sparkly-dress-and-boots country singer that I came to love in the first place. And if you have been an avid Swifty fan, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Anyway, this is my opinion about her because 1.) I have opinions and I’m not afraid to voice them out (for heaven’s sake this is why I have blogs for), 2.) I was a Taylor Swift fan which still entitles me to differentiate her looks from what she was and what she is now, 3.) I have preferences and my own standards of beauty that 4.) I was just absolutely honest about what and how I really think about Swift.
What does Taylor Swift symbolize in the first place? Does she represent the whole of the female sex so much so that it is diabolical to offend her (or the gender she represents) by saying she is not beautiful? And ever since when did being ugly steps on the rights of women to equality?
How, in all this, did I just become an anti-feminist? In what way did I offend my own sex? And what is being a feminist really about?
Which leads me to my next point:
What really is feminism?
So finally, I pulled myself together and thought about it deeply. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe the reason why I was termed an anti-feminist is because there is a new definition of feminism creeping its way to topple down all four waves of feminism.
If you’re not a Literature or English major and have never stumbled across the four waves of feminism (that’s still highly likely even if you claim to be a feminist), let me shortly elaborate to you the intricacies of the four waves of feminism so we’ll be in equal footing. After all, that is what we, feminists, all craved and fight for–EQUALITY.
So let us be in a singular understanding.
Okay, so the first wave of feminists were just more on the political aspect which basically sought to give women equal political rights as men enjoy (like voting rights). This movement started around the late 19th century and continued over the course of the early 20th century.
And no, it’s not true that the first-wave feminists were the “amazon type”, you know, the ones going after overthrowing men, as the general notion goes.
The second wave of feminism began in the 1960s and rowed on a larger ocean of issues where overstepping women’s rights is involved, like sexuality, family, and workplace. This is probably the start of actually giving attention to sexual abuse, domestic violence, (marital rape, if you must add) and stuff like that. The highlight of it all, though, is the equal rights with men in terms of wages and positions.
The “girlie feminism” is what unconventional feminists like Martha Rampton call the third wave of feminism. The third wavers defy categorization by putting labels on things and people so they don’t settle even on being called feminists.
Their movement is to shatter gender barriers that the second wave feminists fail to tear down. Since voting rights are established for women and more female workers get into public office or hold white collar positions, there’s not much to rally on the streets about that anymore. Or so they think.
So, they work on less important (sarcasm intended) but equally brutal discrimination against women–more on rape issues and to some, women’s abortion rights (disregarding the fact that the unborn children those women who would decide to get abortion could have been girls as well with just as much human rights as their supposed mothers enjoy).
You know what? I don’t have a quickie definition for the fourth wavers. They go along with everything else from technology to post-modern lifestyle–oh what’s the word for it? Complicated.
The fourth-wave feminists are whatever they want to define themselves.
Their movement is combined with all other words with “ism” there is–racism, ageism, classism, ableism, fascism… well, you get the idea. This kind of feminist movement doesn’t want to stick with fighting for “just women” and decided to bring along its other equally exploited and desecrated neighbors of “minority.”
So much for breaking barriers, third wavers.
But what if the “feminists” evolving now are those who find the slightest bit of derision a call for war, not only between sexes, but within it? One that is founded in the fabric of teenage sensitivity and emotionally-unstable fangirls surging the tide.
The thing about this emerging new wave of feminists is that it craves attention and authority in epic proportions. Political correctness is no longer enough. If you say something as bad as recognizing a fault done by one particular person (make no mistake about mentioning a celebrity or a celebrity itself doing the act), you will be branded for life to be someone who is against a movement that’s about protecting and fighting for rights.
The fifth wave of feminists, as I would now call them, would have to be the people holding power by pointing out those who don’t go with their thwarted “principles” exaggerating a fault, allowing too much leniency towards what the members of “minorities” do even if it’s immoral, but condemns people outside the majority for the slightest humanly tendency such as name-calling. Debate is even out of the question, with the sense of anything-you-say-will-be-held-against-you threatens or pays people their silence.
These people are what Lupe Fiasco said the “truth is what they say is.”
So going back to calling Swift ugly, the question begs to be asked, what is beauty anyway?
Some would say (of course),
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
This written-to-death line about beauty strikes as the passive-aggressive statement that as cliched and redundant this may sound, beauty is really THAT subjective. For instance, I just googled in the word “beauty” which unsurprisingly directed me to roughly a thousand results.
I’m kidding, it actually says “about 2,770,000,000 results.”
That just says how varied our views and opinions are about beauty. We all have some kind of perception and standards to beauty. And these concepts change, too. Like how fair-skinned people are generally attractive in the Orient while tanning is the definition of sophistication and charm in the West. Not necessarily the best adjectives I could think of, but you get the point.
The truth of the matter is if we sum up all cultures’ definition and concept of beauty, none would fit the word. It is not even dignified enough that women always feel the need to be pretty.
Feminism is throwing in the towel at the idea that to be feminine means to be pretty and if you’re called ugly, you’re out of that gender categorization. It is rather convincing the latent truth that to be feminine doesn’t mean you have to be beautiful. You just have to be you and let other people deal with it. Or not. Either way, you shouldn’t let others tell you off for expressing your thoughts and opinion about something that you either find attractive or not.
If I say, oh look the pigeon’s feather is not colorful so I think it looks uglier than a parrot, would you brand me as an anti-animal rights’ activist?
So many things have changed (largely for the better) ever since feminism was born hundred years ago. More than anything, I am happy to be a feminist and my preference and opinion about a particular celebrity and what beauty means to me doesn’t change the fact that I am not against women’s rights.
Let’s move on.