By Annie Lane
(The following video is censored, but still may be considered not safe for work.)
Feminism comes in many shapes and sizes, though if you ask author Karin Agness of the Time Magazine article Seriously? This Is What Passes for Feminism in America it appears that it should only ever manifest itself in the form of an 11-year-old girl who was shot in the head, as was the case for Malala Yousafzai.
Thankfully, Yousafzai survived the senseless and depraved attack on her life by the Taliban in 2012, and has gone on to be the voice for women’s rights in Pakistan. And the world is better because of her.
But according to Agness, American girls, such as the ones who appeared in the controversial FCKH8 video that went viral last week, don’t even graze the surface of what it means to be a Feminist. Instead, they are merely some part of a cheap marketing ploy to sell t-shirts:
The latest antic? Apparel company FCKH8 posted a video of young girls dressed as princesses using the F-word and gesturing with their middle fingers to try to bring attention to sexism. It’s uncomfortable to watch—not in the sense that it causes viewers to rethink long-held beliefs, but because it’s a cheap ploy. Toward the end, two adults appear hawking “This is what a feminist looks like” and “Girls just want to have fun-damental rights” t-shirts. The video ends with a young girl saying, “Swear jar? I don’t give a f**k.” This isn’t courageous or graceful.
Interesting. Because I would think that attacking and diminishing any message about the suffering of women is the very definition of cowardly and graceless. But she goes on:
The battles that women and girls like Malala are fighting each and every day make the so-called “war on women” in America appear laughable.
What? So because women in the United States have it better than those in Pakistan we should all clink our sewing needles together in celebration? Not every woman needs to be shot in the head to overcome abuses and thrive. They are not competing with Yousafzai; rather they are rallying as her sisters to fight against the injustices they face on their own turf. Needless to say, I’m disappointed that Time Magazine would print such drivel. But Agness’ shortsighted response speaks to a much more visceral issue: women in the United States simply can’t unite.
Someone once told me, “You know, if you women ever came together and agreed on anything, we men would all be f**ked.”
I’ve often thought the same. From the Ann Romneys to the Sarah Palins of the world, there are women who have either sat idly by the side of their anti-women husbands or have actively engaged in anti-women policies themselves. They are our downfall.
I got several responses from family and friends regarding the video. Most enjoyed it, but a few thought it was preaching to the choir. Another was put off by the inappropriate language.
“I wouldn’t want my 9-year-old daughter to talk like that.”
Here’s the thing: Why is it that a few f-bombs bother us more than the actual issues facing women today? Income inequality. Gender inequality. Rape. Abuse. These facts of life for some women should be raising our ire more than some foul language. In fact, they should be considered the foul language.
So getting back to the video. Despite all the f-bombs, this isn’t about offensive language in the slightest. It’s about the far more atrocious affront to women, and the desire of many to create change. Feminism can come in packages that are classy or crass, profound or plain. The delivery is unimportant as long as the messages keep coming.