Wednesday, 30 July 2014

How to Cure a Feminist: A Decade(ish) On

I think it's interesting to read old articles to see how much society has changed since their publication. Here's a curious one from American Maxim magazine in 2003 entitled 'How to Cure a Feminist'. It's a pretty hilarious read, if you can ignore the fact that this was once a serious article (though later widely ridiculed). The cigar advertisement fittingly reinforces the archaic and patriarchal image that the article conjures up.
(Click to enlarge/read text)
So, how far have we actually progressed from here? It's hard to measure. The culprit magazine is still in business, which isn't a good start in my opinion, as well as other 'lads mags' here in the UK still flying off the shelves albeit covered with 'modesty bags' in Co-op stores. We still have 'Page-Three-Girls' (which seems so incongruous in our so-called 'modern' age, don't you think?), apart from in Ireland (though they are still barely clothed - but progress is progress so I'm not complaining!), and limited access to the Page Three website.

I mean, I'm up for a laugh and all, but this 'Laddism' isn't much fun for anyone really - even for these lads who are living in an embarrassing facade where 'Cool Girl' exists. People are kidding themselves if they think this is a 'harmless bit of fun', because anything prominent and established in any part of society has inevitable ramifications to attitudes, and therefore affects pretty much all aspects of society. Everything is relevant.
Moreover, there was the blog 'Girl with a one track mind', which arguably opened people's eyes to the double standards involved in male and female sexuality. There is now more funding for studies into the extent of FGM cases in the UK (read declaration here). We also have slightly more female representation in Parliament.

In terms of the general attitude regarding gender equality, I can't really say what it was like before 2003 - I would've only been about 8 years old. I can say that at least now though, we have the influence of some great activists and writers such as Caitlin Moran and the people behind The Everyday Sexism Project to name just a few of them.

Of course, we must've had similar figures a decade ago too - after all, it was the 00's not the dark ages. However, from what I can gather, many of them were charmingly named 'killjoys' or 'battleaxes' -  regarded as nothing more than 'fat' and 'bitter' women who were envious of the beautiful, socially-pleasing majority. How lovely.

Today, many successful women or female activists, such as Malala Yousafzai, perhaps receive more positive publicity and support. This is true if we, of course, ignore the Daily Mail Online (in particular their obsession with Lady Gaga's weight gain, bikini bodies, and/or toned midriffs [oh the abundance of midriffs!]).

Is progress speedy? Probably not. But good things take time - and effort.

What do you think has been a great step forward in the last decade?

P.S. If you still aren't convinced about the societal poison that is the Daily Mail - just know that it supported Mussolini and Hitler during the fascist 1930's. Just sayin' ;) x