FCKH8: Feminism Done Wrong by Carina Vo

FCKH8, a for-profit organization driven by a number of social causes, recently released a video entitled “F-BOMBS FOR FEMINISM: Potty Mouthed Princesses Use Bad Word For Good Cause”, which featured a handful of young girls doing just that: dropping “f-bombs” in the name of feminism, instead calling phrases like “be pretty” and “pay inequality” the real “bad words”.

For a long time, the word “feminism” has been considered an “f-bomb” itself – many men and women alike have been driven away by so-called “crazy, angry feminists,” who are usually perceived as “extremist” women, especially those who refuse to shave the parts of the body that women are “supposed to” shave. The fear that “extreme feminists” instill in the unlabeled part of the community leads people to refuse to identify as feminist.

And this video, most likely contrary to what FKCH8’s initial aim was, only served to perpetuate the discomfort many people associate with feminism. The girls of “F-BOMBS FOR FEMINISM” are not only offending the general public by repeatedly using harsh profanity, but also the feminist community for exploiting young girls for the sake of attention. And these girls aren’t just young – they appear to be around ages 5 to 7, which only makes it that much more alarming.

“The big statistic that 1 out of 5 women are sexually assaulted or raped is something society seems to find less offensive than a little four letter word and we love how these girls draw attention to that imbalance,” FCKH8 explains via Facebook. “Instead of washing these girls’ mouths out with soap, maybe society needs to clean up its act.”

At the end of the video, viewers are reminded that FCKH8 is trying to make money off of these girls and t-shirts with feminist phrases on them. Of the $15 made off of each shirt, $5 will be donated to unspecified “feminist causes.”

This is not what spreading feminism should look like. Spreading the idea of equality for men and women should not employ exploitation or cause discomfort. The organization is capitalizing off of a serious movement in a rather silly way. It seems that first, people need to be educated as to what feminism really is: social, economic, and political equality for men and women, no matter what race, sexuality, or gender identification.

Feminism, not only as a movement but as an idea, has been misconceived or simply denounced on a large scale. This in itself shows that feminism still needs to be around, not to yell at or cause discomfort for people who are uneducated about it, but to encourage people to embrace gender equality. Phrases like “Kill all men!” are not the way to go, although comments such as these are often seen. At the same time, women who wish to be submissive in their personal relationships should not be shamed – feminism focuses on large-scale discrimination, and personal preferences should be left to personal decision.

Of course, there will always be those who refuse to accept feminism and forever embrace the patriarchy. Organizations and blogs such as A Voice For Men have even been created to combat feminism – they claim that “Feminism is a hate movement.” Conventions for “men’s rights” have even been held. It’s a little difficult for women, especially feminists, not to roll their eyes at such a thing, considering that men, especially white men, already have all of the rights they need.

It’s a two-way street: feminists need to explain themselves more thoroughly and carefully, while non-feminists need to be open to feminism. Feminists need to remember that not all men are rapist pigs and that women are not the only ones who face abuse, while non-feminists need to remember that women face sexism every day, and that needs to change. Feminists need to include all races and sexualities and gender identifications in their movement, while non-feminists need to support this movement.

Emma Watson’s #HeForShe campaign, for example, has elicited plenty of attention – positive attention. While some feminists have complained that the campaign is “making feminism about men”, it looks more like it is opening its arms to men willing to be educated on and accepting and receptive to feminism. Although it is a little disheartening that a feminist campaign must reach out to men for men to pay attention, it’s working. On the campaign’s official site, the pledge reads, “Gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue that requires my participation. I commit to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls.”

The Everyday Sexism Project focuses on extending a hand to women, allowing them to catalog their experiences of sexism, no matter how “outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalized”. The project’s website, everydaysexism.com, serves as a feed on which women’s written instances of sexism appear with the option of their real names or pseudonyms. Appropriately, replies to these posts are not allowed, which further frees women of any sort of direct online judgment. Yet the website can be shared with anyone, and the realism of the testimonies is much more believable and acceptable than having five year-olds scream obscenities.

Women-centered organizations, such as PEO (a philanthropic organization to encourage women’s education) and even MLEC’s own Girls Who Code club, focus on furthering women in an essentially male-dominated world. It is tricky to say that such groups encourage gender equality, considering that these clubs only focus on women, but women need to be bolstered to the same standing as men. Think of it this way: boy scouts were “no girls allowed” first, so girls were only fair in creating a “no boys allowed” club, although there are still plenty of things boy scouts can do that girl scouts aren’t allowed to. Perhaps when groups like boy scouts and girl scouts integrate and are allowed to do the same activities – archery and selling cookies – we’ll see gender equality.

Remember: feminism is not the Godzilla or King Kong or Syfy mega monster of society. It is not supposed to instill fear in or kill non-feminists. Feminism is something that anyone can support and actively encourage.

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