Dear Lauren Southern, you NEED feminism. (You just don't know why.)
Lauren Southern, a young woman whose "I don't need feminism because ... " photo went viral, has released a video follow-up explaining her stance against feminism. Her video, called "Girl Destroys Feminism In 3 Minutes," is on Facebook and all over the internet. But not only does she not destroy feminism in 3 minutes, Lauren Southern IS a feminist. Here’s why.
1. She's Concerned With The Well-Being Of Boys And Men
Lauren states that men, too, are rape victims and quotes statistics about men’s experience of violence. And she's absolutely right! These statistics are important. Rape and violence against men does occur, and this is unacceptable to feminists. Lauren ignores the structural and contextual basis for this because, as feminists know, it's because of patriarchy and because of male violence that men also experience violence.
Feminism is about an unjust, unfair and unequal system — a system that promotes and glamorizes male violence as a form of control and domination, not only of girls and women but also boys and men. Real feminists want the system we live in to change. So, in this way, when feminists fight for women's equality, they're fighting for these boys and men as well. All victims of patriarchy and a society dominated by historical versions of male reality matter equally.
Feminists love men and are deeply concerned about what Lauren Southern speaks of — men’s right to live without abuse and violence. Feminists are fighting a system, and not for the world domination of women. Feminists are working for men, so that they aren't told that they can't cry or that they should act violently. Feminists are teaching that stereotypically "female" qualities, like empathy and caring, matter too and are beneficial to society.
2. She Thinks Equality Means Being The Same
We are not all the same, and fair does not mean equal. So when we think equal means the same, we're actually being very unfair. When feminists talk about equality with men, they aren't suggesting that women act the same as men. Rather, they wish to see a world where male and female differences have equal valie.
Legal equality comes from male reality, where male behavior and experience sets the norm that society compares women to. So when women are equal before the law, what you're actually saying is that women are the same as men.
Here’s a great example I borrow from one of my mentors, Dr. Jan Hill: Pregnancy is only experienced by women, so what this means is that we're not the same as men. We're different. We can get pregnant, give birth, breastfed etc. But under Lauren’s definition of equality, society treats women as if they're in male bodies, and therefore ignores their needs and rights when they're denied abortion, maternity leave or public breastfeeding. The basic human needs of a healthy fertile female body are completely ignored, all because men who made the laws can't experience what it is to have woman’s body.
3. She Doesn't Know Her Laws And Perceives Women's Benefits That Aren't Real
Lauren says that, as a woman, she can experience privileges like having custody of her children and some other nonsense. But perhaps she's not aware that the United States constitution doesn't directly grant the rights of American citizenship to women, and lawmakers still haven't passed the Equal Rights Amendment introduced in 1923. This means that women in the U.S. don't have the stated constitutional right to hold property, have custody of their children, receive pay, or pursue life, liberty and happiness like their male counterparts. Although men allow them to do so for now, it's not a stated right of women.
When it comes down to it, Lauren Southern you ARE a feminist; you just don’t know it! You want what all feminists want — a more peaceful, less violent, less exploitive, fair and equal world for both men and women. To achieve this, we need feminists and the important work that they do. Misogynist men are the same men who are abusing boys and young men by telling them to “man up” and not act like a “b*tch”. Don’t let them convince you that feminism is about man-hating or having benefits over the men we love.