Feminism is going through some changes. Not long ago people were wondering aloud if feminism wasn’t in need of a name change. From Women’s Lib, to Feminism to …what? From first wave, then second wave to third wave (I’d like to argue I’m a no-wave feminist. Short but influential) before the symbolic tide drew back in people felt a rebrand was in order.
Nothing can fall flat on its face like a rebrand; it usually makes people stubbornly nostalgic for the former brand. No Starburst have passed my lips since Opal Fruits was deemed not good enough and it’s probably only because I lived in Belgium for a while that I am happy to clean with Cif (also Cif cream works like an exfoliator – but for your bath! So less scrubbing). But feminism (like Opal Fruits, sigh) was and is not in need of a rebrand, it needed to listen.
Feminism needed to listen to the trans-community who felt excluded by popular feminist theory, it needed to listen to the women of colour who it was marginalising, it needed to hear what working class women had to say about their lives. Feminism still needs to stop and listen to these communities, I am aware I haven’t even named them all. As Flavia Dzodan put it so succinctly “my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit!”
Feminism needs to listen to women. That’s all self-identified women (I’m using that as the most inclusive term). It doesn’t yet, which is why it’s so frustrating for men to be worrying about whether or not feminists are listening to them. Dude, we are hardly even listening to other women. When feminists don’t fit the feminist bill we can be too quick to look away, to ignore this ‘inconvenience’.
The We Believe You campaign is scraping the surface and creating a platform for all women to be listened to on this subject and I applaud that.
As Mumsnet co-founder Justine Roberts put it: "We simply shouldn't accept that we live in a country where one in 10 women are raped and over one third sexually assaulted....Things are made worse by the feeling among many women that they can't talk about these crimes for fear of being treated unsympathetically, denying them access to practical and emotional support when they need it most.”
#Ididnotreportit because I am a feminist and this doesn’t happen to feminists. #ididnotreportit because I am supposed to be a strong woman who knows her rights. #ididnotreportit because don’t I know worse things are happening to other women every day? #ididnotreportit because I would hate for people to use this as evidence feminists hate men.