I recently decided that I don’t have the luxury to be a liberal feminist. I honestly don’t understand how any woman does. Because liberal feminism has lost sight of simple fact that male violence against women is global, and endemic. Other women have written about this, so I’m not going to rehash their arguments here. But, if I had to pick a defining characteristic of the people committing violence against women, I’d say they are male humans. With penises. If I were to define the victims, I’d mention the fact that they all possess a vagina. Some people seem to think these facts are unimportant. I don’t: here’s why.
In case you missed it, women are dying
In November 2013, I spent a month volunteering in Rajasthan. At that time, I worked for a big financial company that offered bursaries to people who wished to undertake voluntary work. I wanted go armed with as much knowledge as possible, so I undertook a research project and learned about India. I learnt about the huge numbers of menstruating girls who have no access to sanitary products. I learnt that menstruation is such a source of taboo and shame that girls are kept from school. I learnt that the value placed on female lives is so low, that the population demographic is skewed. I learnt that, since 1985, selection abortion and infanticide has meant that there are 10 million missing girls in India.
Seriously, let’s think about that for a moment. There are currently 8.8 million people living in London. Imagine the whole city, deserted and devoid of life, like a scene in 28 Days Later. That’s how many female lives have been lost. Why? Because they were female, and Indian society culture places a lower value on female lives.
Before we get too smug, and assert that not valuing female lives is an Indian problem, let’s think about Brock Turner. Lest we forget, he’s the unanimously convicted US rapist reported in the media as a champion swimmer, accompanied by a cherubic photo. His victim writes that:
“At the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position. By the way, he’s really good at swimming”.
Why does this matter? Because the media framed this crime as “look, he did a bad thing but seriously, a man’s LIFE could be ruined!” The impact on the woman’s life is minimised, because a man’s life is deemed more valuable. And while it’s fucked up, this view is rampant. The oppressions I’ve outlined happen to women, because they ARE women. The reality of being a woman is not something they can opt out of. Liberal feminism has lost sight of that. So I’ve lost all time for it.