The myth of new feminism
New feminism. Everybody will probably have heard these divine words before. It seems that desperate women with too much time on their hands want to apply the technique of putting something which has gone out of the spotlights into a new package and claiming it has been improved revolutionary. You could compare this new feminism to commercial products. Every month, a new and improved Mr Proper is launched which will clean the bathroom even better. You might ask yourself Do we really need these new products? The same goes for new feminism. Do we really need it?
Feminism is, in the minds of most women, a movement which will put women on the same level as men. These women dream of a fantasy world where they construct buildings together with their male counterparts, where women get to sit on top during sexual intercourse and where they get to become president. This is theoretically speaking, a noble ideal to strive for, but it just is not attainable in reality.
First of all, men do not want to take a break every time a woman breaks one of her fake nails. Women have certain innate characteristics which will always prevent them from being a helpful contribution to certain male areas . The straining labour in areas like building construction or dockworking just is not suited for every women. There may very well be some women which are capable of performing the same heavy duties as men, but this is a minority. Letting just any woman work in these areas will result in loss of productivity and, in the worst-case scenario, in economic recession (even a hard-core feminist like Camille Paglia acknowledges this). One simply cannot alter the biological gap in strength between males and females.
This does not mean, however, that feminism should be done away with. There are, indeed, many situations in which women are still deprived of what is rightfully theirs. It is, for instance, a known fact that women often are paid less than their male colleagues for doing the same amount of work. It is also much easier for a man to climb the ladder of success in this men s world. This is caused by an innate and unconscious fear of men for women and thus a problem of mentality which will not be solved overnight. I therefore think it is a necessity that women keep fighting to be deemed equal. However, most feminists should first learn to realise that women should be treated equally but that they can never be identical to men. Claiming that women have the same physical abilities as men is hilarious but claiming that they should not be given the same opportunities is pretentious. Women should be given equal chances to prove themselves because no-one will deny that they are equally or even more capable of doing things which are nowadays still done by men.
However, the question remains whether we need this new feminism to accomplish equality among men and women. First of all, one should ask oneself whether this new feminism is really as new as its followers claim it to be. The main difference between the old and the new form of feminism is that the new feminism is said to be appealing to women with different backgrounds, contrary to its predecessor. Is this really true? Did feminism only appeal to the wealthy aristocratic women when it was in its infancy? No. Feminism is of all times and during its existence, different kinds of women have felt that they were being rated inferior to men. Why should only the wealthy women feel this sentiment? They never went off to work in the first place. No, it were the rather poor women working in factories that saw men taking the better jobs right from under their nose. Consequently, this claim falls short.
The conclusion that can be drawn from this is that feminism is a noble thing to strive for. Nevertheless, there is no such thing as new feminism, there never was and never will be new feminism. It is simply a slightly adapted form of the old feminism. It has been adapted to the changed economic and political situation but not to such a degree that you can speak of a new feminism, merely a variation. It is regrettable that the topic of feminism has slightly gone out of the spotlights. However, altering it a little and claiming it to be a revolutionary new feminism is not the way to get feminism back into the spotlights.