No, I did not find the video by t-shirt retailer FCKH8.com of little girls dropping F bombs for feminism hilarious, nor did I nod my head in agreement with its message. Topically I found it offensive; these girls, babes really, cursing like sailors and force-fed words about topics they could not possibly understand.
On a deeper level, it just made me sad that this blatant exploitation of children is somehow supposed to be powerful and good for women. It also struck me at how bad we are failing our girls by stressing victimhood narratives over thriving through self-empowerment.
The video trots out familiar false canards on equal pay for equal work, the very disputed statistic of one in five women becoming a sexual assault victim and an overall theme of overt hostility against women by men who want them as whores in the bedrooms but unseen in the boardroom.
We hear this sentiment often as part of the War on Women strategy cynically conceived by politicians to make women believe they are victims of a structural sexism that keeps them down and the only way out is by voting a certain way.
How does this help anybody other than politicians fishing for votes? Drilling in to someone’s head over and over that the world is hopelessly tilted against them does nothing to encourage that person to look at themselves and how they can better their situation. Instead it creates a victimhood/savior mentality that steers people towards dependence on others and a bitter sort of entitlement that they are owed something.
Boiling down complicated issues to political talking points like this is so divisive as it pits one group against another (in this case men and women). For example on equal pay, you commonly hear that women make 23% less than men for the same work. Sounds crappy and unfair right? Yet if you dig in to the studies, as this Forbes.com article does , you’ll see many factors are involved like women cutting back on hours after giving birth and men choosing higher paying career majors like math and science rather than the humanities and education paths women tend to follow. Take these things out of the equation and the pay gap shrinks dramatically and when comparing single women to single men it almost disappears.
Sexual assault against women is another very serious subject mentioned in the video and the topic deserves scrutiny. There is a nasty and untrue narrative being formed around it that cuts right to the heart of all that is wrong with grievance politics. Somehow we are supposed to believe that 21st century America is steeped in rape culture, where any man could rape any woman at any time and any place. This is not America today and promoting it as such trivializes the horrendous suffering going in parts of the world where women live in daily fear of being raped and/or killed. Like Iraq, where the systemic rape of Yazidi women by ISIS is causing mass suicides, or India where human sex trafficking is at endemic levels or Rotherham, England where hundreds, if not thousands of young girls were routinely gang raped and peddled for sex trafficking for over 15 years and which local authorities knew of but DID NOTHING about for fear of being called racist because the perpetrators were Muslim men.
Promoting sexual assault hysteria also does a great disservice to men, who are routinely being unfairly accused of sex crimes. And our girls too, who are being taught a poisoned mindset that promotes helplessness, as if there is nothing they can do to prevent men from doing bad things to them because, you see it’s baked in to our misogynist society that they will. This is corrosive and can lead to very unwise choices later in life that truly will put them in dangerous situations. This also leads to an us (women) vs them (men) mentality that can lead some who are actually in abusive relationships to imprison themselves with warped thing. You can read more about that in a previous post, Abuse Victims & Self Empowerment.
Yes, some women in the U.S. experience sexism in the workforce and yes of course, heinous acts of rape and abuse happen every day. This doesn’t mean though, that all women at all times are facing the same odds of being discriminated against, sexually assaulted and abused. Nor that all men are equally apt to be an aggressor.
We can do better than this, can’t we? Women in America today live in an unprecedented era of freedom, wealth, power and safety. Some more than others of course but our standard of living is the envy of the world, where people literally die trying to come here and experience it!
A narrative focused on all that’s bad and scary creates despair and shrinks a person’s world down to a limited and grievance based existence. New laws will only drive us further apart and won’t help anyone but trial lawyers and politicians.
So much better it would be to concentrate on what’s good and to look for ways to offer encouragement. Be a mentor to someone at your job, volunteer in a domestic abuse shelter, donate to a sex trafficking prevention group, create a foundation that focuses on strengthening opportunities for women in the workforce, be good role models for the young people in your life.
Empowerment starts with a spark of hope that there is a way up and out. You can be that hope to somebody and enlarge both your worlds. Or, you can make videos with little girls dropping f bombs and hope someone cares.