A recent discussion surrounding an article published by the Guardian surrounding expectant mothers and health tourism on my University feminist discussion page evolved into a full debate surrounding socialism, feminism and the need for a societal revolution. Whilst I was completely alienated by this discussion through my lack of left wing allegiance and knowledge of the subject, it caused me to consider the prevalence of left wing and somewhat extreme discussion within the group.
Another discussion surrounding a Telegraph article that branded David Cameron one of the 'Top Male Feminists of 2013' (Do such individuals exist? That is for another time...) received responses that aligned drone use with feminism: apparently, for some, you can no longer be classed as a feminist unless you oppose the use of droning. Much was made of this comment, with many agreeing and disagreeing, yet the ferocious nature of the discussion was the most striking element. Talk of current and past wars ensued, with the conversation quickly turning ideological as opposed to specifically gendered. An uncomfortable feeling arose from this discussion: where does one stand within the society if one does not share the political beliefs, if they hold any at all, of the majority? Have we reached a point where you have to go through a checklist before you can call yourself a feminist?
Another voiced her disapproval of non-vegetarian feminism, making it clear that it is her personal stance and does not wish to judge those who do not follow the same strand as her. Whilst her opinions are her own, this instance also contributed to the viewpoint that feminism has become so abstract and specific that it is coming across as a members-only group. The door is open to everyone, yet when you're inside the air is thick with tension.
Does this not cause alienation and a rupture within the group? When entering the group I entered under the pretence that we were all fighting for equality, the base target of feminism. However over the last couple of months it has become evident that the theoretical side of feminism seems to be taking over this base target. Those feminists who are unsure where their political allegiances lie, like myself, are sure to feel alienated by this onslaught of left wing and socialist thought, of which many may strongly disagree with or simply be ambivalent to. Many of us do not wish for a revolution to occur in Britain to force gender, racial and sexual equality, yet the constant discussion of such things furthers the image of feminism as a branch of extremist thought, as opposed to women fighting for what is rightfully theirs: EQUALITY.
With the recent discussion in ELLE magazine of a need to 'rebrand' feminism, it has become evident that feminism does need a rebrand of sorts. It needs to be marketed not as an extreme theoretical and complicated school of thought, but a simple concept that everyone can come to understand. A want for gender equality is not very complicated, so why are we making it that way?