Educate Yourself

In her first article for the Observer, Aoife Campbell writes a response to a recent article published in the most recent issue of MSU’s The Print titled “Women could rule the world, if they didn’t hate each other”. 

In The Print’s recent edition appeared the article “Women could rule the world if they didn’t hate each other” – a fascinating take on female subordination, by Lyndsey Farrell, page 23. In it, through personal anecdotes, pop psychology and a quote from the popular ‘Mean Girls’ flick, the author attempts to pursue us that the key to the failure of the women’s movement lies in our inability to respect each other, to celebrate a universal sisterhood. According to the piece, in the “Girl’s World” which we, the female gender, operate, girls relish in spreading “disgusting rumours” about their best friends, flippantly re-arrange their Bebo top 16 on a fight-by-week basis and divulge dis-trust of their comrades to other mutual, spineless, little girls.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only reader to find this piece offensive, lazy and ill-informed. At best it’s a weak pastiche of a Kevin Myers article. Perhaps most worrying however, is unlike the sexist propaganda that Myers churns out of his anti-women gut,  this piece was probably printed with little thought of its potential offensive and with little debate, discussion, or up-roar in its subsequent publishing. The fact that such a sexist, derogatory and dismissive article could be published in our university paper is unfortunately, quite reflective of our male dominated union. With women holding just three of the eleven executive positions and with no women’s officer, Maynooth Student’s Union could almost be forgiven for attempting to solve the puzzle of why women have failed in their fight for equality in this embarrassing piece of journalism.

 Aside from general stereotyping and clear confusion about the objectives of Feminism, the rhetoric in the piece is dangerous. The author suggests that male objectification of women is borne from women themselves labelling each other as “easy targets” for derogatory terms. Ending the piece with:

“How do women expect respect from men when they can’t respect each other?”

The author paints a view of male sexist behaviour as, essentially, the responsibility of women themselves. The objectification and lack of respect denoted to women in our society occurs, in fact, because structural and societal inequalities construct a society where women are subordinate to their male counterparts. A particular version of masculinity (no, not a fatalistic characteristic which affects all human beings with male sex organs) performed by certain groups of men, has succeed in producing and re-producing a world which achieves power through the subordination of others. This subordination is harmful to all other: sexualities, ethnicities and genders which are not valorised by the version of masculinity in charge.

Gender inequality is a structural fact. On a political level women make up just 15% of Dail Éireann whilst earning 17% less than men (The 50:50 group, 2010). In terms of violence and exploitation 1 in 5 women worldwide will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime (WHO Report, 1997). While in Ireland 1 in 7 women compared to 1 in 17 men will experience domestic violence (E.S.R.I. 2005). To argue that women themselves are responsible for their own inequalities is absurd. Such an argument neglects interrogation of the entire patriarchal system, and, at a very basic level, neglects the fact that women lack the power to contribute in the structuring of society in the first place. In addition, such a conviction promotes the idea that men, who objectify women, whether structurally or through exploitation, are void of any responsibility. That we, as women, must earn the respect of men, that it is not a basic, human right.

The only aroma of reality in the piece presents itself when the author overcomes her bewilderment and decides that the answer to female oppression can be found in the chronic insecurity of women and girls. Whilst obviously I dispute the labelling of any group of people as being wholly afflicted with a singular characteristic, the issue of female insecurity is worth discussion. The author of course, continuing to be baffled by her own disappointing sex, fails to interrogate why it occurs at all.

From a very young age with the gifting to young girls of frilly dresses, Disney princesses, lip-gloss and Barbie, the value and worth of the female gender is conferred as being found almost exclusively in one’s physical appearance. Continuing into adulthood with a persistent version of girlhood been valorised in the mass media (conforming to just one body type, ethnicity and class) women are educated that failing to adhere to particular physical attributes will render them invisible. Combined with the fact that they are already invisible in politics and are subsequently silent on decisions which affect them (such as reproductive rights) it’s quite clear why the female gender may potentially experience anxiety throughout their lives.  This anxiety however, is a mere consequence, not a contribution to the process of gender inequality.

Unfortunately, alongside its failure to interrogate the social aspects of gender construction, the piece subsequently fails to award either gender the respect of autonomy or choice. It confers just two genders the merit of discussion (ignoring a person’s autonomy to identify as being a different gender than the one society assigned them). The eerie murmurs of biological determinism at work in the author’s construction of a “Girl’s World” are damaging to any experience of any gender. The piece describes how boys deal with conflict and friendship in a much more straightforward and ‘efficient’ fashion. So we are to assume that in a “Boy’s World” unlike the overemotional and whimsical carry on in the female universe, emotions and insecurity are traded in for good old fashioned common sense.  While depression and suicide remain a huge problem particularly for young men, a light hearted praise for a version of masculinity which avoids emotional displays is especially obnoxious, particularly in a university paper.

It is, in reality, contributions to the media such as this – void of any empirical truth, intellectual interrogation or basic understanding of power structures, which assist in the functioning of a society characterised by inequality. I’m no journalist but when the conviction of an article is based on anecdotal populist tripe, quotes from a chick flick and a clear misinterpretation (or lack of reading) of Simone de Beauvoir, the embarrassment in my membership to the union who produced it swells up until I am forced to respond.

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39 thoughts on “Educate Yourself

  1. It’s funny because with your article you just proved Lyndsey’s point. Instead of speaking to the girl and discussing opinions you write an article not only insulting her intelligence but being harsh and to be quite simple about it mean. Congratulations point well proven there campbell.

    • I think you misunderstood the thrust of Aoife’s argument, Tom. She’s not advocating for some happy-clappy utopia where no woman criticises another. She points out – with fairly irrefutable statistics – the structural inequalities in our society that foster the kind of misogynistic, easy commentary exemplified by the article. While The Print’s article dealt in generalisations, this one deals in specifics. It’s an absolutely fair critique.

      • No I didn’t at all. On a social level yes fair enough sexist and chauvinistic views and problems arise constantly. You have women doing the same job as men getting paid less, men objectifying women and everything else that goes on. However on a rights basis men and women are equal. They have a right to education, right to job and the list goes on. Lyndsey wrote the article light heartedly as it is clearly an opinion piece based around generalisations and personal experiences, and in fairness much of what she said carries a huge amount of truth. Look at the young girl in America who killed herself as a result of bullying from girls who were jealous of her. I can give countless examples where girls are vindicitve and horrible to one another. I’m not saying that all women are like this and nor was Lyndsey which is clearly stated. “Not all women, thankfully. There are a handful of sane girls scattered around the place otherwise I would have lost faith in the female gender a long time ago.” There was no need for Aoife to attack Lyndsey’s person as Aoife did in her article calling her lazy and ill-informed. Even your reply to my comment and comment on Lyndsey’s piece was polite and to the point and voiced your opinion as I am doing here. Aoife went above putting her opinion against Lyndsey and instead attacked Lyndsey’s piece and her herself as a person.

    • Seems you missed the point yourself there, Tom. Aoife states quite clearly throughout the article that she’s referring to Lyndsey’s published piece and not to Lyndsey herself. Also, since Lyndsey went to the trouble of getting this piece published publicly in the university newspaper, it can hardly be considered “harsh” or “mean” of Aoife to issue a public (and well-informed and -written) reply, especially given that Lyndsey, in attacking women as a whole, was also implicitly attacking Aoife herself, who has the right to defend herself.

      Also, by stating that Aoife’s supposed attacking of Lyndsey just proves Lyndsey’s point, then you are also implying that you believe the stereotypical nonsense that Lyndsey was spouting, which would make you guilty of generalising 50% of the population. You claim below that the article was supposed to be “light-hearted, ” which raises a similar issue to that raised in Paudi’s recent article on Unilad regarding exactly how far ‘banter’ can be taken before it becomes damaging. In this case, Aoife took exception to being completely and publicly misrepresented by Lyndsey, and has a right to express her opinion to that effect.

      Finally, you can’t claim one tragic bullying case, and the “countless examples of girls being horrible and vindictive,” to be ‘proof’ of the truth of Lyndsey’s argument while disregarding the equal number of such cases involving males.

  2. While the original article is wrong to present sexism as the ‘responsibility’ of women, this piece veers worryingly close at times to projecting the opposite fallacy – it’s perfectly reasonable to suggest that sexual equality is the responsibility of both the male and female populations, rather than picking one to take the blame. And while it’s not explicitly referred to the Print article, would it be fair to say that conflicting notions of feminism (there are a lot of different schools of feminist thought, not all of which are compatible with each other) create an atmosphere of misinformation that make it harder for the general movement to achieve its goals? One of the most telling quotes in the article for me was the author’s belief that feminism ‘seemed a bit too bias for [her].’

  3. Tom, I did not attack Lyndsey’s person at any stage. I responded to an article which an adult attending my University wrote, which I felt was lazy, ill-informed and dangerous. The fact we are both women is irrelevant. You have greatly missed the point of each of my arguments on equality if you feel that this validates the original articles’ thesis.

    • You may have not intended to insult her but it certainly comes across quite harsh toward the author, Lyndsey. I’m not validating either article as to be honest I disagree with a lot of feminism and I disagree with any chauvinistic views too. I believe that both sexes are equal and that the social problems that are there are down to ignorance but the same social aspects that effect women effect men as well. The main difference is that most women are more willing to discuss there problems where as a lot, not all, of men can feel intimidated and embarrassed by similar issues. Also the article is an OPINION piece and is not to be taken as a thesis but as an author’s interpretation of the issue based on her own experiences with other women. Maybe you haven’t had the same issues but I don’t see the need to follow up on article that is someones personal approach and is obviously meant to be taken light heartedly as I have already said.

  4. Lyndsey’s article was clearly written as a witty and light hearted article as Tom said. I’m sure it wasn’t written to cause any offense.

  5. My feature is harsh against points made in the original piece because I strongly disagree with them. That’s journalism frankly. If you voice your opinion in a paper which thousands will read you must expect to have some negative and positive responses (much like I will receive for my piece) It isn’t good enough to say that it was meant light heartedly, sexism and gender inequality are not light-hearted subjects. I find it strange that you continuously use her name, I used it just once in the article to point readers in the direction of her article. I did not use it subsequently because my article was not about criticizing her, it was about criticizing the points she made. As i said, that’s journalism.

    • That may be the case but your title itself is insulting implying that she is uneducated in the field. Also why not use her name she is the author of the opposing article. Quite frankly in the use of the words lazy and ill-informed etc that you used to describe the piece you are in fact insulting the writer. If you look in journalistic history and in some of the worlds largest publications when such words are used in the same context a writer in your position would be deemed to being highly critical of the writer instead of the piece. As for the seriousness of these issues if we can’t laugh at a problem and take it as it is then you become bitter about it and then nothing will get resolved as it will be one bitter person against the next. I am not insulting your piece as your piece shows valid and accurate statistics that display social inequalities between men and women. I simply feel that you ripped into the author too much rather than writing an opposing piece. If I have come across as insulting it is simply because I believe that you can write opposingly without being insulting as that is not journalism!!

  6. I find it odd that this particular thread of criticism is resting purely on my apparent ill-treatment of the author. As ive already said I was criticizing the points she made, not her as an individual. I think it’s worth noting that, this is a university. A university paper, it is not a primary school book report. It’s real life, and in real life if you articulate points about a certain (sensitive) issue in a publication, people will respond to you!

  7. I agree with neither article but they are both opinion pieces at the end of the day and should be treated as such.. Though I do commend both authors for being strong minded, female writers who clearly have the ambition to put themselves out there for media commentators.

    • There’s a good point here in that traditionally the % of contributers both to this blog and The Print has been dire, and female participation in both should be welcome. I’ve been every bit as guilty as the lads here in the past with other ventures, but it’s great to see women writing ON women for a change. Lots of articles *about* women in The Spoke and The Print over the years, but very few by them!

      • Should be said the S.O crowd are doing great lately however, really turned the focus onto these issues. Bravo.

  8. Pingback: Beyond the Quota | The Student Observer

  9. The article in the Print was clearly a light-hearted, opinion piece. Since when are people’s opinion’s lazy? And to say that it’s ‘ill-informed and dangerous’ is actually hilarious. This is something that goes on every day of the week. It is, sadly, the way most women are towards each other. Not all women, most. If Lyndsey’s article was ‘sexist, derogatory and dismissive’, as you put it, then it wouldnt have been printed. What gives you the right to say what should be printed and what shouldnt? It was a well written piece that gave a light-hearted opinion on a problem that exists all over the world, and probably always will. Lyndsey was stating her OPINION on the issue. If you don’t agree with her thats fine, but for you to turn around and call her opinion an ’embarrassing piece of journalism’ just backs up the point made in her article. Lighten up.

  10. Woah! Have we all calmed down now? I’m glad my article has caused discussion for the topic, but c’mon lads, it’s an opinion piece!
    I’m not even gonna lie, I only wrote the article because we needed more articles for that section of the paper 😛 As I have stated in the article, I’m not a feminist. And the reason I feel it is too bias for me is because feminism, **IN MY OPINION**, still leans towards a preferred gender. I BELIEVE, that everyone should be treated equally, and so prefer to see myself as a humanist.
    Aoife clearly shows strong views towards feminism, and fair play to her for voicing her views. The title of her article, however, is interesting to say the least, considering I got a 1.2 in my essay on Feminism focusing on ‘The Second Sex’ by Simone de Beauvoir. So I think it’s fair to say that I am quite educated on the topic! Being honest, I just think she didn’t read my article as it was intended to be read.
    In general, I tend to discuss things in a light-hearted fashion, and thought that it would be refreshing for a woman to look at this particular topic in a less serious and less defensive way. Clearly, some people aren’t ready to look at it in this way, and that’s totally fine. I never once said that women are wholly responsible for sexism in society, what I said was they are not totally innocent. I have every respect for women who have fought for our equal rights, and am actually defending them at the end of the article.
    As for commenting on my use of the film Mean Girls, Tina Fey, the screenplay writer for the film, has said in several interviews that the film was made as a direct response and representation to how young women IN GENERAL treat each other in today’s society, and is inspired by the book ‘Queen Bees and Wannabes’. I also felt more people could relate to it as not everyone is familiar with the writings of Beauvoir or the impressive statistics that Aoife showed in her article. And let’s be honest, it’s a great film!
    At the end of the day, Aoife doesn’t agree with me, and I’m pretty sure she’s not the only one. My article is based on experiences that I have had throughout my life, and as stated in an earlier comment, looks at the generalisation of the topic. It wasn’t written with the intention to offend anyone, or to cause a miniature war via The Student Observer! I’m not gonna sit here making sarcastic comments and slate her as a person, as some of you feel she did to me. Because that would just be proving the point of my article wouldn’t it? Keep reading The Print guys 😀

  11. “What I want to know is did it ever occur to women that the reason a guy might objectify a girl could be because they themselves have given her the title of an easy target?”

    Do people genuinely not see an issue with this article?

    Even if it was written as a “witty and light hearted” piece, statements like the above can’t go unchallenged. It doesn’t seem particularly witty to me, I’m all for lighthearted features in College papers (I’ve migrated out to Belfield IT where we have The College Turbain to balance the Tribune), but I don’t think this is a shining example.

    Also, I love some of the responses above. The “You’ve proven her right by having a go at her” stuff. What if I, or a male student, wrote the above response article? Can a woman not respond to the piece without being accused of somehow proving the authors point? Letting the sisterhood down by highlighting the faults of the article eh?

    The college paper has come on leaps and bounds. Hell, the writer of the piece in question contributed some very good content to this issue, but people have to bear in mind that if they write pieces like this, which make outrageous statements like above, people are going to have a go. It reminds me a bit of the fallout from the pure horseshit that was printed in The Print following events at the Department of Finance two years ago. The paper is always improving, and huge credit is due there, but still folks.

    I should say in my three years in NUIM I was lynched a few times in the letter pages of The Spoke and then The Print. I don’t think the piece above qualifies as a ‘personal attack’, and I’d hope the original author doesn’t see it as one. If you believe in something, stand up for it and open debate like what has happened here. Well done to the Observer.

    • Well said, frankly a little shocked by the venom being directed towards this article. Reminds me of the feminism debate in the college a couple of weeks ago, at which the opposition’s argument basically consisted of a mixture of “But domestic violence was so much worse two hundred years ago” and “Banter!” and they still only lost by a few votes.

  12. Now I’m going to put an idea out there. Feminism these days is an extremist movement. Why? Because ‘true’ feminists, and I know quite a few and have read a lot of articles written by feminists, treat men precisely in a way that they themselves do not want to be treated. They generalise and discriminate against men. I find this terrible and in the developed countries women get a fair shot. I’ve been through enough interviews to know that if you are competent and confident you may even get an upper hand for being a woman. I also find it ridiculous that feminists want the benefits of being treated as a man while most refuse to face up to the responsibilities that come with that and when they want an easy way out they claim being a woman and hope it excuses all. Each gender has pluses or minuses. Proportions of men and women across all industries cannot be equal. It is scientifically proven that women’s brain is wired differently from men’s. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

    Frankly, I believe feminism movement is outdated. Women have rights. Now it’s a manner of actually using them well. A matter of not being lazy (the word of the day, isn’t it?) and actually fighting for our place in the world. No man expects a career to be handed to them. They work for in. Now, we can work for it too. That’s what feminism won us. It gave us an opportunity. How we use it is our business.
    As for respect, yes a basic level of not pushing anyone off a hill has been granted. But the high level of respect has to be earned. I’m not going to respect someone’s views if they sound like they’re quoting failblog all the time. Intelligence, competence and experience grants true respect. People are not held in high regard in society because human rights tell you to treat everyone with respect. They are held in high regard because they have proven themselves. Regardless of gender.
    As for domestic abuse… That’s an issue. A big one. Men go violent more often. Women are afraid to speak up. But I would love to see statistics for the issue that include mental abuse at home. However it would probably be quite problematic to compile them.

    To conclude, from where I stand pure feminism creates unnecessary tension between genders because people continuously try to find gender discrimination even when there isn’t any . The world isn’t perfect but in our society people discriminate against people and not gender. 21st century calls for an equal rights movement.

    • “Because ‘true’ feminists, and I know quite a few and have read a lot of articles written by feminists, treat men precisely in a way that they themselves do not want to be treated.”

      That’s completely wrong. Feminism is the belief in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes. Some of my best friends are feminists, as is my mother, as is my other half, as am I for that matter and a are many of my male friends. Feminism is not about victimising men in the slightest, rather it strives towards the equality of the genders. So many Irish feminists, in campaigns and groups like RAG, Choice Ireland and the IFN have come out in support of other marginalised groups in the past, including *shock horror* oppressed men. Feminism has nothing to do with hating men.

      “Frankly, I believe feminism movement is outdated. Women have rights. ”

      Women have some rights, which were hard won, but just like the LGBT movement and others they have some way to go yet to equality. For feminists, there are massive issues around patriarchy, around shocking levels of sexual assault in this country, around abortion which are fights that go on. It’s nowhere near time for feminists to put the banners under the stairs. Did you see the statistics in Aoife’s article re: pay and political representation? ‘All humans are equal, but some are more equal than others!’

      “. I also find it ridiculous that feminists want the benefits of being treated as a man while most refuse to face up to the responsibilities that come with that and when they want an easy way out they claim being a woman and hope it excuses all”

      Do ‘they’ do that, really? Maybe we just know different feminists (there is, afterall, loads of them 😉 )

      ” The world isn’t perfect but in our society people discriminate against people and not gender. 21st century calls for an equal rights movement.”

      This all comes down to the very structure of society, it’s an issue of capitalism and its an issue of class. Any movement towards equality recognises womens equality as a crucial step along the way. You can’t achieve real equality without LGBTQ rights, womens rights, childrens rights, migrants rights and the like all being won in the process. Feminism IS a part of the equal rights movement. As James Connolly wrote over 100 years ago, the worker is the slave of society and the female worker the slave of that slave.

      On the subject of the great man, imagine than. A feminist with a moustache and a pair of balls. We come in all shapes and sizes us feminists 😉

      • Sorry but women, by law & constitution, have equal rights to men. They receive education and in Ireland it is a statistic that women in many cases receive a higher level of education then men. They can own their own home, car, run their own buiness etc etc etc

        Hell just look at the amount of women that have held positions of power and influence in this country. For the past 21 years a woman has been the President of Ireland. The current Attorney General of this country is a woman. Within politics, Mary Harney, Mary O’Rourke, Mary Hannafin, Frances Fitzgerald, Joan Burton, Mary Lou McDonald and many more. Sonia O’Sullivan & Derval O’Rourke who have represented this country at a world and olympic level in athletics. Norah Casey an extremely successfull businesswoman and Dragon on the Dragons Den. The president of IT Blanchardstown is a woman.

        On a more international level. Hilary Clinton US Secretary of State arguably the 2nd most powerfull person in the US, the current President of Argentina, the Chancellor of Germany, the current Irish EU commissioner. The head of the IMF is a woman which within the current economic climate is probably one of the most important people in the world.

        Yes in some countries womens rights do not exist what so ever but don’t say they have some rights when you look at the above. As for representation, more women apply and get out there meet the people suggest new ideas as has been done for 100’s of years and they will have the same 50% chance that a man would have.

        On pay it’s always going to be an issue but there a plenty of women in the workforce that do the same job as a male of equal education, knowledge and experience who get paid more.

        Much of modern day feminism still follows traditional ideals which don’t apply in 2012 for many countries around the world. Recognise development and change that HAS happened. Otherwise how can I list all those women who hold incredible seats of power and influence people across the globe if they did not recieve equal rights?

  13. Okay, My comment here is going to be “offensive, lazy and ill-informed”, although hopefully not so much the former. But given the nature of this article, that will not be an easy task.
    After reading Lyndseys article, I actually found myself finding the aforementioned (I love that word) Quote more applicable to this response. If you critically read your own piece Aoife, and then Lyndseys you will find that you have taken small pieces of her “light hearted discussion” and given them a sense of Grandeur in your own article that they weren’t given in Lyndseys, her quote from mean girls; which was both contemporary and easily relatable to modern students, is but one sentence to humorously culminate her point, it occupied two clear sections in your own response. Lets try to prioritize relevance people 🙂

    One thing i found particularly humorous was this,

    “From a very young age with the gifting to young girls of frilly dresses, Disney princesses, lip-gloss and Barbie, the value and worth of the female gender is conferred as being found almost exclusively in one’s physical appearance.”

    When my three year old cousin was asked, “What would you like for Christmas?”, She replied gleefully “A kitchen!”. “But why Mia?” replied her feminism inclined Mother , “Because I like to cook!” said Mia with a face that can only be discribed as “DUUUUHHHH”.

    My point is, maybe, just maybe. Small girls are given lip-gloss and frilly dresses because those girls that ask for them may intact, wait for it, (If you are feminist please divert your gaze)… Like them?… At an age that it is very difficult to perceive social media, children tend to ask Santy for presents that they themselves have chosen. And just as the Girly girl will get a dress, the athletically minded girl will get a football, the academically minded girl will get a microscope and so forth.
    And for arguments sake;
    The fashion sensitive boy will get a cardigan, the athletically minded boy will get a football and the academically minded boy will get a telescope ( i know, equality sucks!)

    And as regards to your “Statistics”, I have three simple points.

    1) Did you know: 87% of statistics are made up?

    2) If you did believe in equality, would you not perhaps be of the opinion that as it is the 21st century, maybe there are less women in those given jobs than men because those particular men were just better suited for the job? Not because they were Male, but simply because they worked hard and deserved it. Honestly, from what I’ve seen, if a woman works hard and has the talent, she can do anything, and the same goes for a man.

    3) i will finish with a quotation form my 6th year english teacher to her belligerent class:

    “Just because you use the word Melancholy, you don’t get an A”

  14. You know what would be cool? If the people commenting on here with their oh-so-interesting thoughts on how feminism discriminates against men and blah blah understood any of the basic concept of feminism. Or if they read anything written by a feminist ever. Or if they took a look at the world around them for like 5 minutes.

    Here’s a good place to start: ‘What Is Male Privilege?’ http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/03/11/faq-what-is-male-privilege/

  15. I think some may be missing the point of what has been argued. The extensive list that Tom has provided certainly proves one point, that women do theoretically have equal rights before the law etc. However, the situation is far more nuanced than that.

    If it is the case that equal rights has been a blanket success, then how does this argument account for, unequal rates of pay, male TD candidates being selected over like you have rightly pointed out ‘better educated’ and qualified female candidates in the 2011 elections, overall representation in the political or industrial sphere, the funding allocated for charities etc.

    What is most important here is that there is a continuing discussion on the topic and I congratulate all involved in voicing their opinions, in what has been for the most part a calm debate, that will hopefully serve to inform and educate people and perhaps ultimately challenge the inequalities addressed.

  16. Everyone seems to bring up the whole issue of equal pay.

    YES according to article 23 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a person and I quote, “without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.”

    Does this happen all the time NO
    Is it right that a man be paid more for the same work NO
    Is it right that a woman be paid more for the same work NO

    It happens both ways so to say that equal pay is a feminist issue is quite frankly idiotic. There a cases everywhere where men are paid or women are paid more. If it is such an issue then march to your bosses desk and whack the UDHR on his/her desk and if you get fired well go march to your nearest politician or UN representing office or whatever your nearest service is to help in this matter. Fair enough, it may occur that more women suffer from this then men but it can’t be localised to the majority. An inequality must be examined to account for all people (majority and minority alike), otherwise the rights of the man, that is getting paid less than the woman doing the same job, are being witheld.

    As for the political representation, you could argue and discuss it for days. From the list I gave it is clear that women are present in the political field and that they can be very successfull in it. If more women want to get in and represent then get up and do it. We do afterall live in a democracy where the people get to vote. Fair enough the political parties get to choose who goes up for election. Women have managed to get over that hurdle, again check the list, so why can’t more. Prove yourself against all others male or female and prove yourself to be the outright best person for the job and hopefully you will get it.

    At the end of the day feminism like all other movements, ideals and opinions wll never fully be accepted by everyone or fully understood as we are human and we will question things and we will ask what is right and what is wrong and then we ourselves will develop our own opinion and we will deem what is right or wrong for ourselves within our own situation.

    The fight for womens rights in this country is not needed…. the rights are there in black and white. I will admit that there are scenarios where the rights need to be enforced and re-iterated… to the narrowminded boss that dishes out unequal pay for the same job or the party leader that doesn’t select a candidate because she’s a woman and any other scenario where it arises.

    I mean all movements LGBTQ, Womens, Childrens and all others, are obsolete or in some senses pointless. Why should we be fighting for the rights of individual social groupings. To make a real difference and the only way to make a remote difference is to do once more what the UDHR stands for……. the fight for and mainteanence of Human Rights as a whole. Fight for the surpressed woman, the tortured gay man, lesbian, transgender person, fight for the people of the third world and less wealthy countries of the world who come into our countries and who suffer horific abuse and denial of rights. Fight for your neighbour, the man or woman on the street. Rather then dealing with the one real issue which is Human Rights we, the human race, have complicated it and made it into these tiny little sub-issues which confuse and annoy so many thus leaving them land on deaf ears. All that happens is what has happened here. I am guilty of it and so is everyone. Everyone posting tonight wants to live in a world where we can all live happy, fulfilled lives with nothing to worry about. Will that happen? Probably not. Someone, somwhere will find a reason for conflict because equilibrium proves to monotonous for the human mind. We are not evolved enough or enlightened enough to realise this, well, not all of us anyway (not saying that I am). Even then, as i said above it still could not be fully accepted or understood.

    It’s funny because I only posted out of annoyance to the thought that one writer was insulting another, rather then properly analysing what was said. Both authors, Lyndsey & Aoife, made decent points that are both true and that effect people and within the context of their articles effect women in particular. However, and this is the last thing I will say about both authors or at least one, Aoifes piece is more of an article on its own than one critiquing Lyndsey’s as she doesn’t address the same isssues. Rather she criticises Lyndsey and her style in which she wrote the article and proceeds to give her own opinion on Femism and Feministic views rather than comparing and contrasting them.

    I am sorry if I came across as ignorant or insulting but like anybody sometimes your emotions get the better of you, that or you have typed so fast that by the time you have realised what you have said, it has already been posted. Anyway a wise person suggested that we all should go for a drink and maybe with the exception of a heated discussion it mighn’t be a bad idea. Not even 2 weeks back to college and something like this happens. God I miss the days when you could sit and play with your Action Man or your Barbie or your telescope. Life was less complicated.

  17. No child remains unaffected by social constructs of gender and most children in the west are targetted by gender-based advertising. A little girl may ‘want’ girlie toys and enjoy playing with them, but this is not because she is organically drawn to a particular gender prop. It is because she identifies with the gender props she has been conditioned to identify with. Judith Butler, among others, has done extensive work to illustrate the inorganic nature of gender identity. Thus, it is perfectly valid to argue that these props are based on a broader agenda; in the case of girls, infantilism and sexualisation. Toy manufacturers aim at parents, who buy toys, before children. The flogging of Bratz dolls or toy guns is an appeal to the vision of their child a parent is conditioned to have – my pretty ickle daughter or my manly son. This is rarely intended. But it should not be dismissed.

    As a woman, I find it mildly offensive that my legal rights (in the West) should be presented to me as something I ought to be grateful for. I am not grateful. I expect to have equal rights in law, jobs and family life. The truth is that the laws which have not yet been turned in my favour – reproductive rights, namely – galls me much more, just as it is rather pitiful to suggest to, for example, the LGBT community or the migrant community that being legally ‘allowed’ to express affection in public or remain in the country is ‘equality’ enough. It really does smack of ‘you got the vote, what more do you want?’

    The main point of Aoife’s attack on complacency towards Feminism is that, laws or no laws, the problem lies in culture. A culture which objectifies women, encourages them to write ‘light hearted’ and broad-sweeping denigrations of their own sex, to identify with an objectifying gaze, and to keep disturbingly shtum on the existence of sex trafficking, ‘Pro-life’ bigotry, and a national gender stereotype marooned somewhere between the Virgin Mary and Miss UCD. These issues do exist and we are not making them up for the sake of a sulky tantrum. The assumption that all in society is organic, natural, godsent and completely healthy is the concept that is outdated – not feminism.

  18. I find this response very unfair to an opinion piece. As has been stated above, the words and title used read like a big fat “You’re Wrong!” to the original author. I, for one was unaware a person’s personal opinion on such a complex and varying issue could be so labelled in such a way

    I have my disaggreements with this arcticle but in a lot of ways it does address some major issues with the original. It would have been nice to read your response written in a way more respectful to the original author

    • Cool fact: if you put THIS IS MY OPINION in really big letters at the top of your article then anyone who criticises it is a big meanie because hey it’s just an opinion and opinions can’t be wrong or offensive or dangerous (unless it’s the opinion that someone else’s opinion is wrong (whoa)).

  19. Hi S,

    I do feel the other was wrong. Yes, that her opinion in her opinion piece was wrong, so I responded. That’s allowed in journalism. In fact, that’s allowed in real life. It’s not my job to applaud everybody’s published opinion. I was respectful,I think you may be getting confused about what denotes being dis-respectful, pointing out statistically and otherwise how somebody is wrong, moreover, how they have dealt with a very serious issue in an insensitive manner is not disrespectful. We weren’t sitting in the pub having a fist fight, it’s journalism, if you publish your opinion than it’s up for public discussion.

    • An opinion is neither right or wrong, its an OPINION. There are many people who agree with Lyndsey’s article, and I am sure there are many who disagree with her too. But for you to say that she is ‘wrong’ is being dis-respectful, as she was writing about her own opinion on the subject. Which was done in a light-hearted, easy to read, article. You responded, which you are fully entitled to do, but you did it in a way that was seen, by some, to be offensive towards her, hence the above comments. It’s clear that you don’t agree with Lyndsey’s opinion, which is fine. But just because you don’t agree with her that doesnt make her wrong. And it doesnt make you right either.

  20. Sounds to me like your looking for something to be offended by. Surely this is only a fun piece seeing as mean girls has been quoted. Mountains out of molehills.

    You would be better served complaining to the newspaper rather than whinging on the internet.

    • Just like anti-racists are only making a mountain out of a molehill with golliwogs. Sure they’re toys, it’s a bit of fun!

      And when Kevin Myers denies that human trafficking exists to the degree it does in a ‘light hearted’ article about how much women complain, we should just chuckle at that too. Sure it’s only a cod!

      As for ‘whinging on the the internet’ – this is an online newspaper.

      Also…your comment is an example of whinging on the internet. Pot, kettle, etc.

  21. If someone disagrees with an opinion, especially with one that has been purposefully placed in the public eye, one if perfectly allowed, and should be encouraged to articulate their problems. Sure aren’t all of you on here disagreeing with Aoife’s article doing the same thing?
    If you disagree with the response article at least try to disagree with the argument contained rather than bitching that somebody voiced their opinion.

  22. Pingback: “I Don’t Mean To Nitpick, But Women’s Issues Still Matter” | The Student Observer

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