In an online conversation last week, a new Mum friend mentioned feminsim as one of the ideologies they covered in the Sociology course she did at University. I teased “Tell me how you relate to feminism, using 25 words or less.” The word count was soon forgotten and we traded ideas. She told me she thinks the feminism you hear about here in Australian cities is the feminism of middle class white women and has little place in many communities.
I admitted to the fact that I can’t get past the biological differences between men and women. “We’re never going to be the same.” I wrote, “So what is it that we want?”
To my surprise (I’m always a little scared of not being feminist enough) she fully agreed with this. She said she thinks “basic decency” needs to come first.
“Well said.” I wrote, impressed beyond exclamation marks or emoticons
Today, in the Sydney Morning Herald, was an article about Scarlett Johanssen and some comments she had made about political correctness and how it effects the business of being an actor. She had accepted a role as a trans gender person and the backlash on social media was immediate. It was felt that a trans-gender person should be in the role. Despite initially arguing her own case, Johansssen did eventually step down from the role.
Johanssen is, undoubtedly, a privileged white female and clearly has the added advantage of being rather beautiful. But it’s hard to comment on the role allocation unless you know who else applied, right? Do people at her level even have to apply or do they get called up and offered roles because they’re big names already?
Apparently Johanssen also played a role in an adaptation of a Japanese mangga cartoon and was similarly criticised. It is weird to put a caucasian in that role. I remember, when I was in high school, being shown an old BBC production of Othello in which Othello was played by a white man who was painted black. He looked a terrible kind of blue colour and one couldn’t help wondering if his paint would rub off on other actors or surfaces. Imagine if they tried to paint a black man white and got him to play Hamlet?
Here we have transgender people against the world. Asians against caucasians. And we have a female actor defending her right to act- ie; to play the part of people/creatures other than herself.
Today, also, I read that the newest James Bond movie is going to star a black woman in the lead role. That’s just confusing. I’m sorry. How come the brand can change him to female but a transgernder person can’t be played by somebody who identifies as female?
In my post about Feminism I suggested that Feminism has been a major disruption of society. But today I started reading a book about Melbourne in the late 1800s and I realised that there have been lots of major disruptions to society for lots of different reasons. The Industrial Revolution brought unprecedented wealth and opportunity to the middle classes. Tradesmen became the new rich and the old rich didn’t know how to deal with them. Technology has changed our interactions and our society massively. Look at phones, banking, aeroplanes, etc. The list goes on. Feminism is just one more group in society shuffling for a new position.
I think my friend is right. Like all of western society, we are being too individualistic. The rights of the one are superceding our common element – our humanity. Human rights are for humans. We are so split into different identities that we clash over almost everything. Embrace your identity. But embrace others too.
Perhaps we should start a movement called the Push Up movement. Every person who wants to be part of the movement tries to help people other than themselves push up. Help a colleague attain a raise or a promotion. Be a mentor for a younger friend. Recommend somebody who’s having a tough time. And then, when they succeed, celebrate it on social media #Push Up. The idea almost makes me want to get onto social media.