Feminism can be taken too far.

Oh look, it’s time for some controversy.

I’m going to kick this thing off by expressly saying that I respect the basic principles feminism. I believe that everybody should be treated equally, regardless of their gender. Please keep that in mind, and try not to get too offended. In fact, if you offend easily, just stop. Stop now. Go and watch pointless videos on YouTube or mess about on Facebook or whatever it was that you were doing before opening up this page.

So, here we go. Whilst I respect the underlying principles of feminism, there are certain things I absolutely do not understand. I’m aware that not all feminists feel the same about everything, and that some are more hardcore in their beliefs than others. One of these things I don’t understand is feminists’ views on pornography.

As we speak, I’m writing a piece of coursework about feminist legal theory. Whilst researching something, I came across a book by Carol Smart where she doesn’t hold back at all in speaking about feminsit views on porn. I won’t go into massive detail – the book is called Feminism and the Power of Law if you’re super interested in the smallprint – but the basic gist of her views was that pornography objectifies women, and that it’s wrong for women to have to appear in it and do that to themselves. To that, I ask a single question:

What the fuck?

It is in no way anybody else’s place to determine whether another person should do something with their life, whether it’s to be a pornography actor, a stripper or a high court judge. I’ve read plenty of articles in the past where women in professions such as these (not that being a pornographic actor is in any way the same as being a stripper) have expressed how much they enjoy doing it. How it makes them feel empowered, and gives them a sense of self gratification and confidence. In the nicest possible way, Miss (I’m assuming) Smart, you have no right to suggest these women should be ashamed of themselves for what they are doing when you have never tried it yourself. I personally know somebody who has held jobs in this kind of industry, and she loved it. She did not feel objectified or like ‘a piece of meat’ or however you guys phrase it. She loved her job.

To suggest that women shouldn’t have these jobs – aside from being slightly hypocritical anyway (I mean, why should women not be allowed to strip when there are male strippers also?) – brings up the question of where this attitude should end. What is it that you want to achieve? Co-ed public toilets? No female-only salons? A readily available walk-in procedure to have a penis attached somewhere to your body, just because men are allowed one? There’s a limit.

I’ll reiterate that I am not saying feminism is stupid, ignorant, or anything like that. I just think that sometimes it’s taken a little too far.

People rarely realise that it works two ways, too. I could name at least fifteen clothes stores where only female staff are employed for store-front positions. I could name one or two where males are not even allowed onto the shop floor without a female partner escort. Applying feminist theory that women should be treated equally to men, are feminists also arguing that there should be male shop assistants in these stores? That men should be able to wander around Anne Summers at their hearts content? Because that’s what it sounds like. And I’d be willing to bet that those ideas never, ever cross the minds of feminists when they enter these stores. Not that they would ever go into Anne Summers, god forbid they should wear sexy clothes occasionally.

That’s really all I have to say about this. And to feminists, I’ll probably sound like a chauvinistic asshole for writing it. But I’ll defend what I’ve said to the death. I don’t care who you are – you can have your beliefs without putting down another woman’s profession, without spending your life trying to make underwear models ashamed of their work, and without insisting that the totally stunning blonde who works in my local Hollister should wear higher-cut tops… I’ll save that conversations for another post, another time. Feel free to comment, I’ll read them with a mind as open as you read this blog entry. I’m sure I’ll be able to tell to what degree that is.

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