There is a little ‘anecdote’ I first came across in the 1980’s which is very interesting. I’ve found a version online:
A young man and his father are involved in a terrible car accident. Tragically, the father dies soon after.
When the young man arrives at the emergency ward, the surgeon says: “I cannot operate on this young man … he is my son!”
How can this be so?
Note: the man who died really was the young man’s father!
I am not sure now, in 2015, how powerful this is. But it really was in the 1980s and revealed to everyone to whom this was, carefully and innocently, asked how much internalised sexism they held, myself included.
Now … a couple of years back at dinner my smooch and I ran this past her intelligent and precocious 12 year old, raised I should add, with a goodly amount of feminism herself. I wish I had recorded her answers. She pondered and paused and worked it out. She contemplated solutions involving adoption, gay marriage and transgendered folk. But she did not, as all of us in the 1980s did not, come to the clear and obvious solution – the surgeon is a woman.
This moment was an epiphany for me, and though only anecdotal, spoke volumes of how, even though the causes of gay and transgender awareness and rights have progressed, the invisible and structural discrimination against women remains. And there are of course oodles of statistics to prove this.
I always try to look to the future, which is why I am interested in the ideas of our youth and which is why this occasion floored me more than a little. And recently, I have seen a group of (mostly cisgender and heterosexual) youth come to this conclusion about the most important ‘asset’ girls and boys have in being attractive: girls – their body, and boys – fashion. This deserves a mega frowny face for sure.
And so, yes, for these and many, many other reasons we need feminism.