Woke Feminism is Toxic Feminism!

The definition of ‘woke feminism’ is a hard one to explain.

I watched a few videos on YouTube talking about feminism and how it is growing increasingly toxic, one of which I took a lot of points from in this post called Everything Wrong with Woke Culture so check that out and do your own research and reading. 🙂

 

In recent years, there has been a rise in female empowerment in media, whether that be in film, tv shows, books, etc. But that’s not necessarily true…

Bad-ass, empowering, strong and brave women have been in the media for ages. Not as much as we would like but they have been there. These include characters such as Katniss, Black Widow, Mulan (cartoon), The Bride, Ellen Ripley (Alien), Trinity (The Matrix). However, in recent years, there has been a rise in many woman-led main roles, such as Captain Marvel, Ocean’s 8, Wonder Woman, Charlie’s Angels, Birds of Prey, etc. Although I do like a lot of these films, there is a serious issue within most of them regarding ‘woke feminism’.

 

These characters are designed to be powerful, strong warrior like people, but can also be very arrogant and act very entitled and toxic. There isn’t much growth and learning within these characters, too, displaying that women are born skilled and strong and invincible whereas, in real life, that’s definitely not true. We are raised and we grow to be strong and talented and skilled and brave, we aren’t handed that at birth.

But, Shay, they’re just films, not real life!

With my own experiences as evidence, I have always yearned for representation of women and women of colour in the media because as a young girl, growing and vulnerable to insecurities in this society, I needed someone to look up to and use as a tool to encourage myself to be confident in who I am. I think representation of women, of all backgrounds, colours, sexualities, etc, are important, for the reason being that young girls need that! That being said, we need representation of real women. That’s the whole point of this ‘rise in female roles’; it’s to increase representation. But their representations are wrong with this perception women do not need growth and do not need to work hard to earn their skills and rewards. Growth is important! And so is learning.

 

Something I find common in bad portrayals of women is that they can be very arrogant and entitled. How are these traits going to benefit younger girls and even older women in any way? We are not entitled just because we are women. Just because we’re women and demand equality and want to break down the patriarchy does not mean that we should be fed success instantly without working for it or having any reason to earn it. Teaching girls that they are entitled to anything and everything is toxic. There’s a contrast between the old cartoon Mulan and the new live-action Mulan. Old Mulan started off as this girl, who was a little anxious and had empathy and compassion but still strong and built up her confidence and bravery throughout the film whereas this new Mulan starts off straight away as incredibly strong and skilled. Very realistic. This is the same case with Captain Marvel, who barely worked to get where she was and was emotionless and kind of boring.  Yes, they are strong and brave but they’re boring, unrelatable and unrealistic because they’re so superficial and shallow. And it has nothing to do with them being women dominating the screen because Wonder Woman does it well and was a good film with an amazing female character! In general, using the excuse ‘I am a woman’ to explain why a character is so strong or basing her whole personality and motives on the fact she is a woman, or using society as the villain is tiresome. It’s great to hear the encouragement that ‘women can do anything’ since it’s so inspiring but that doesn’t mean we can do EVERYTHING. This can create a negative effect on younger girls and other women. Sometimes this can be done well, but done badly, it just takes us ten steps back in feminism.

 

The women written nowadays aren’t written as if they’re people, they’re written as an agenda to bring down men. That is not feminism. Feminism is not taking down men to lift ourselves up. We demand equality not world domination.  In fact, it’s almost insulting to women watching, seeing that these female characters are only elevated by belittling men as if that’s the only way a female led film can do well. For example, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in The Last Jedi is so condescending and hateful towards men and I understand that there was a need to display her as a strong woman with high power but that’s no reason to bring down a man. He just wanted to help. There is no superior gender, but these movies are making it out to force that. Hermione Granger is another example. The books describe a very dynamic, 3D version of Hermione, who is intelligent, strong but also loving and relies on her friends and is relatable whereas movie Hermione is very perfect and way better than her male peers, and although I still like movie Hermione, I can admit she was hard to connect and relate to.

Yes, there’s nothing wrong with having male villains; sometimes in real life, men are obstacles for women. But these ‘woke feminist’ female characters and movies are so obsessed with trying to take down men as a whole.

 

And when these films with poor female leads don’t do well, or people don’t like them, it’s because they’re sexist. No. If a film is bad, that film is bad. There are so many films with amazing women in that do well, so sexism is not an excuse. I have found that a lot of people find some female characters to be cringey when if a male doing the same thing wouldn’t be and that is sexism and discriminatory but if a character is cringey, arrogant, 2D, entitled, unrealistic and boring, regardless of their gender, that’s a problem with their production and writing not with sexism.

Take Mulan, for example. Why did the cartoon version do so much better than the live action one? Same concept of the character but different execution.

Of course, if an important part of the character for the sake of the story is arrogance and entitlement, etc, then fine, but we want confidence not arrogance and hard work and growth not entitlement. We need dynamic and different characters, not the same superficial archetype every bad-ass female movie has. WE WANT QUALITY NOT JUST “FEMINISM”!

 

I am grateful we have moved far from the ‘damsel in distress’ type ladies like old Disney princesses and the ‘fixer upper’ girls like Laney in She’s All That and Allison in The Breakfast Club but we might be going a bit far off course. Feminism is steering into a bad direction and it’s feeding into the stigma around it. I know SO MANY people, who do not consider themselves feminists or who judge me for claiming to be one, and I believe it’s because of this woke feminism. Woke feminism is related to elite feminism, where people believe that women are superior. In particular cis-gendered women too. NO! NO ONE IS SUPERIOR!

The feminist message these toxic portrayals are delivering aren’t going to be listened to. It is spreading the wrong message and creating more toxicity and stigma.

We need better female portrayals!

 

Do you agree?

-Shay

Women In Science!

In celebration of both International Women’s Day and the start of British Science Week (8th-17th March), today I’m making a post dedicated to and appreciating women in science.

 

In the 19th century, women were excluded from formal scientific education but later on in the century, there was a rise of women’s colleges, providing scientific jobs and educational opportunities for women scientists. Also in the late 19th century, on November 7th 1967, Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win the award twice. As of 2018, 51 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize. (This could actually be a higher number as you’ll see if you continue reading.)

Women in science has greatly motivated and inspired me to work in science and get involved in that community. I bought a book, written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofksy, entitled Women In Science, which is a collection of pages dedicated to the work and achievements of different women in science, so I picked eleven to share with you today!

 

Hypatia – Astronomer, Mathematician and Philosopher

Image result for hypatiaHypatia was one of the earliest recorded female mathematicians, born between 350 and 370 CE in Alexandria, Egypt. Her father, Theon, a famous scholar, instructed her in maths and astronomy and she became an expert in both. She was one of Alexandria’s first female teachers and people travelled from faraway lands to listen to her speak. However, the religious tensions in the area became violent and she was killed around 415 CE, due to her ‘pagan’ teachings, by extremist Christians. Hypatia is a symbol for education in the face of ignorance.

 

Elizabeth Blackwell – Doctor

Elizabeth Blackwell set  herself on the path to becoming the first female medical doctor in the Related imageUnited States. She was accepted into Geneva Medical college but had to sit separately from the male students and even the teachers were embarrassed by her presence in the anatomy classes. She made her thesis on good hygiene and how that can prevent the spread of typhus. In 1849, she graduated first in her class. With her sister, they opened the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children in 1857, where they treated the poor and taught female medical students and nurses and later, in 1968, went on to found the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, and the London School of Medicine for Women, in 1874. She made it possible for women to become doctors and called for better hygiene standards in hospitals and homes.

 

Nettie Stevens – Geneticist 

Image result for nettie stevensStevens worked hard to save up money for her undergraduate education at Stanford University and PhD at Bryn Mawr College. She was a geneticist and found male insects had an XY chromosome shape but females had XX. She published her groundbreaking research in 1905, which changed many misconceptions like the sex of a baby was determined by what the pregnant mother ate. However, around the same time of her discovery, Edmund and Wilson made the same discovery of XY chromosomes and Edmund was awarded the Nobel Prize. Nonetheless, she will not be forgotten for her amazing research.

 

Mary Agnes Chase – Botanist and Suffragist

Mary was born in 1869 and enjoyed learning about botany, sketching plants and using her savings to take botany classes at the University of Chicago and Lewis Institute. She worked with Reverend Ellsworth Jerome Hill as he mentored her and she illustrated plants for his papers, which eventually landed her a job at Chicago Field Museum, where she was a scientific illustrator for museum publications and then, an illustrator for the US Department of Agriculture in 1903. Despite all this, another amazing thing she did was protest for women’s rights to vote in the US, even though she was at threat of being fired. She participated in hunger strikes, was jailed but helped to gain the right for women to vote in 1920.

 

Lise Meitner – Physicist 

Meitner was born in Vienna in 1878 and worked at a Chemistry Institute in Berlin in 1907, after receiving her PhD, but as she was a woman, she was unpaid and wasn’t even allowed to use the labs or toilets so did her radiochemistry research in a basement. She worked with another scientist, Otto Hahn, as they tried to create new elements but with the Nazi’s rise to power, Lise fled to Sweden since she was Jewish but exchanged letters to Otto about their research. Lise ended up discovering nuclear fission but was unable to return to Germany so Otto was awarded a Nobel Prize for their work without her.

 

Alice Ball – Chemist

In 1915, Alice Ball became the first African-American and first woman to graduate from the University of Hawaii. At age 23, Alice developed a way to isolate ethyl esters in it’s fatty acids, found in chaulmoogra oil, to blend with water for injection as a treatment for leprosy. Those suffering with leprosy, at the time, were arrested and isolated but due to Alice’s treatment, the ‘Ball Method’, they were freed from exile. She found a cure for a what was thought of as a hopeless disease.

 

Gerty Cori – Biochemist

Gerty Cori became a biochemist at the University of Prague and received a doctorate in medicine. This is when she met Carl Cori, who she fell in love with and married. Not only did they become partners in life but also partners in science as they worked together and solved the mystery of how cells us sugar for energy (now called the Cori Cycle). They both shared a Nobel Prize, in 1947, but Gerty soon developed a bone marrow disease as she continued to work in the lab. Carl ended up carrying her to get around when she got too weak and she died in 1957.

 

Joan Beauchamp Procter – Zoologist

Joan was a zoologist, who endured chronic ill health. She kept snakes, frogs and crocodiles as pets and started working at the British Museum, in 1917, as an assistant keeper of reptiles and fish. She then became the London Zoo’s curator of reptiles, in 1923, and discovered a new species called the Peninsula Dragon lizard. She built houses for the reptiles specifically for them to make them feel comfortable and made it seem like their natural habitats with help from her artistic talents. Under her care, the reptiles lived longer in captivity than ever before. Her health, however, caught up with her and she made her way around in a wheelchair with her pet Komodo Dragon on a leash. She died at the age of 34.

 

Mamie Phipps Clark – Psychologist and Civil Rights Activist

Racial segregation meant Mamie wasn’t allowed in shops owned by white people and had to attend poorly funded black-only schools. She met her husband and future partner in psychology at Howard University, where she learnt psychology could be used to prove segregation is wrong. Mamie and her husband conducted the Doll Experiment, travelling the country and comparing responses of children from segregated and integrated schools. They found evidence that segregation damaged children and caused self-hate and this was used in the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ended segregation in public schools.

 

Rosalind Franklin – Chemist and X-Ray Crystallographer

Rosalind’s father disapproved of women going to  university but she went anyway and earned a PhD in physical chemistry from Cambridge University. She spent hours, at King’s College, using X-rays on fibres of DNA, capturing a famous photo providing DNA is a double helix. James Watson and Francis Crick were also trying to figure out the structure and peeked at Rosalind’s work without permission, using her findings to publish their work. She was not credited in their work and they won the a Nobel Prize four years after she died from cancer in 1958. Watson wrote jeering comments about Rosalind in his book, The Double Helix, and admitted to looking at her data. We remember her as the woman, who should have won the Nobel Prize.

 

Valentina Tereshkova – Engineer and Cosmonaut

Valentina dreamed of exploring the world but her family was so poor they couldn’t afford bread. When the space race began between the US and USSR, where she was born, the USSR wanted to be the first to send a woman to space and since Valentina was in a parachute club, she was a perfect candidate. She was selected to compete with four other women and the training was intense but she was eventually chosen as the first woman in space. Valentina flew by herself on the Vostok VI shuttle in 1963 and orbited Earth 48 times, which set a new record. Her photographs in space helped us gain a better understanding of the atmosphere. She had a very bumpy ride back, nauseated and disoriented, but she earned a doctorate in engineering and worked closely with the cosmonaut programme after her trip. She now works for world peace. She is an amazing example that women are strong and tough.

 

It was very difficult having to pick a small amount of women from the Women In Science book. I highly recommend reading it as it is filled with such inspiring women from marine biologists to inventors and neuroscientists to psychoanalysts. A lot of these women were not only scientists but also film actresses, senators, authors, etc, which makes it that extra bit inspiring. Rachel Ignotofsky is also an amazing illustrator as the book is so beautiful! Most of what I wrote above has been taken from the book.

 

Although today is International Women’s Day and we should spend the day appreciating women, let’s not forget that everyday is a day to respect and appreciate women as well as other people.

 

-Shay