Tuesday, 10 February 2015

First World Feminism?


First off, I can't even tell you how much the very phrase makes me cringe and want to roll my eyes. The idea of a "first world" itself has never been something which sits right with me, I guess I don't like the idea that we are two separate entities because of wealth, it makes me a little sad to have that divide, last I checked we all shared good ol' planet Earth between us. Whether you have enough money to have a private jet named after you, or not a penny to your name. Anyway - that's a discussion for another time.

So you must be wondering why I'm writing this impromptu post, right? Well, it all started a few months ago with Emma Watson's announcement of her HeForShe campaign. Almost all at once, the internet was filled with both praise for her work, and this dirty phrase being dished out about her work. The assumption that she was simply taking part in this to give her celebrity status a boost wasn't something which is necessarily a new concept. Many celebrities of past have revealed their philanthropic side by donating money to a prominent cause, or being the face of a campaign to better the lives of people in some form or another. And then, about a week ago I heard the term in passing on the street and I couldn't seem to stop wondering where this term had come from, and why it even existed.

So, let me tell you the DoD perspective of what the difference is between someone who strives for feminism (or any cause) & comes from a privileged background for the sake of their image, and one who simply cares. The one who cares sees it through. The one who cares doesn't intend for it to be something that they do in passing and move on to their next dish in the philanthropic meal. The person who cares waits to see the impact it has on people, reaches out to those people, connects with them on this common ground. Now, I've done my research, and I've read plenty of words from the mouths of reporters verses the mouths of the actual celebs themselves. I've said this before and I'll say it again: it's so easy to believe what is reported, because often you've no idea that there's another side to the story.

Now, the conclusion I've come to is that Emma deeply cares about this issue, and not just for people living in developed countries (if I have to say first world one more time I may vom) but for those living without fundamental rights which may of us on the other side of the pond are incredibly lucky to have. Why is this so easily overlooked by some because she is who she is?

FWF is the concept that there is a different, somewhat "unmeaningful" feminist perspective on this side of the world. A feminism which only advocates to issues which merely scratch the surface of the suffering women around the world have suffered. I understand, when you look at what is worse to suffer compared between lower wages than men and women being sold as sex slaves in South East Asia, or girls being violently attacked merely for advocating their right to education, you would obviously choose the latter.

If I'm truthful, yes, I wish that when many women think of the word feminism, the focus was is far more on helping people in underdeveloped countries to reach the same level as us, escape the brutality of their treatment and eventually change the antiquated views of men on the other side of the world, rather than just closing the pay gap (which I know is very important, and I'm not undermining at all). So that we can all rise together rather than in this mixed range of levels. Maisie Williams (GOT actress) was sceptical towards Em, and I understand that completely. But I ask this:

Why is it that she said it doesn't concern her? In the research I've done, and what I've heard, this project has a huge concern with helping those in less developed countries. We don't all have to believe wholeheartedly in what Emma was advocating, and fine, I can't force someone to change their mind.

But read this: I just wish that instead of simply criticising, these people would actually say what it should be. This kind of passion should be channelled into trying to help in some way - any way - to make the lives of women on the other side of the world far better than what it is.

There's a lot of work to be done on both sides of this divide, but things like this make me feel so very grateful for the fundamental rights I do had. Thank God.

Do you think first world feminism exists? What are your thoughts on the ideas surrounding it? You know what to do - share in the comments ;)

Yours ever,

Zahra

(P.S. I'm featured on an amazing blog for my first DoD interview - I talk feminism, current affairs and blog beginnings, click here to read and share your thoughts!)
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