Common sense feminism believes that men and women are equal but acknowledges they are biologically different and thus driven by a different set of imperatives.
Why do we need a common sense view of feminism?
- Other existing strands which assert that men and women are exactly the same are no longer considered to be intellectually viable or are deemed too strident and too anti-male to be effective in helping women from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
- A common sense view of feminism takes into account the challenges women face living in a global society where opinions on women’s rightful place vary widely.
Common sense and feminism
- Women are equal to men
- Women should be paid equally.
- Women are inclined towards certain gender roles and behaviour
- Women’s education is key to equal opportunity
- The concerns and well-being of men and boys is also vital to the happiness of women
- The good treatment and respect of women is vital to the functioning of a healthy society.
Why must a form of feminism still assert itself today?
The achievements of feminists should not be taken for granted or forgotten. In other parts of the world women and girls are still exposed to extreme inequality, discrimination and harassment, and look to Western models of gender equality to support their advancement.
At the same time, some models of Western feminism are poor examples of good practice. They have on occasions pitted women against men and focused too much on portraying all women as victims of patriarchy without acknowledging neither the merits of masculinity nor the fact that men can be victimised as well. In many cases, this is counterproductive to furthering the legitimate aims of the women’s lobby. In these cases common sense feminism should strive to:
- Challenge trivial claims of sexism and over sensitivity to the criticism of feminism, because this undermines women’s good sense and judgement
- Soften the tone which often prevails in feminist debate, because this heavily undermines women’s sense of irony, wisdom and compassion.
How does “common sense” feminism agree with other forms of feminism?
- Equal pay for women (acknowledging that some jobs command higher market rates than others)
- Girls education in all subjects to facilitate choice of career (as above)
- Continued campaigning to remove historical bias towards men in certain fields
- Need for action on domestic violence (acknowledging women on occasion can be perpetrators)
- Need for pressure on extreme body image like size zero and sixteen year olds having implants (acknowledging women have a propensity for beauty and fashion and it can help them succeed in life)
- Clamping down on FGM, honour killings of young women, and sex trafficking
- Promoting greater basic safety needs of all women (acknowledging that feminism having got rid of ‘women and children first’ has left this hole in the net and that not all women are victims)
- Celebrating achievements of female authors, artists and activists and their contribution to society
How does this pragmatic view of the top differ from other forms of feminism?
- Not anti-capitalist (this is a political option)
- Not anti-masculinity (necessary for the well-being of men)
- Not anti-femininity (necessary for the well-being of women)
- Not pro-sisterhood (every woman is an individual and values their relationships with men)
- Not seeking out new areas of inequality (the conserving and maintaining of achievements is a greater priority)