Social media has become an increasingly popular outlet for promoting social and activist movements, from #BringBackOurGirls to #AllMenCan, and much more. Most recently, #IDontNeedFeminism has taken on a life of its own in response to the #INeedFeminism movement, showcasing ignorance, hatred and hilarity in people’s misunderstanding of feminism and what it has done to empower women worldwide. And then there’s Confused Cats Against Feminism, a lighthearted response to #IDontNeedFeminism.
When my partner and I were explaining #IDontNeedFeminism to a friend, my partner discovered this image via a Google search:
Claiming that one ‘needs feminism’ so that women feel more empowered to fight against rape for his enjoyment is appalling and downright terrifying. Photos like this are EXACTLY why we need feminism. This one especially exemplifies the deeply entrenched misogynistic views that perpetuate a culture of violence against women.
Whether or not this photo is a hoax (which, really, does not matter…and if one assumes that it is, isn’t that part of the problem?), the reality is that there are rapists and sexual predators worldwide, thriving off this type of rape culture.
Images like this, which can be posted online and stay there without consequence, are a threat to women’s rights, safety and autonomy everywhere. Violence in any form is not to be tolerated or taken lightly. One in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in her life and one in four women will experience sexual assault.
As a child, I was almost sexually molested and that experience has stayed with me my entire life. For many years, I minimized the experience and made excuses for what happened. It was not until a (male) feminist friend of mine told me, point blank, that my molester’s actions should not be excused or minimized — because what he did was wrong, ipso facto — that I snapped out of it. He took advantage of and tried to violate me. End of story.
Why am I sharing that story? Because what I went through is unfortunately such a widely shared experience and is so pervasive, that is one of the many reasons why #INeedFeminism!