This is a big deal for feminist and feminism. Empowered women with equal rights are the end goal for any egalitarian society, and for the more saner of the feminist army. Extreme examples and SJWs not included. But what is empowerment? How does it work? and are we being manipulated as women?
To me, empowerment means choice. It means making your own decisions, living with the consequences of them, and not giving a heck what people think about you for it. Empowerment is me at my greatest and me at my worst, and empowerment is, well… powerful. It feels good to know I can do whatever I want, make whatever decisions I like, and that I’m not restricted specifically for being a woman. I absolutely and totally agree with the idea of empowered women. I just don’t think that modern feminism is really doing that idea justice.
If you cast your minds back around a hundred years ago. Feminism was really just starting to take off. Women’s suffrage had women fighting for the right to vote, to have a choice. Lots of women died for what they believed in, but eventually they got what they wanted. This is only one small step in the empowerment of women, but it was a super big one. For the first time ever, women had a real voice in politics, in how their societies would be shaped.
However where there is light, there must also exist dark. Around 10 years later, fresh from the high of empowerment, women were being used as marketing tools. A campaign called “The Torches of Freedom” ran and resulted in thousands and thousands of women’s deaths. Dramatic right? But true. The Torches of Freedom was a campaign devised by one of Sigmund Freud’s family members, Edward Bernays. Known as the father of public relations, who used the idea of emancipation and equality with men to destroy a social taboo.
At this time in history, it was seen as taboo for women to smoke in public, however, fresh off the heels of women’s suffrage and the growing equality and feminism movements. Women were already campaigning both for and against women smoking in public. It went as far as laws being made. Bernays saw opportunity. He took a look at this popular idea amongst women and decided to use it as a marketing device. He hired women to smoke in public at the Easter Sunday parade of 1929 – this is how he destroyed the social taboo of women smoking in public.
Bernays manipulated popular ideas on behalf of corporations that just wanted to sell more of their deadly death sticks. Yet the women involved and those who joined in with the Torches of Freedom thought what they were doing was all about equality and freedom. It was an incredible PR stunt that essentially dismantled decades old social ideas in a single parade.
But if feminism and equality could be easily manipulated back then, is it not possible for the same to happen now? I’d argue yes. Everyone is about ready to give their approval to feminism and equality. We see it all the time in media, celebrities endorsing feminism, companies posting feminist logic on their social media accounts. I’ve seen four separate advertisements on television recently, starring women playing football. Because women playing football is synonymous with empowerment, apparently. Heck, most recently I saw this:
You can literally buy the hat. Its all just another way that female empowerment and feminism are being exploited as marketing tools. These people don’t care about what you believe in, what you fight for, but they’ll pretend they do to make a quick buck out of you. So if you’re being manipulated like this, are you really being empowered at all?
I’d argue that you weren’t. True empowerment doesn’t need campaigns to make you feel good, it doesn’t need support from other people. It doesn’t care about what some douche in a hat thinks he’s doing to help your poor lil soul. True empowerment is freedom to make your own decisions and to know the decisions you’re making, to not allow yourself to be manipulated as women were 100 years ago, but instead to carve your own path. True empowerment can’t exist while we have 3,000 people falling for obvious marketing ploys based on our “empowerment”.
The only way to reach true empowerment is to free yourself, be smart, and make decisions that you want to make for yourself. Most importantly of all, realise that you don’t need a social group or support from the internet to be truly empowered, its something you have to do for yourself by yourself.
Down with the marketing ploy known as feminism, up with true female empowerment and freedom.