International Women’s Day was this week, and the world celebrated. That said, every day is a great opportunity to recognize how far women have come in our society, while acknowledging there’s still a long way to go.
We may see the first female president of the United States. Women are increasingly getting the representation and recognition their hard work deserves in politics, leadership, business and family life.
But big challenges remain, even in our society: employment discrimination, sexual harassment, wage parity, domestic violence and more.
Social media and the Web 2.0 world helped spur a First World feminism resurgence in 2015, with terms such as mansplaining in vogue (for those who are confused or more concerned about actual crises affecting women around the world, mansplaining is when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending way, with the implication being that he knows better because he is male).
Caitlyn Jenner coming out as a transgender woman brought issues such as transphobia to the forefront of the media in a way that hasn’t been seen in a long time, if ever.
This is all well and important for building an inclusive society that does not judge or exclude someone based on their gender, sexual identity, or God forbid, their controversial opinion on these very subjects.
However, our inclusive society that promotes tolerance and fair treatment of women and minorities has unfortunately also produced an insidious movement which props up a different kind of intolerance, particularly among the younger, socially left-wing activist crowd.
Take for example a recent incident in Vancouver, B.C. Lauren Southern, a commentator on the Rebel.media website, attended a rally outside a venue where a Libertarian from the States was slated to give a talk.
Southern, as is her shtick, proceeded to provoke and debate left-wing activists by contending there are only two genders: male and female.
That’s when one of the activists became physically aggressive, with one dumping a bottle of urine on Southern’s head. Perhaps it was their way of accusing Southern of practising yellow journalism.
Some have defended the activist by saying Southern was spreading hate speech and bashing transgender people. But we’ve entered a dangerous world if anyone would believe a woman expressing a difference of opinion during a protest is fair game for having piss thrown at her.
None of the women in the crowd, despite their self-confessed predilection for women’s issues, stepped up to defend a woman who was being blatantly and publicly assaulted.
Take Jenner, who was widely held up as a champion of progressiveness when she came out as a transgender woman last year. Recently, however, Jenner made the mistake of expressing some level of admiration for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Immediately, the digital lynching of Jenner was underway. How dare a symbol of progressiveness actually have an opinion that doesn’t conform to the left-wing narrative?
In a sense, and as seen in cases such as these, the ability for women to express controversial opinions has regressed. So-called social justice warriors, particularly those of the female gender, are doing an injustice to other women by censuring and attacking any opinion that runs contrary to theirs.
Nobody should be walking in fear of intolerance and intimidation from those very same people screaming about tolerance. Women and female journalists should be free to speak their minds and walk safely in public without being vilified for having a different opinion.
After all (and in case you didn’t hear) — it’s 2016.