Is Modern Feminism starting to undermine Itself? | Jess Butcher | TEDxAstonUniversity

Translator: Florencia Bracamonte
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven Good afternoon. So I’m not sure if I can detect
any bristling in the audience with my somewhat controversial title, given that we sit here
in a diversity-themed event. What I will say is
just please bear with me, particularly because I’m going
to be starting on such a positive note. There has never been
a better time to be a woman. Never have women had
as many opportunities as they do now. To run countries, companies, to control their personal,
financial and sex lives. Girls outperform boys at school,
more go to university. Women in their 20s and early 30s
are frequently outearning men. We should feel optimistic. And yet we’re not. In fact, sometimes it seems
all womanhood is depressed. Faced by an avalanche of information regarding the ongoing disparity
and fortunes between women and men; by a narrative of disadvantage
and societal patriarchy that runs through Me Too,
the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling, and more. But how crystal cut are these assumptions? And what are the possible implications
for how women respond to both opportunities
and challenges in their lives? So who am I? A woman, yes, and a mother
to three children under five. I’m a successful entrepreneur enjoying a career where I get to deal
with some of the biggest thinkers and doers in the world today, in business, in politics,
in media, academia. I’m privileged, no question. My race, background and opportunities
mark me as one of the privileged elite. What do I know about disadvantage? And what’s my agenda here? Well, as a woman, I’m a minority in my field
of technology and entrepreneurship. Hard industries to be a woman in – or so the narrative
would have you believe. No. Not so. I don’t believe that this
has been a disadvantage, only the most incredible opportunity. One that has enabled me
to stand out and get recognition. I describe myself as an entrepreneur,
not a female entrepreneur, because I subscribe to a brand of feminism that told me I could be and do
anything the boys could. And in fact, I’ve come to resent
the move towards positive discrimination, that might imply
that any of my achievements are due to anything other than merit. If I look back at all my good fortune, I can honestly say that to a large extent, it’s been down to the love and support
and belief of the men in my life. My father, my husband, the bosses,
business partners, peers and mentors enabled my journey. But of course the biggest advantage
I posses is self-confidence and belief. And it’s this that I want
to look at in more detail today. Why is it seemingly so much harder
to find in women than in men? And how might modern feminism
be further undermining it? The talk of the gender pay gap
is everywhere and actually incorrectly assumed
by 70% of the population to refer to women being
paid less for the same work. Not true. Illegal, actually. And also nonsensical, as surely businesses would prefer
to pay a cheaper workforce. The median disparity of 18.4%
can to a large extent be explained by the choice of 42% of women
to work part-time. The figure drops to 9.1%
when you compare full-time to full-time, with this figure
understandable to a degree by the fact that women are
choosing different profession types. Women in their 20s and early 30s,
as we’ve heard, are frequently outearning men. The pay gap is negligible; it fluctuates;
some years women outearn men. And part-time women
actually outearn part-time men. So in effect, the headline statistic ignores many of the complicated
variable factors beneath it. And in particular a potential positive:
that of female choice. The glass ceiling – it’s been shattered time and time again by female heads of state
and business leaders, demonstrating that for those women
that do aspire to that sort of career, it’s absolutely possible. But these are of course hard –
masochistic almost – lives, filled with imbalance, politics,
stress, long hours. We can hardly even whisper
any suspicion we may have that this is a lifestyle
that fewer women and mothers aspire to. And arguably, only
the tiniest percentage of men. Right now, I’m currently observing a large number of some
of my highest-flying friends quietly leaning out of aspirations
of making partner, away from 60-hour work weeks,
with some choosing to quit altogether so as not to enjoy these early years
of family life, myself included. Two years ago, I made the decision to step back
from the front seat of my business to spend more time with my three children. And it’s a decision I will never regret. Having lost two friends recently,
very early in their lives, it really brought home to me the fact
that I will never get these years back. That’s too important. But of course, women like me are
partly responsible for the gender pay gap, and many of us may never go
knocking on that glass ceiling because it’s simply not
a lifestyle that we desire. These is just two of the big
feminist issues of our time, with others including Me Too,
online trolling, body shaming and objectification, and domestic violence – all issues you’d be forgiven
for thinking were exclusively female. Now, there’s been a lot
of very well-intentioned campaigning behind these issues and some very positive by-products, such as the light being shone
on some of the more insidious ways in which some men can
mistreat and underestimate women, and of course, on abuses of power. But my fear is that the broad-spectrum,
expanding definition of prejudice and harassment is now something that almost any woman
can associate with. And we simply can’t cry misogyny every time we’re called out
or held back in some way. I fear for an ideology and a rhetoric
that is starting to set women against men, that focuses on what we
can’t do and haven’t got rather than what we can and have. My intention in seeking to shine light
on some of the other sides of these issues is not to deny the existence
of discrimination that may exist in some of them, but to question
the cumulative net effect – that of female victimhood. Feminism, like other forms
of identity politics, has become obsessed
with female victimhood. Whereas it once used to be about the portrayal of women
as mature, equal partners in society, it now seems more to be about girl power. And yet it disempowers. It seems that we’re weak
and defenseless, like children. Psychologists have long
emphasized the power of beliefs to be born out in reality, and how stereotypes
contribute to social inequality. Confidence is, of course,
self-fulfilling – something you will all have experienced. You look good; you feel good. You’re told someone likes you;
you’re more relaxed around them. And conversely, if you suspect
someone doesn’t like you, then you act in a more defensive,
less confident way around them. Victims believe they are impotent and that they have no sense of control
over the way that events unfold. Assuming that something has happened
to you due to prejudice, whether right or wrong,
it’s rarely the most productive response. It prevents introspection, self-analysis, and more importantly,
particularly if it was due to prejudice, evaluation of new methods and techniques
for circumventing your status quo. And what about men? Well, there’s actually competition here
for competitive victimhood if we want to play that game. Men have their own unique set
of disadvantages that are rarely up for public discussion, including higher rates
of school dropout; of mental health; vastly higher suicide rates; vastly higher workplace deaths;
war deaths; deaths in crime; higher rates of homelessness; criminal court bias
and sentencing disparity, where men receive nearly 60% longer
sentences than women for the same crime; near equal domestic abuse rates; paternity fraud; child custody; and, of course, reduced life expectancy. Even now, in this age
of aspirational equality, the cry will go out:
“Women and children first!” Take for example
the awful news story of Boko Haram and the terrorists
that abducted the girls. Did you know that prior to this happening, those same terrorists
had been abducting thousands of boys and murdering hundreds
of boys and young men? Burned alive in their schools,
shot in the streets. A situation that received
no international attention until the terrorists turned
their attention to the girls. And then, First Ladies, media,
celebrities, politicians up in arms. But why only then? Why are boys’ lives seemingly valued
so much less than girls’? Whoever might have it worse, I take issue with the debating ground
based on competitive victimhood. It’s fruitless; it’s destructive. Women are being encouraged
to fear and distrust men, and men are more nervous and guarded
in their interactions around women. And worse, resentful
of a label of “patriarchy,” one that the vast majority
don’t recognize, and who have their own challenges to face. Already, we’re seeing some rather
worrying by-products to all of this, such as five times more men
now less inclined to mentor women in the wake of Me Too. 75% of young girls yet to experience
any form of discrimination talk about anxiety about it
affecting their lives in some way. And working class girls
have been deprived of jobs that they love, such as Page 3 Girls and Grid Girls,
because other women disapprove of them. What happened to “my body, my choice”? It’s OK for Kim Kardashian,
but not for a Page 3 Girl. And men have had their careers
and reputations ruined overnight by Me Too. Some possibly justly,
but without any due process, no innocence until proven guilty. And where might all this lead? Quotas leading to doubts in ability? Was my recent MBE because of
positive discrimination? Am I on this stage because of it? Should we ban flirting on campus
and in the workplace? – incidentally two of the places where
you’re most likely to meet a life partner. My company started recruiting fewer women
into entry-level, lower-payed work so as to even out their gender pay gaps. And if 50/50 is the ultimate aim, then shouldn’t we be arguing
for quotas for more men in the fields of nursing,
teaching, veterinary science? More women on the front line,
in construction, in refuse collection? And perhaps the three most
important questions of all: Does power exist solely in the boardroom and at the highest levels
of politics and business? Or is there the possibility
that it exists in choice? And arguably, don’t women
have more of that? Does equality of opportunity
have to equal equality of outcome? And aren’t the assumptions that women need more support,
protection, quotas in the workplace arguably the most patriarchal
assumptions of all? Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that the women’s
movement has had its day or that there’s no longer
a case for feminism. But I do believe we need to reverse
some of these negative trends. So here are three positive solutions, as I see it. One: Where girls are concerned, best way that we beat prejudice is to build up confidence and to show it
and demonstrate it to be wrong. We teach girls strength and resilience
to call out prejudice in the moment. We celebrate successful women, hold them up there as role models
for both girls and boys, where arguably the impact may be greater. And we don’t do so always complaining
about the minority representation. And we celebrate the unique power
that women have today in schools, homes, marriages,
families, and yes, business and politics, wielding immense influence
over the hearts and minds of the future. Two: We turn our attention
to true gender equality, stop painting all men
with the broad brush of oppressor and recognize that yes,
there are bad, abusive men in this world, but there are also bad, fallible women. Sadly, we are all equally capable
of inflicting misery on each other. And in a world where women are able to participate
more equally in the public sphere, we need to better level the private
for men in our homes and families. And it’s here that we
should refocus the debate. And three: We give more oxygen to the truly deep,
profound inequalities that still exist in this world, in developing countries, for women who can’t get
the same education, get forced into arranged marriages,
can’t have access to birth control. Or here, socioeconomic
and educational disadvantage. And the fact that hiring typically still
happens along “people like me” lines, a much bigger threat
to business diversity than gender. And above all, we listen
to each other with open minds. Play the ideological ball
and not the player. Be kind. So it’s often said that you
can’t be what you can’t see. No. Not so. Some of the most powerful
figures in history have been something
that didn’t exist. Rosa Parks refused
to give up her bus seat, so kick-starting
the course of civil rights. Steven Hawking changed
the world of science with his brain, irrespective of his bodily weakness. Tommie Smith and John Carlos silently raised their fists
on the podium of the ’68 Olympics, so drawing attention to black rights. And Malala stood up
publicly to her oppressors, and that earned her a platform
from which she could educate the world. They never believed they couldn’t. They never cried victim. They were strong, resilient, defiant. Just as a terrorist thrives on terror
and the bully on distress, defiance, ridicule, even pity is a much stronger antidote
to bad behavior than wounded insecurity. We need to stop thinking
of gender as an identity. We have so much more in common with those with whom we share
values and outlook than chromosomes. Our gender, our race,
our sexuality, our disability – they are all just part of the rich
tapestry of who we are as individuals, and none of these things outside
of our control should affect our outlook. There are still a huge number
of inequalities in this world, but our individual right to self-belief
is a simple and universal possibility, and it is this that we need
to instill in our young. Because it’s actually not my daughter
I’m worried about in this new-world view; it’s my sons. But that’ll be OK. Because we’ll be bringing them up
to recognize their individual potential, to not indulge in victimhood, and to see that the power they have
being born where and when they have is one of choice. They’ll make all their own, and they’ll deeply respect
those of other people. Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Is Modern Feminism starting to undermine Itself? | Jess Butcher | TEDxAstonUniversity

  1. "There are bad, abusive men in this world. But there are also bad, fallible women."

    She just couldn't bring herself to say women can be abusive too. The rest of it was good though. Refreshing to hear a woman say what any sane person is thinking about all this.

  2. Gents don't be fooled. 😎

    She's just using that known Chameleon Syndrome that we heard about from Esther Vilar's book. 😏

    Women know their privilege is running out & are trying to show themselves in a different light. They have an act for survival. Just like Laci Green. 🤔

  3. The failure of modern feminism has been to not censure its radical elements. Instead it has been it’s radical elements doing all the censuring. Helped along nicely by clickbait media profiting off the division it creates.
    I’ve just listened to an exceptional woman speak and yet if I as a man repeat what she has said there are those who will call me mysoginistic. We live in crazy times

  4. Women have the exact chances and rights as a man. If you get paid less it’s because you’re doing a bad job. Women whine too much.

  5. Its up to women like her to turn the tide of madness entering into the social discussion. Men are no longer listened to unless theyre towing the line

  6. well the topic is spot on, but a shame most women, just like her, are really bad speakers. Why is this? Since women talk way more than men, you d expect them to be better to speak to an audience, but they are not

  7. To the comments that say "men cannot say the same things without backlash" I say: Yes, because you are "men"… m- words.

    This video only infuriates me because I can see that you have already achieved the dehumanization of one group and somewhat the worship of the other. So don't hold back now and finish the job. It is too late for some people to forget what happened and continue as if it didn't.

  8. Women outperform men in school because the education system is bias towards boys by pushing that learning is done best sitting still and listening (which benefits the women's brain) when boys learn best by doing. This is why when it comes time to take the SAT's boys score 30 points higher on average than women.

  9. If we are going to talk about toxic masculinity then we need to talk about toxic femininity as well. After all Equality for all. Let's not play one eye open and one eye close. If this continues going on then there will be legitimate reasons for being misogynists. We can thank some feminazis for that.

  10. I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR A WOMAN TO PROFESSIONALLY TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM WITH "MODERN FEMINISM"… From a fellow woman, thanks for speaking about this subject.

  11. The situation of women has changed in the past because the circonstances changed too. Much fewer wars, more safety in work, less criminality. The change was necessary, and the struggle of women was useful. But women are different from men. They should have the same opportunities, but not be forced to take them so as to balance the figures. That's actually what happens in countries where they have less freedom.

  12. its been a year since the video came and I only just saw it. I gotta say the comment sections doesn't disappoint, so many people specially women are supporting men and actually understand them. Love you all amazing people

  13. I have friends of mine male, I am a man too,who won't even enter a elevator with a women if it's them two. They are afraid of the women. I have one child who's a daughter and she is also a doctor. I put all my effort into letting her know she could be anything she wants to be in today's world. She brilliant hard working caring and so much more. She is also a very pretty girl. At 34 years old she can not find a man to be with. For whatever the reason is the men in her age group are intimidated by her and her career. I find it disturbing that these young men feel beat down for some reason. And I don't see how this is going to help us as a society? Most of the men I know are frightened by women today. I don't understand it. How can this be better for anyone? I think there's more to it then feminism, I think it's a considered effort to tear a nation apart,for what ever the reasons. All the noise being made from all the different groups have one common tread and that is to break apart the unity of a nation. I see no other cause for this. Are there issues that need to be discussed? Certainly, however we aren't discussing them now are we. Any opinion no matter what it is , just simply becomes shouted down and if you don't agree you are the enemy. The once claimed bullied are now the bullies themselves. It's a shame we live in the greatest times in human history in America, but you would think it's the end of days. I am frightened by our course not for me,but for our children all of them.

  14. Very refreshing. The sort of balanced voice of reason we need more of today, in our seemingly increasingly polarized societies. So sick of identity politics.

  15. Brilliantly said. It’s depressing to know hearing the voice of genuine objectivity strikes you like a miracle in these days of absolute chaos.

  16. Exploitation is the basis of capitalism. You think it's terrible women are treated less than men? What about chinese kids being exploited so they can provide western kids with products? We have fallen into a lack of ideas on how to solve these issues. We put a bandaid on here and there but it isn't changing the core of the problem. People are commercialized. And as per market logic the value is never higher than the buyer is willing to pay. And a chinese kid costs 4 cents an hour for a 15 hour workday. And a woman costs less then a man in some areas. It is a systemic problem.

  17. "Modern Feminism" is just like how "Intelligent Design" is used to resell and mask "Creationism". Feminism was toxic from the beginning. It exploited mens weakness and protective nature to compensate for biological bios.

  18. it´s called brainwashing … soviet cultural marxism. been ongoing for decades … watch Yuri Bezmenov. soviet dissident who went to the usa in the early 80´s

  19. Why is that even a question? The answer is so obvious… only problem is, the truth hurts a lot. And not feelings either, nobody cares about thay anymore really. Interests. That's the real problem here.

  20. I tried dropping off a resume last year and heard back "It's not safe to accept resumes from boys anymore".
    Later on that year, an article was printed, and picked up by news outlets across North America, titled "Why it's okay to hate men".

    I can't even watch this video, it's so obviously putting out a California-level forest fire with a shot glass of gasoline.
    Welcome to Earth, honey.

  21. its starting to reach a boiling point. the silent majority wont stay that way forever. there will be a day when they push it too far and its gonna blow back at them so hard their tampons will fly out

  22. This is without a doubt the very best talk on the current state of feminism and gender issues that I have seen in The Last 5 Years, possibly longer. Bravo!

  23. Equality is great, yay equality! Wahoo!
    Barring the very real distinctions which exist for the vast majority of men and women such as the ability to give birth there is little else to stop a man and woman doing the same things.
    But do they want to and should they want to? It's not just the physical side of life which needs to be considered but the mental side of life too – as shown above in the video, sexes want and prioritise different things at different times in their lives too.
    You don't improve life by reducing the effort to achieve great things.
    Modern feminism seems to want less equality and more matriarchy – you don't effect genuine equality by replacing a version of what you don't like with something that you do, but others then don't as you're exchanging inequalities.

  24. I might be crazy but it sure seems like any video countering any of the lies of feminism has low audio to the point I max out my volume and still struggle to hear it.

  25. Modern feminism is turning women into unbearable beings because feminism destroys the feminine in women. What man would ever want to be with one of those creatures.

  26. What a brave, logical woman.
    It's great to hear the statistics.
    I know that my choice to have kids has affected my earnings and career progression.
    I'm a man.
    It's good for a person to take responsibility.

  27. Only women can answer that. From where I’m sitting, they seem miserable. The pendulum has swung too far. There is nothing feminine about modern feminism…and women are probably more worse off for it than men are. Solid quality men can weather this storm, but I don’t think women will.

  28. Nice try. Decades too late. It's game over long past. Reality has no reverse. Revolution was fun when you were young. Now you get to see why it's a bad idea.

  29. Men do the most dangerous jobs. Men die in mostly pointless wars and conflicts. Men are also historically the last to get off a sinking ship.

  30. Biologically men and women are very different for instance women tend to have smaller feet so they can reach the kitchen sink easier!

  31. Women are very good at manipulating situations for maximum benefit. If they think their tactics will result in negative impacts they will simply adjust them to increase success in the long term.

  32. It's nice to see a woman that sees facts. I notice many women in the States not taking advantage of opportunity and just assuming they're under-privileged.

  33. This all boils down to the fact that we are all HUMAN and are all capable of giving into human temptations and weakness regardless of gender, race and identity. Stop making this about sides. It's so much easier to blame all your problems on something out of your control rather than make positive changes to yourself. Jess Butcher looked at it as an awesome opportunity and for that she is awesome. Not just "go women" but "GO EVERYONE!" P.S In no way am I suggesting that Feminism is wrong. Just be careful how you go about it. Go feminism as well!

  34. Important to the honest conversation where we can improve our country, communities & businesses. Our focus should be on things we have >all< had truthful, unapologetic discussion so we can truly progress…quite possibly at the cost of feelings

  35. If you were to use a heuristic to find smart people, there will be high correlation with entrepreneurs and Libertarians

  36. Takes some bravery to go to such a stronghold of identity politics to highlight their inconsistencies. She probably did not make many friends in thatplace

  37. finally a woke woman. cant wait till the pendulum stops swinging to the extreme sides and everyone can love each other and understand that we are all One.

  38. If feminists can’t understand this brilliantly laid out narrative, then they went into it with a closed mind. Because it would be impossible for any open minded person to acknowledge that she had made some solid arguments.

  39. Good on her, it has to be said. MGTOW has never looked so attractive as a mode of being for men now days and that is sad.

  40. We must fight back this liars they are invading all countries even Mexico when the revolt happens in Mexico City and removed a patriotic statue the angel of Independence

  41. Feminism peaked with the second wave. The third wave marked its decline. Like every other ideology known so far, it will evolve into something else. Its getting interesting.

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