So I came home today to see FCKH8’s new video in support of feminism floating around Facebook.* It shows kids campaigning for feminism so obviously, I watched it. The video (linked below) is comprised of young girls – looking around 10-14 – swearing avidly and explaining why feminism is important.
I have very mixed feelings about this video, and I honestly cannot decide how I feel about it.
Watch the video here:
In recent weeks there’s been a sudden influx of girl-based feminist videos, such as the Always ‘Like a Girl’ advert, which shows teenage girls showing what they think being ‘like a girl’ is, then in contrast some pre-teen girls doing the same. The difference is honestly incredible, and makes a strong statement about how un-indoctrinated younger girls are about their own strength and worth. Watch that video here:
Now what first strikes me is that feminism is being taught to young girls. And that is wonderful. Around your teenage years, when you beginning reading all the magazines, getting social network accounts, watching whatever you choose, is when you are most vulnerable as a girl (and boy, mind). With puberty and hormones, and your mental state girls are so impressionable and understandably take a lot of their beliefs and core thoughts about themselves, from what they see reflected in media. What woman doesn’t remember calling someone a ‘slut’ or calling herself ‘fat’ when that age? I think back to my early teens and I am ashamed of what thoughts I had about other girls, and what I said about them and myself. We cannot get this from anywhere but media and people around us – who, in turn, got it from the media. So these new campaigns and videos (whether they be advertising a product or not) are so very encouraging. It may well save a generation from those despicable self-loathing thoughts which pit girl against girl.
However, obviously, these videos are very likely scripted. Which means, although it’s coming from younger girls, it’s still the thoughts of older women. On the one hand this is fine as younger girls may see their peers coming across in this way and think ‘hey, y’know, I feel the same’ or discover that this is the norm, however it is hard to know whether these thoughts are genuinely how these girls feel.
My other thought on the FCKH8 video is the swearing. It is clearly in there to make an impact and add to the ‘girls are not always weak or timid’ message, however it does cause a lot of moral conflict – is it right to have young girls swearing like that? The actresses real ages would be useful here, but they do look young. There is also the argument that swear words are honestly not that bad. They are just words. But in this society, they can be interpreted many ways and does young girls swearing like this just send a message that feminism is corrupt-ful and dirty? Does this help our cause?
I really cannot decide, but I am all for these pro-feminism videos aimed at younger audiences, because these girls will be our legacy and they are the ones we are doing this for – we want them to live in an equal, sexist-free world.
*Edit [May 27th 2015]: I just stumbled upon this post and realised that since posting this I have been made aware of the controversy surrounding FCKH8. I maintain this ad campaign was clever (and in some ways I do support it), and of course I support and encourage young feminists campaigning, however I do not condone or endorse FCKH8. You can read why here.