The fairytale feminism of FCKH8
A video called ‘Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism’, produced by FCKH8.com, went viral last week. It shows girls, aged between six and 13, dressed up in pretty princess outfits, swearing and shouting the f-word and asking the viewer if hearing the f-word is more offensive than gender pay inequality, stereotypical gender roles or rape.
Watching children say ‘fuck’ in every sentence is certainly disturbing, but not as disturbing as the video’s objectives. We are being encouraged to see adult issues in terms of the black-and-white morality of children. It presents us with a fairytale parallel universe in which there are lots of damsels in distress, fearful of venturing out into the big bad world because the wolves (otherwise known as men) are waiting for them, ready to push them into lifetimes of exploitation.
But these facts from the mouths of babes are, in reality, fantasies from the minds of adults. Take the video’s assertion that one in five women are raped or sexually assaulted. This is simply not true. This figure is based on the 2007 Campus Sexual Assault survey, a web-based study assessing sexual assault on two US campuses – and it has been debunked by many, including Christina Hoff Sommers in her own YouTube show, Factual Feminist. Or take the gender pay gap: women do not get paid 23 per cent less than men in the same job. As Joanna Williams argued on spiked about a similar statistic in the UK: ‘Not only do such claims not stand up to scrutiny – even worse, they actually hide a far more positive story about women’s pay.’
But the biggest problem is that FCKH8.com campaigners think that they are perfectly justified in using children to front their campaign. It shows just how infantile feminism has become that a campaign can exploit five-year-old girls in order to challenge the exploitation of women. This is no way for adults to behave.
Unfortunately, the FCKH8.com team are not the only ones exploiting youth. From the anti-Iraq War campaign to the student protests of 2010, there has been a steady increase in campaigns relying on youthful rent-a-gobs to ‘tell it like it is’ and revive old stagers’ dried-out ideas. The most repulsive example of this was the recent Gaza/Israel conflict, where, at anti-Israel demonstrations, children as young as five wore t-shirts featuring images of dead children from Gaza alongside the slogan, ‘When are you going to stop murdering children just like me?’. On the back, the t-shirts read: ‘Am I next?’
Getting children to do the dirty work of adults is cowardly. So while children may well say the funniest things, getting them to spout unfunny feminist twaddle is no way to run a serious campaign.
Viv Regan is managing editor of spiked.