Back then in university I attended a debate competition where I was being given a motion “THBT feminist movement in the West had betrayed their sisters in developing countries” (or something along that line). My coach and teammates considered this as a rather difficult motion to approach, so we chose to abandon it and put it on our banned motions list. But the issue that it raised stayed with me until this very day, especially after I stumbled upon articles such as this one on Moira Johnston and other similar movements in Eastern Europe.
Okay, apparently there is a need for (some) women in the Western hemisphere to be able to go out topless. Some feminists argue that this is a fight against the oversexualization of the female bodies, and that it defies the stereotype that the patriarchal society put on women. That a woman has to be modest all the time. That seeing naked boobs in public places is not all right.
I understand that the radical feminist movement, as opposed to its liberal counterpart, was meant to challenge our basic perception of what is right and wrong, fair and unfair. Simply put, they meant to rock the basis of the society, so that it explodes, way up to the air, and fall to the ground to create a new, more women-friendly new paradigm.
I do not question the principal of which this movement is started; but I do have problem with the practical implication of it.
Especially after I heard about Malala Yousufzai and her brave struggle to ensure young girls’ participation in education.
Women in developing countries may be facing different issues with those in developed countries. They are still struggling with the rights to education, how to get out of poverty, and how to prevent themselves from being married at 12.
I will never forget that there is such thing as contextual implication of feminist thoughts, but I often wish that the feminist movement in the West —with their resources- would be able to do more for their sisters who are struggling with poverty and the lack of more basic freedom, such the inability to drive their own cars.
Especially with the knowledge that there are even poverty and high unemployment rate in a country as advance as the United States, the struggle for the right to be able to go topless on the street sounds irrelevant and ridiculous at times.