Feminism dreams of a better world. A better world for all genders and for women. That's the dream. Our reality, however, is the patriarchy. It's the real, live pulsating beast at the heart of our society, directing our interactions, guiding our opinions and motivating us to devalue women, and diminish men who are deemed not "man enough".
Misogyny which is at the root of patriarchy, is practiced by us all, women included, to varying degrees. That doesn't make it any less of an evil, because women practice it, too.
So a world free of sexism and misogyny, a world where fierce codes of masculinity and femininity aren't strictly enforced, by the threat of violence- whether unstated, or explicit, or may be disguised in soft, cuddly words- that's the feminist dream.
This feminist dream is what we have to look for, in our art and cinema and pop culture. Lets bring romance into our feminism. Some would say feminism is by definition a form of romance.
No, it doesn't exist yet, so we have to dream it up. Maybe then we won't need to offer up images of hapless women, devalued, dehumanised and destroyed, in order for men to sigh: "now that's realistic!"
Maybe then the sole purpose of the female form won't remain to be the mere prop on which men's fragile, toxic masculinity has to be shored up.
Maybe then women will not remain the sole repositories of values, and educated women won't have to play the dolt.
Maybe then the female form will cease to become a mere source of fear or hatred or titillation.
That men needn't always be macho, uncaring caricatures of humanity, may not be necessary anymore.
A day may dawn when a female form can finally be seen as human too. Maybe.
If art mirrors society, it works vice versa too. Art inspires us and goads us to try to achieve that which is more than us; that which will redeem us, that which can help us transcend our narrow thoughts and existence.
If it is only through art that we can dream, and hope to comprehend a world without gender boundaries, let's work on it : the feminist dream. Hopeless romantic that I am, I'm also a romantic feminist. Aren't you?