When did feminist become a dirty word? Why do women say they believe in equal rights then shrink back when the word “feminism” is mentioned?
I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard women complain about every day sexism and say “I’m not a feminist but…”. What do you mean, you’re not a feminist?? Do you not like that girls go to school and are educated to the same standard as boys? Perhaps you’d prefer that all your worldly goods (money, property, personal belongings) were controlled by your father, then your husband and upon his death, your son. Maybe you don’t like driving. Or working. Or voting.
Personally I like that I was able to choose the man I married. I like that if it doesn’t work out for whatever reason I can choose to divorce him. I like that if we were to split he wouldn’t automatically get sole custody of our daughter. That we could in fact share. I like that our assets would be divided equally and that I wouldn’t be left with nothing just because I’m the woman.
This week I saw a comment on Twitter that was vile. I won’t go into details but it was regarding the Ched Evans case and this particular individual was making jokes about rape. Taking a look at his profile he had also made comments about “wogs” and “niggers” and “dirty sluts”. So this wasn’t particularly surprising. I remarked how rape is anything but funny and he replied with a comment about how ugly I am. Typical. Another sneering reply was “feminist?”. Ah, yes because only a anti-men feminist would object to a rape joke *eye roll*. I reported the tweet and went about my day. But I kept thinking about it. How are men like this walking around in 2016 Britain? Are they just the pond scum of society, best ignored? All mouth behind the anonymity of a keyboard but harmless losers in the flesh? Maybe. But maybe not.
Despite all the progress that’s been made in recent years it still isn’t a level playing field. Ask any woman working to support a family about the gender pay gap. For a woman to earn 18% less than a man doing the exact same job is atrocious. And if you think 18% isn’t that much imagine how you’d feel if your boss told you to take an 18% pay cut. Seems like rather a lot now doesn’t it?
Are you of the opinion that women/girls are just pretty faces? Well, they’ve been outperforming boys at school since 2002. Girls are ahead of boys across all subjects at A*-C grade by 8.9 percentage points.
Despite this achievement girls today are suffering from insecurities. Bombarded with images of the “perfect body” and urged to be “bikini ready” (even in February) not to mention the fantasy porn women and supermodels it’s not hard to see how some young women might have low self esteem.
I was a big fan of the This Girl Can campaign. I kind of hate the term “real women”, it implies that actresses and models aren’t human. They are, they’re just BLESSED. And they have teams of hair stylists, make up artists, cosmetic dentists, dermatologists, fashion stylists and of course airbrushing at their disposal. But I guess “real women” is a good term to sum up the non-airbrushed amongst us so let’s say that this campaign featured some great real women being active. It was to counteract the picture perfect images we see every day. A huge number of girls drop out of sports and activities when they hit puberty because they worry about what they’ll look like and this campaign’s message was ‘I don’t care, I’m gonna do it anyway and I’m gonna enjoy it’.
I also love this short video from Always called Like A Girl . It makes me feel quite emotional. A must view if you have a daughter.
So in answer to the neanderthal’s question “feminist?”. Yes. Absolutely.
I AM A PROUD FEMINIST.
I don’t hate men, I don’t burn my bras (are you kidding!? bras are expensive) but I do believe in equality. Whatever your race, sexual orientation, gender, religion… I believe in equality for all.
We need to teach our daughters that feminism isn’t a dirty word. That you don’t have to shut up and sit down just because you don’t have a penis. That you can be anything you want to be.
Strong women. May we know them, may we be them and may we raise them.
PS: And besides, everybody knows girls are best anyway