Thursday, July 9, 2015

"Feminism" is not a dirty word.

Here's a little heads up: this post is not book related in the slightest. This post is also only my personal views, and not a representation of the rest of the girls - just incase this post brings some lovely anti-feminists. This post is, however, a slight rant of the media of late and the representation of feminism. So please, bear with me. And by no way am I saying here that everybody should have the same view point that I do, because I don't. I just wish some of the stigma of feminism and being a feminist was eradicated. 

By definition, feminism means: 

The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

Lately, I've been seeing lots of powerful women come forward and say the refuse to call themselves feminists because it's "too negative," they don't want to seem to opinionated, "because they're not gay" and most commonly, because they don't think women should be more important than men, because things aren't as bad as they used to be, because sexism doesn't happen in this country, "because it doesn't happen to me," or "I'm a humanist because I believe in equality for 'both' the genders."

I understand the negativity around feminism because I found it through negativity. The first time I was called a feminist, it was an insult. And I thought it was a bad thing because the on the two big powerful things those of us in western society get our information from - yes, I'm talking about the internet and the big bad media - and often that representation is negative. 

But, if you sat down for tea with a feminist and actually learnt what they believe, rather than what the media wants you to believe. Feminism can mean different things to different feminists, but the underlying message is clear, equality for everybody is the most important thing.  And you'd probably see that some of your identifiers of a feminist are huge misconceptions - i.e. I've never once burnt a bra, because they're hella expensive. Who knew stereotypes could be so misleading, ay?

Things feminism does not mean and common misconceptions:

1. Sorry, did you not get the memo? This is a girls only club. 

Last October Emma Watson publicly invited men to join the conversation on feminism and gender equality because, believe it or not, in this binary society we live in, they are in fact the "other gender."  Breaking News: MEN CAN BE FEMINISTS. I know lots of male feminists who stand up for their rights because sexism affects them too. The best way I can try to bust the feminist's supposed anti-men is from something one of my English Teachers once said; "It's not anti-men, it's anti-patriarchy."

2. Wait so now you like men? 

Sexuality and feminism have been linked as long as I can remember. If you scroll back up you'll see that I said the first time I was called a feminist it was insult. It was, but it wasn't just a comment on my views on equality, it was on my sexuality too. The correlation between who I decide to sleep with and how I want my rights are so far apart that the only way they'd match would be if we were talking and choice. And the fact that they should both be mine. Readers, regardless of your identifying gender, you can sleep with whomever you wish as long as you are in a consensual relationship.  

3. But aren't you all just really opinionated? 

Honestly? Probably. But unless you are willing to fight for what you believe in and make changes, however big or small, you're doing something good. The issue is when people aren't respectful of others opinions or give them the chance to articulate what they have to say. 

4. But I want a husband and children? And what if I don't want to work?

Then guess what, that's your choice. The beautiful thing about feminism (and my definition of it) is that everybody gets the same choices and opportunities in life regardless of gender, sexuality, race ect. I would love to have children of my own someday, but my daughters would be brought up to know there would not be limitations of what they could do. And my sons would be raised never to question the strength of being a girl, woman, or femininity. 

5. Sexism just isn't a thing in the 21st Century!

Stop what you're doing. Go and ask a female member of your close circle if they've ever been catcalled. If you don't know what catcalling is, google it. You ever done it? Go and ask a dad you know how many times he's been asked if he is babysitting his own children? At least once right? Sexism effects women and men. Whether you're telling a young boy "do not do ..., you're not a girl" or refusing a job to a woman in Hollywood because of her age. Sexism is everywhere. And even today, if you look at the British News two major powerful figures in British Politics, the Education and Energy Secretaries were called out to as "girls" to get their attention. These women help run the country and make huge choices on how thousands live their lives, but yet were belittled by a male photography by calling them merely "girls." The day I see David Cameron or George Osborne get called 'boys' or The Daily Mail do a four page spread of what they wore for the Cabinet Reshuffle, I'll die. And that's the small scale, I won't even tackle the bigger issues such as sexual assault, the procedure for rape victims, domestic assault and other violence against women. 

But the biggest reason I refuse to ever change my identification from Feminist to Humanist is because 'feminist' is not a bad word. Feminism and Feminist often gets lots of abuse for the 'fem' part in it, as if it does not include men. Feminism is called feminism because women were trying and still are to change the imbalance between the two. And I will not now call myself a humanist because western society wants to make feminism a dirty word. 

All I want is equality for everybody and to eradicate oppression from those suffering it. You can make up a thousand new names for it. But we already have one that has been standing for a long time. So I think I'll stay with the F Word. 

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