Someone who believes in the economic, political and social equality of the sexes.
When I tell people that I am a feminist I am normally met with a groan of disgust or laughter. I’m not ashamed of being a feminist; I’m a woman, why wouldn’t I be in favour of my own rights? That’s what feminism is about. I believe, from experience and what people have told me, that some people don’t actually know what feminism is, so I thought I would express what it actually is in hopes that some people may reconsider themselves as feminists.
I’ve known some people who would constantly mock and joke about my views (all boys, by the way). I was annoying for checking them when they were racist, sexist or homophobic. Safe to say that I’m prospering now and they’re… not. Anyway, besides the point. They would say jokes that they knew made me uncomfortable, just to get a rise out of me. This was not okay, they were laughing at women and victims. This all came to a blow when they made some horrific jokes about sexual assault – so much so I went to the police.
After that all finished, I wanted to look into why men are constantly trying to belittle and laugh at women. Why do men have such an issue with women wanting equal rights? The short answer is society. For so long men have had the upper hand. Society has always told men that they are more worthy than women, that they are stronger and deserve more. Throughout history, women have been silenced and blocked from doing simple things we don’t even think about today, like open a bank account, vote, pain medication for childbirth or own their own land. Unfortunately, some women still cannot do some of these things. That’s why I’m a feminist. Women aren’t considered equal anywhere in the world, although we do have it different here in western society. My feminism is about helping all women, wherever they are. If this is not your mentality, then you are not a feminist.
Every day I see women breaking that glass ceiling. Women taking over male-dominated areas and conquering all of the stereotypes. You can read my post about how I felt about Jodie Whittaker portraying the first woman Doctor Who here. Women are taking a stand with the amazing #metoo movement. We’re not taking any shit anymore. A few months ago I saw a Twitter thread making the rounds that I couldn’t ignore. ‘What would women do if men weren’t allowed out after 9PM?’ Brilliant question. What would I do? I would go for more walks on my own, I would probably take up running, I would be able to go outside without having my guard up, I’d be able to be more relaxed whilst I’m out, I would listen to music while I’m on my own walking, I would go out with my friends more. The list is endless. Why can’t we do this right now, though? Why do we have to limit ourselves in fear of being assaulted or killed? Why do women get the blame when something unspeakable happens to them? Because the world hates women.
Let’s get some things straight. Feminism isn’t about being better than men. It isn’t about taking over. All we want is to be respected and be treated equally. If you are a man and you feel threatened by this, why? What do you have to lose? We just want to be able to have the same opportunities as you, the same pay as you, the ability to be able to walk down the street without the fear of being attacked.
I ran three polls on Twitter: ‘Women, do you consider yourself a feminist?’, ‘Men, do you consider yourself a feminist?’ and ‘Do you believe you know what feminism is?’. After asking these questions I lost followers on my Twitter account. Says a lot. People find ‘feminism’ annoying and militant. Yes, we are militant because people don’t listen to us. I have discovered that most people don’t actually know what feminism is. So I’m here to bust some feminist myths:
Feminism is just for women – WRONG! Feminism is for equality for everyone. Sure, feminism started as women’s rights because women wanted to do basic things like vote. But feminism has changed and evolved over the years. We want everyone to be able to live their lives equally; men, women, trans people, black people, Asian people, LGBT people, Muslims, Palestinians, everyone. Feminists do a lot for men, yet it’s non-feminist men that seem to have a lot of opinions against feminists but do nothing for men’s wellness…
Men can’t be feminists – Not true. Men are welcomed, in fact, we encourage it. As I said in the last point, we just want equality and that includes men. It includes everyone.
Feminists hate men – Guess what… That’s right. It’s not true. Feminism is not about man-hating, at all. Yes, some women (a lot of women) find men scary. But can you blame us? It doesn’t mean we hate them.
Feminism is a witch hunt – No. If you act appropriately around women then you have nothing to worry about. If you don’t sexually harass/assault women, then you have nothing to worry about. If you treat women with respect, then you have nothing to worry about. Basically, if you are a decent human being then you have NOTHING to worry about. If you are worried then maybe you aren’t as nice as you think you are.
Feminism only helps white women – If your ‘feminism’ isn’t about every single woman on this planet then you are NOT a feminist. Feminism is for everyone. It means standing up and looking out for our black, Asian, Latino, Middle-Eastern and Native sisters. It means using our privilege for some good. It also means helping our Trans sisters, our lesbian and bisexual sisters. Helping women. Period.
Women have the same rights as men – True that in Western society we can vote, drive, own land, have a bank account, have the choice whether or not to be a stay at home Mum. Sure. But many women around the world don’t have these privileges. Women in Saudi Arabia still cannot go outside without a male chaperone. Some countries won’t allow girls to go to school, women are having their genitals mutilated and their breasts ironed, young girls are forced to marry old men. This needs to change. This isn’t to say that Western women are completely free of misogyny, though. 1 in 4 women will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by an ex-partner in the UK.
Did you know, 10% of girls aged 14-21 in the UK can’t afford to buy sanitary products? That’s right, girls miss school which has an effect on their social skills and obviously their education. Women sometimes have to choose between food or sanitary products. That is disgusting. Girls have had to substitute pads for toilet paper and newspaper. I found out through a friend who works with my local food bank that sanitary products are considered a luxury, and people have to pick one luxury item a week. Other luxury items include shampoo and conditioner and soap. Imagine having to pick between these NECESSITIES.
If you don’t know, my Mum is an artist. At the beginning of December last year, my Mum took part in Open Studios – an opportunity for people to buy artwork from artists in their studios, it happens twice a year where my Mum has her studio. As a challenge to herself, my Mum decided to draw and paint 100 women, for the 100 years that we have had the vote in the UK. She has donated 20%, of her earnings from the sales of these women, to buying sanitary products for the girls who can’t afford them. We discovered that our local library is a drop-off point, so we are going to take some there and some to our local food bank. If you would like some more information then you can go over to Mum’s website here. If you would like to help and donate some products, you can find your local drop-off point here. I really urge you to donate something, even just one will make a difference.
Feminism is a controversial topic when it shouldn’t be. Everyone should be a feminist. It is in our best interests. We should be calling out ‘fake feminists’ and checking their priorities. But also support and educate, otherwise we’re not going to get anywhere. Take a stand. I love you.