You’re probably a feminist too. [LTAF3]

My newest hobby (call me pathetic and obsessed if you must) is typing the words “I’m not a feminist but” in to the search bar on Twitter and depressing myself with the sheer number of young women who have completely misunderstood what feminism is. I’ve come across some frankly upsetting statistics during these searches. Netmums recently surveyed 1,300 women of a range of ages and found that only 1 in 7 of those surveyed would describe themselves as a feminist – only 8% of 20 – 25 year olds.

As a 21 year old feminist I find this very very upsetting. Personally, I think that a large part of the problem is the stain on the word feminism in recent years that seems to have given it negative connotations.When people find out I’m a feminist, there are often raised eyebrows. People assume I hate men. I don’t hate men. People assume I hate women who chose to stay at home with their children. I don’t.

What I DO hate is going to a restaurant with my other half and while he is addressed as “Sir”, I am addressed as “darlin'” “sweetie” and even one particularly heinous occasion “sweet cheeks”. I hate the fact that he is automatically given the card machine when it comes to settling up and the surprised look on the face of the waiter when I calmly take it from him and enter my PIN. I also hate waiting for the bus on the way home and having leering men stare at my legs and shout inappropriate things at me. I hate that people assume I’m a slut because I dare to bare skin. I’m not. I hate that men can brag about their sexual exploits and be dubbed a “lad” where as a woman is dubbed as easy. I hate the double standards. I hate Page 3. It is not news that women have breasts and we are not meat to be leered over. If you want that, buy a porno not a newspaper. I hate that women are so grossly under represented in the House of Commons and on the boards of FTSE companies (16.5%! Shameful!) I hate that if a woman chooses to pursue her career she comes up against the glass ceiling and poor promotion prospects but if she chooses to stay at home with her family she is looked down on – that is not feminism, that is arseholery. I hate that Moira Stuart got shafted for looking too old but Jeremy Clarkson is still by some horrible twist of fate being broadcast. How!?

Now listen up ladies – if even two or three of these things bother you then I hate to tell you but you my friend are a feminist whether you choose to label yourself one of not. And while I have your attention, what exactly is it about feminism that you DON’T fancy?! The right to vote? Or be able to wear jeggings if you so wish? Pursue your career? Not be owned by the man you marry? Seperate from an abusive partner? Own your own home? Have control of your own money? Did all that good shit just annoy you?! I’m failing to see WHY you would use that horrid term “I’m not a feminist but.” Sorry. If you agree with equality, you’re a feminist. Come to terms with it. Move on.

For more on perceptions of feminism, I recommend following @YouAreFeminst and @EverydaySexism. And me (@nitramarual) while you’re at it ;)

8 Comments

Filed under Feminism, Rants

8 responses to “You’re probably a feminist too. [LTAF3]

  1. Great post, thanks :) I will be sharing this!
    I’ve pretty much always identified as a feminist since I’ve always been aware that women faced injustices just for being female (although I’ve become far more aware of the scope of this in the last few years)… The only thing that at times put me off was some of what I have heard from ‘radical’ feminists – I don’t appreciate being told to conform by other feminists any more than I appreciate being told by society at large!

    • Thank you! I agree completely, I think part of the problem is that radical feminists like to tell other women what to do and people resent that even more than being told subliminally by society. I think being bossed about overtly by pushy fems is even more patronising than covertly than the patriarchy and it switches people that would otherwise have identified themselves as feminist. Generally I think feminism needs a bit of a make over to stop women (and men) thinking its all radfems shouting about not shaving their legs.

  2. bea

    Thanks for the post, Laura! I’m twice your age and I grew up during a time when calling oneself a ‘feminist’ was still, I think, considered a positive thing. It seemed an easy choice to make. Are you for equal rights? Yep, you’re a feminist.

    It is interesting and saddening to see that term has mutated into something thought of as something negative. I understand, to a degree, that some folk don’t want to be labeled or pigeon-holed, and, therefore, might not want to take on any term, never mind the label of ‘feminist’. However, I do wish that men and women would do a bit of research into the history of feminism before deciding that the ‘f-word’ is something to be mistrusted and devalued.

    ps: I don’t shave my legs. :)

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  5. David Smith

    I admire your expression. But beware of ‘rant’ which can tend to generalise and alienate. Not all men will stare at legs (only some), not all men are against women being in positions of high authority (only some), not all male waiters address women customers inappropriately (only some), and most men – the vast majority do not brag about their sexual conquests. Notwithstanding the C20 history of feminism, only some women aspire to lead companies and be members of the cabinet and so on. Just as you are happy to decry the lack of women in such positions, you are also happy to be selling shoes. You shoot yourself squarely in the foot

    • Thank you for commenting. I apologise if you feel I’ve over generalised in this blog; of course the vast majority of men don’t do a lot of the things I’ve described. What I was trying to do was list some of the everyday misogyny I have come up against and that other women routinely come against on a day to day basis in a relatable way so that women who may agree with my sentiment but don’t use “the f word” can think it over. With regards to your second point concerning female aspiration, the fact that only some women aspire to lead companies or be members of the cabinet is not a justification. To me, that raises the question of why? Surely that’s indicative of wider societal issues rather than justifying the appalling lack of representation.
      With regards to your final point: I am happy to be selling shoes while I complete my degree. When I graduate I aim for greater things. Not that I’m sneering on those who have a career in retail but it isn’t something I want to be doing in 10 years time.

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