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 ;)