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 😉
Filed under Feminism, Rants
Over the past few weeks I’ve managed to get a bit of a reputation. I’ve made a bit of a scene, caused a few arguments and at one point walked out of a lecture to stop myself making a complete spectacle of myself. It’s left me wondering – am I over sensitive? Or is everybody else just blind?
In keeping with my last post, this blog is about feminism. I have always been an advocate of feminist ideals but it wasn’t until about two or three weeks ago (roughly the time I published Lets Talk About Feminism part 1) that I started openly describing myself as a feminist. I hadn’t liked the perceptions held by many people. I love men, I wear a bra, I am not hairy. Then something inside me just exploded and I decided I couldn’t give a flying fuck any more. I hoisted my feminist flag and made it very bloody clear that I wasn’t going to tolerate this bullcrap that everyone else seemed so content to just sit there and allow.
It didn’t take me long to realise that when you start to openly call yourself a feminist people will raise eyebrows. My first big battle was that of the monstrous ASDA advert. I, like many people, was appalled. I assumed that everybody would be. I was wrong. Despite the clearly outdated portrayals of gender roles within the family unit and frankly offensive portrayal of the husband in not only the ASDA advert but also Morrisons and Tesco while we’re at it, lots of people I spoke to couldn’t see a problem. “That’s just Christmas in my house” I was told on more than one occasion. That’s fine, it really is. I believe one of the keys of feminism is that a woman has the choice – if you chose to dedicate yourself to your family then that is very admirable! My mum did the same. I was told that sexism in adverts is nothing more than a reflection of society. Well. If you can’t see the problem with that I can’t help you. Clearly that means that society is inherently sexist. That is not a justification.
I was told chill out. Clearly Laura, I was told, your problem with these adverts is a very personal one. You’re being over sensitive. It’s only an advert. Move on. Get over it.
For a while, I wondered whether these people were right. My main issue with these adverts is that it is completely unhelpful with regards to the issue of womens empowerment. How are we ever going to be viewed as equals when these adverts clearly do not show us to be? I think that these small cases of underlying sexism perpetuate the problem, rather than helping it and that if we allow this sort of thing to pass unremarked upon that we are going to make more brazen examples of sexist behaviour (such as the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling and the RyanAir Charity Calender) more acceptable. We need a zero tolerance policy if things are ever going to change.
Maybe they’re right and I am being over sensitive but I don’t think so. I’m not going to shut up about it. Spreading some FemLove ❤
[Psst! While you’re here if you’re a twitterer, follow me (@nitramarual) the Everyday Sexism project (@EverydaySexism) and YouAreFeminist (@YouAreFeminist)! We’re all great I promise.]
Filed under Feminism, Rants
Lets get this out there: I am a straight 21 year old woman with a crackin’ bra on, bright red lippy and bleached blonde hair. I have an amazing boyfriend that plays the guitar which instantly makes him a gazillion times sexier than you. I like glitter and glamour. I am also a feminist.
I can see the eyebrows raising from here. But Laura… you’re straight? You LOVE men? You dress like a woman? If it’s got glitter on it you’re pretty much guaranteed to buy it for christs sake, how the hell can YOU be a feminist? Well I’ll tell you.
Feminism is the belief that women should have absolutely equal standing with men. Socially, politically and economically. It is not as the Daily Mail would have you believe a bunch of man hating bra burning hippies. For me, the most important aspects of feminism are equality and freedom of choice. I want to have the choice of what I’m going to do with my life – if I want to work my arse off and get to the very top of my profession I want to be able to do so without the fear of hitting the glass ceiling, losing my position when I start a family or being paid less than my male counterparts. Equally, I want the option of leaving work to be with my (at this point entirely hypothetical) children without career women sneering at me. I want the option to stay unmarried or keep my own name without people assuming I’m a lesbian. Equally I want to be able to chose to take my (at this point hypothetical) husbands name without other women pointing the finger of disapproval at me. Sisters – we’re all in this together, stop bitching at one another and respect each others choices! This is what we’ve worked so hard to achieve!
Of course there are very complex and current political issues here – the issue of maternity and paternity pay and leave is still a very tender subject. But this and other issues are what flag to me that feminism is still relevant! Until women have the opportunities and choices that we deserve I will not stop shouting about it and invite you to join me. Remember – if you believe in equality of the sexes you are a feminist. And you don’t have to stop shaving your legs.