I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that it won’t come as a surprise to you that I am a feminist and without sounding too naive or idealistic, you’re probably one too.
Let’s start off by saying, I’m not an academic. I haven’t enrolled in gender studies or spent my life researching everything there is to know about Feminism – I’m still learning. I haven’t burned any of my bras and I wasn’t even on this planet during the first 2 waves of the feminist movement but I am a woman in 2016 with my own experiences and real life knowledge of just how it feels for a girl, in the world.
As it turns out, a movement that was intended to empower, unite and encourage women has, in some part, separated us from ourselves. How has the notion of women and men being equal driven a wedge so deeply between 2 camps that some women/people in general are once again too embarrassed or ashamed to call themselves a feminist?
When I reached out for topics to discuss today, a few friends mentioned their confusion and disdain when it came to Feminism and this incredibly ridiculous rule book that seems to want to define what being a feminist should and shouldn’t look like. I thought it might be fun to make a super simple quiz to figure out whether you are a feminist or not.
Q1. Do you believe it is wrong that women are treated as though they are less than, as in not at all equal to, men?
If you answered yes to this question, congratulations! You are a feminist.
Pretty simple right? Wrong. Apparently if we don’t follow a set of mostly unspoken rules set out by the cliterati, we’re not doing it right. This is, I’m sure, where the term Feminazi was conceived.
Let me make this super clear; how you choose to express your womanhood is completely and utterly yours – and yours alone – own it. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from minimising the truths or experiences of other women regardless of their religion, race, background, identity, sexual preferences and every other thing between. I wrote about this in more detail here in my post about Girl On Girl Crime.
The truth is, no matter how hard you try – you aren’t always going to agree with other women on how to express your feminist ideals but if you feel sick about the way society is marketing an ideology of patriarchal madness as soon as we leave the womb (a womb we often have no rights to control), it’s a pretty safe bet that we’re on the same page.
You may believe that nurturing a family is your calling in life. I identify with that and spoiler alert, it doesn’t make me less of a feminist – it just makes me a person who is super excited to raise children.
You may believe that removing body hair is an obvious manifestation of falling victim to the manipulation of the beauty industry or simply women being forced to feel embarrassed about our bodies in their natural form. I don’t agree with you but I applaud you and your pubes on your choice to grow and show with pride. You’re right, your body is so beautiful but so is mine.
The same goes for fashion, religious garments, relationship status’, career objectives, reproductive rights, makeup, media, music and language. In reality, as long as you are respectful of a woman’s right to choose what she does and doesn’t do with her body and/or her life – even if it strays from what you believe – you’re on the right track.
Feminism isn’t going anywhere and thank fuck for that, because we still need it.
The pay gap still exists, 1 in 3 women aged 15 and over have experienced physical violence and 1 in 5 have experienced sexual violence in the last 5 years, rape culture is still engrained into our society, domestic and family violence is the leading preventable cause of death, disability and illness in women aged 15 – 44 and women are still unable to vote, drive or decide whether they want to get married in some cultures and countries.
Obviously these are the most talked about issues but they aren’t the only ones. Feminism isn’t about taking over the world or being superior to anyone. It’s not about burning your bras or shaming women for wearing one or choosing not to. It’s not the insane notion that only one particular type of human can equate gender inequality as an important issue. Men can be feminists too you know? It’s not about the movies you watch, the music you listen to or the people you admire and it’s certainly not about hating men or whether or not you shave or grow your pit hair either.
It’s the simple notion that regardless of what genitals you were born with or which gender you identify with, you are equal to the opposite one. That is all.
Please ignore anyone who is attempting to make you feel like you’re not ‘doing it right’ or just link them to this blog. Stand up for ALL inequality as you see it and just promise me you won’t be embarrassed to be someone who believes in full equality for everyone or for being hopeful that we’ll achieve it.
You have nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re living, loving and respectful of all humans and our right to be equal, you’re doing it right. You’re a feminist but more importantly, you’re decent human.