Thursday, 3 October 2013

The f word.

Put the kettle on, it's going to be a long one.

On twitter, during a #bbloggers chat I asked people the three words that came into their head when I said the word 'feminism'. I got some lovely responses that included love, power, equality, empowerment, strength and opinions. This is what feminism is to me and it's so encouraging to read that! But I also got some responses that really shocked me; women being sexist, hairy, opinionated and shouty being among the most eye catching. Thank you to all the girls that replied, you fuelled this post but none more than the two lovely ladies with whom I entered into debate with. It was by no means an argument and I respect everyone's opinions and their right to voice it (that's part of feminism ;) ) but it got me thinking; why do we need feminism, what does that f word mean in the 21st century? It's connotations clearly are varied and far reaching so what is it all about?

I took to the internet to find out what the wider opinion was, and luckily it was mostly positive. Kate Nash said "feminism...does not mean you hate men, it does not mean you hate girls with nice legs and a means you believe in equality" because why on earth wouldn't you? Women make up less than 25% of the UK parliament. 75% of women are still responsible for child care...a woman without children is considered a career woman, but I bet you've never heard the phrase career man because men aren't expected to choose either/or! We're still in a world where women are not equal to men, and that is as ridiculous to me as when black people weren't seen as equal to white people; we're all fundamentally human so why the differences?

Feminism isn't all hairy legs and shouty women (although if you don't want to shave your legs, that's fine by me!) it's every person standing for equality and fairness. If a man gets sexually assaulted, the first questions asked to him aren't what he was wearing or how drunk he was...but that is the case for any females in that position. Women are more vulnerable, but why?! How about we don't tell women what to wear, or how to act to avoid rape or sexual violence, how about we tell men not to rape? Why is that so difficult for society to comprehend? Slut shaming is a horrifying trend, one that nobody can escape.

 Magazines are always featuring 'over exposed' women, asking what's wrong with them when they're
flaunting their bodies; women can't win! It's so, so frustrating to see this on a regular basis , to know that young girls are receiving the message that showing your body is wrong, and not showing your body is wrong, and having a body that doesn't match Michelle Keegan's is wrong, and to have a baby and not immediately snap back into shape is wrong. What the hell, world?! 75% of those with an eating disorder are women. 35% of girls aged 6-12 have already been on one diet. Seriously. 50-70% of normal sized girls think they are over weight! and that is the fault of society, of the patriarchy telling us how to look, how to dress, how to act. Because we are women.

Men can be feminists too! Feminism is not a man hating cult, that's misandry and the two are not to be confused! Hating any body based on something like their sex is as mad as hating someone based on their colour, or their sexual orientation. Feminism is believing that all people are equal, despite what's dangling (or not!) between their legs.

Women are great, women are strong, women can look after themselves and women can choose not to. Women can have the door held open for them, women can hold the door open for someone else. Women can be whatever they want to be, they are equal to men and society needs to understand that; and it is that belief that is feminist. Why would you not want to be behind a movement that means our daughters and sons can grow up in a world where the phrase 'man up' is eradicated and women are seen to be just as strong as men? Why would you want to risk your daughter being subjected to sexual violence because no-one taught the boy who did it that it was wrong? Being a woman is great and if you believe that you, my darling, are a bloody feminist. Hooray! And not a hairy leg or a shouty woman in sight...well, maybe a bit shouty. And a bit hairy, but in fairness it's autumn so I need the warmth.

What do you think feminism is? Why do you need feminism? Or do you not need it? Why not? Please let me know in the comments, or find me on twitter, I love a good debate! A huge thank you to the girls that replied on twitter and gave me fuel for this lovely warm feminist fire! Don't worry, my bra isn't going anywhere near xx