Feminism… It gets a bad rep. Loads of Americans who didn’t understand what feminism meant started the ‘f**kfeminism’ trend this year by confusing it with male hate or slut shaming. The main thing we can do for ourselves and for the next generation is get our heads around what it is.
Feminism isn’t about not shaving your armpits and wearing frumpy clothes or not being allowed to wear heels, dresses and make up. It isn’t about hating men or being aggressive and it’s not about saying women are better than men. It IS about women having the same rights, opportunities and pay as men, without being judged or scrutinised or questioned for their choices within those rights and opportunities. It IS about having choice and it IS as important for men to be feminists as it is women. It’s also about being treated as a human being, women don’t ‘deserve’ to be raped and men don’t have a ‘right’ to have sex with any woman who doesn’t want to, even if that woman is his wife.
Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones wants to get rid of the word ‘feminism’ because she says everyone should be a feminist really, anyone who isn’t is just sexist. So making a point of saying you’re a feminist shouldn’t be a big deal but being against it is… I agree with the notion, but I still think we should actively be choosing to talk about women’s rights. I hear more about LGBT rights than women’s rights anymore… (Nothing but love for the LGBT community, just observing the universal conversation). You may think this is because women have so many rights, but until we can say that there are no ‘traditional roles’ or ‘glass ceilings’ or ‘gender pay gaps’ then the need for feminism and women’s rights to be a topic discussed is still there.
If Germaine Greer isn’t your idea of a role model for feminism there are plenty other examples…
Look to Emma Watson, Lady Gaga, Caitlin Moran, Oprah, Ellen Page, Angelina Jolie, Lena Dunham, Malala Yousafzai or Justin Trudeau (seriously, Google the last one – Canadian Prime Minister, interesting man and proud feminist).
It’s not about loving every woman on the planet, that’s not human nature, we’re all different and have our own opinions on others… So you can see a fellow woman as annoying, verbose, superficial, flaky and that doesn’t work for you then feel free to not like her. However, don’t judge her because she doesn’t value your Louboutins or MAC makeup (I can’t justify spending hundreds on shoes when I have mouths to feed and I don’t agree with animal testing, but not bothered if these are ‘your thing’) and don’t judge her if she chooses to look pretty or have tattoos or piercings or flat shoes. It’s about looking at who a person is not what they look like/wear and it’s more about who she is attempting to be rather than her eyebrows being on fleek.
Sadly, our first female leader in the UK wasn’t a feminist, she didn’t even care too much about being a woman. Margaret Thatcher had an opportunity to raise up other women and pitifully she smashed the glass ceiling and then pulled the ladder up after her. In 11 years, she promoted 1 woman in cabinet – proving that successful women don’t define feminism, but a woman’s attitude to other women does. Eva Peron did more for feminism than Magaret, as did figures who weren’t specifically political like Maya Angelou and Diane von Furstenburg. Thankfully in the town I’m from we have two female leaders, a female elected Mayor and a female Chief Exec at the council (Jo Miller, another name to google). I’ve met them both (often in the lifts at work) and they are warm and friendly people, who happen to have created success in areas that used to be dominated by men. I doubt they would see other successful women as a threat and I’m sure they’re happy to encourage women who perform well in the workplace. These are the kinds of women who will inspire and these are good everyday examples of feminism.
Feminism is not prescriptive, it’s about being who you want to be – if you want to wear sexy clothes then do! If you wish to dance your ass off in a way only Beyonce would understand then please, go ahead! You shouldn’t then be open to ridicule, judgement, criticism or unwanted attention because of it. So feminism can be sexy, if sexy is want you want to be.
Cos we all know the answer to the question Queen Bey asks… Who run the world?