‘Feminism’ is a term which has a wide range of opinions attached. Clinging on with its talons is the bogus idea that Feminism is something to be ashamed of. If associated you too must be a whinging woman in slacks with short hair ready to verbally pounce on the next man who offers to pay for dinner before taking his eyeballs for sacrifice at the next feminist meeting. Unsurprising then, that women themselves are quick to bat away feminism, but is it a rejection of the idea or the phrase? Doesn’t it prove that we still live under inequalities when feminism itself is a word spat at?
It is not, as the myth suggests an idea for undesirables or spinsters. It is serious and it is for everyone. NB: to support the first half of that sentence, Beyoncé, queen of all thing sexy has written a lengthy essay on feminism. Equally, feminism isn’t an idea exclusively for women, and if you don’t believe me, the magical wizard that is Patrick Stewart frequently demonstrates his support.
Feminism carries a different meaning for everyone, and after recently seeing the ‘women against feminism’ trend on the internet gather a little momentum (and physically retching at each post) I felt like I’d like to offer up some more information to the supporters of the group.
- ‘I don’t need Feminism because you have no right to speak for me’
- ‘I don’t need Feminism because I believe in working for what I earn, not given entitlement’ (I’m not sure you understand feminism)
- ‘I don’t need Feminism because I recognise there are men’s rights issues and I don’t want to ignore them’ -(Um yeah, we said feminism, not misandry… )
Initially I felt like putting them all into one of those machines where the animals pop up and you tap them with a soft mallet, but then gathered myself and realised I can respect different opinions, but, perhaps they might change their stance if they considered what feminism is to one who supports it…
Feminism is for everyone, a huge umbrella term from which you can take what you wish. It is huge and confusing and there are extremes, however the fundamental message feminism offers EVERYONE, woman with or without burnt bra/man/boy/girl is liberation and equality.
You may feel that you are respected, you are equal in society, you receive equal pay to your male counterparts at work and are never wolf whistled at when walking the dog (FYI if these apply, it is likely you are reaping the rewards of Feminism, so shouldn’t you be flying the flag?) Despite this, there are many people in our own and other countries being raped, sexually assaulted and oppressed who need us to promote Feminism (Many countries do not recognise rape as a crime, and sex is a man’s right in a marriage. Seventy four percent of women in Mali said that a husband is justified to beat his wife if she refuses to have sex with him, at home in the UK, a survey by the NSPCC on people aged between thirteen and eighteen revealed that 32% of girl and 16% of boys have experienced sexual violence…) Feminism tries to be an inclusive term which brings me on to my next point…
Due to the popular ideas of inequality and subjugation, Feminism does on occasions claim to speak for many women. It is often women without a voice, who despite their efforts, cannot be heard over the very loud noise patriarchy makes. Feminism is far reaching, it speaks for the thirteen year old girl, the forty year old man, the woman whose assault is not recognised because it is marital rape, it speaks for people whose country’s justice systems do not recognise rape as a crime, and it speaks against those who feel sexual entitlement over another.
If you feel that you’d very much like equality between the sexes, then you are indeed a Feminist. See, it is very inclusive isn’t it?