Feminist and Proud
Feminist and Proud! November 2016.
I was getting sick of being told to stop ‘going on’ about this word because it just upsets so many people. So I did what I thought would be the most productive thing and decided to go on about it even more.
Have you ever been in a club and someone has come too close to you, invading your personal space? Didn’t this annoy you? Have you ever felt like your emotions might stop people from liking you? Don’t you hate it when you don’t feel like you can express yourself because it doesn’t conform to the stereotype of the gender you are? How ridiculous is it that so many girls don’t get to be in education or learn in so many parts of the world today? I think it’s outrageous how girls have are married off at the age of nine in some places. How unfair is it that in some places of work, men have to wear ties? Similarly in some places women have to wear heels. Crazy.
I find it really shocking that out of every male member of my family, I have never seen a single one of them cry. That is not just shocking, it’s disturbing. I was horrified when a man I went on a date with told me I was not to pay for anything because it was his job to ‘win me round.’ I am infuriated at the thought that the amount of times I have been judged or treated wrongly is often because of my gender. I find it horrendous that I was sexually assaulted during a job, because I was a young girl and therefore he knew he could ‘get away with it.’ I am driven to despair by the fact that my male friends commented on my appearance when I wasn’t wearing makeup, saying to each other behind my back that I ‘looked rough.’ I am exasperated by my male bosses, (this is a workplace where there are eight managers and eight of them are male) who very rarely have anything more to say to me that doesn’t involve my appearance. My male boss comments on my hair, or lack of makeup with every single encounter. I am fuming that one of my male friends tried it on with me, just because I no longer had a boyfriend and thought that meant that it was OK to touch me. The attitude of ‘I won’t cross a man but I can cross a woman.’ I am heartbroken at the thought that the highest killer of young and middle aged men, is suicide, beating heart disease and cancer, because men can’t cope with the pressure of locking up their feelings. It is a human action to cry and to share how you feel, not a female one.
I’m shocked that our own wives, mothers and daughters are being paid less than men for the same work. I am horrified by the fact that men are treated as villains or rapists no matter how innocent they may be. Oh and get this – on my first day of working at a new place, my manager after showing me around, waited until my back was turned and then took a picture of my arse and sent it to his friends. This is how I was introduced to my male co-workers, as an object.
I am deeply saddened that the first thoughts that go through my head when I am rejected by a man, are that I am not good enough. I must have too much weight on me, I must not be sexy enough, I must be unattractive or annoying or too talkative or self centred. He is perfect, I am the problem. I am saddened that I find out after break ups, my ex boyfriends have felt that they could not express their feelings to me and are ashamed when they cry. I am ashamed that I am terrified when I see a male friend or family member cry because it is so unusual.
I find it unfair that as I write this I am going to be shot down by people who say I am ‘venting’ or ‘whining’. I look forward to seeing the comments from some of my friends who, sadly for them will play right into my hands and prove my point.
I spent a week or two conducting a social experiment just to see if the results were as predictable as I thought. I decided to ask random friends and acquaintances a simple question: were they a feminist? I was surprised and saddened to find that my social experiment proved what I thought to be right. People are afraid to identify as feminists. So few could answer without a ‘if that means…’ or ‘depends’ at the start of their answer. It is ignorance that is the trouble with this word.
Feminism by definition is the belief that men are women should have equal rights. That is all. Not man-hating, not women only, nothing of the sort. There are people who use the term negatively to suit their own means as is the case with lots of things in the world, but these people are not feminists.
Call it equality or gender equality, if you agree with one or more of any of the points in this article, whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, white or black, a banker or a basket ball player, like it or not, you are a feminist.
From now on I am not going to ask people if they are a feminist. I am going to ask if they believe that men and women deserve equal rights. Then I will tell them that they are a feminist.