Saturday, 23 February 2013

First Post Goes Here


I'm a feminist. This doesn't mean I hate men, it doesn't mean I blame them for all sexism and for the less enlightened of you, no it doesn't have anything to do with lentils, bra burning or elected lesbianism (although sometimes I get close). I am a feminist because WHO WOULDN'T BE.

If you are in any doubt of what feminism means, let me fill you in. Feminism is the belief that women and men should have equal rights. That's in every way: in healthcare, education, employment, social and government representation, in the home, in the family, in the media, in sex, in comedy. The list goes on. If this strikes you as a pretty obvious notion then congratulations! You're a feminist too. If you're a guy and the term makes you feel uncomfortable, you could call yourself an 'equalist'. It's all the same thing. It's a name for a belief, and a belief which is important and strong and necessary.

SIDE NOTE HERE: For anyone who disagreed with the above ideas, stop reading now. I am not going to try to persuade you I deserve the same rights as a man. I know I do. Any trolling comments such as “It is EVOLUTION. Women are for sex, and men are the real humans, with intellect and stuff #stupidbitches” (that's actually a real comment to @EverydaySexism. Have a look here: https://twitter.com/EverydaySexism/status/305347112399405056/photo/1) are going to be treated with the contempt they deserve. Go away and try evolving.

Feminism seems kind of obvious to me. When you break it down, most people agree that women and men should have the same rights, opportunities and so on. It's just that some people don't really see the inequality when it stands. I genuinely think we've got so used to a world where it's okay to be a 'little bit sexist' that people have stopped realising that things are sexist at all. And I'm actually not just referring to sexism that demeans women,but the kind of sexism that works both ways. Gender stereotypes put everyone in traps and the sooner we can stop talking about men or women with certain unnecessary expectations in mind, the sooner everyone can feel free to just be themselves, whatever spot on the gender-linked identity scale that is.

I'm writing this blog because every day I'm encountering the kind of sexism that wears people down and makes them feel like they're no more than the names people label them with. A lot of the time it's a totally subconscious thing, and when you pick people up on saying something that 'little bit sexist', they get very defensive, because most of the time it's seen as a totally acceptable thing to say. I can understand that defensiveness, because I've felt it myself, and I'll give you a particular example:

Once, at a party, I was taking part in some big group discussion about something interesting and non-controversial and I described something that annoyed me as 'gay'. A guy in the group called me out on it and asked me if I really thought it was okay to use the word 'gay' in a derogatory and negative way. I immediately got embarrassed and defensive. It was a word that had never been commented on before, that had been used extensively at my school before I came to uni and, for me, had become almost meaningless. Also I knew that I wasn't homophobic, had a few gay friends and didn't mean it in a 'bad way'. But, as I protested my innocence, I suddenly got it: This totally isn't okay. Just because I'm used to saying this and have always said it, that doesn't actually mean it's okay. Someone who hears me say 'gay' doesn't know that I don't mean it: and the constant association of homosexuality with negativity is just wrong. I found some better adjectives and I don't use it any more. People don't need to defend sexism because they're used to it. And if we saw it for what it was, we'd all be happier sooner.

In this blog I'm hoping I can address a couple of things, and make a few more people feel like they can call themselves a feminist/equalist. It's a label with a lot of stigma and negative associations but it doesn't need to be. No one should have to feel like a freak or an extremist or an overly-sensitive-easily-offended-boring-person when they tell a group of people they're a feminist. All it means is, I'm standing up for equality. And I'm tired of feeling like I can't be proud of that. 

3 comments:

  1. Feminism is not the belief that women and men should have equal rights. Were that the case, you would find feminist supporting men's rights rather than opposing them.
    So in answer to your question "Who wouldn't be a feminist", I'd reply "Anyone who supports gender neutral equality".

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  2. Hi Bruce, sounds like we have very different ideas on what feminism means! I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you: the feminist movement was started with the aim of getting equal rights, and that's still the position I'm upholding. The feminists I know and love don't oppose men's rights and neither do I. It's a shame the word I've used to describe my beliefs offend you, but from what you've said, it sounds like the beliefs themselves shouldn't.

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