Lets start with a simple question:
Do you believe that a person’s gender or sex should limit the way they live, how they behave, what they can do with their body or how they are treated?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’, then I’d kindly ask that you press that little red ‘x’ at the top right handside side of the screen, because this post is not for you and we are not going to be friends.
If you’ve answered ‘no’ then I have some news for you; you are a feminist.
It took me a long time to identify as a feminist.
For years, I ascribed to the popular media image of feminists as men hating, bra burning, whingers, who sucked all the fun out of everything and were hell bent on wiping out anything male all together.
And then I started to look for myself.
And I realised that even in the twenty-first century, we need feminism.
Feminism is not about hating men. It’s not about dictating on dress codes and it’s not about the rise of one gender above the other.
It’s about equality and choice and fairness. It’s about creating a society where everyone can be themselves, without judgement or fear. It’s about people being safe and not having to worry about hiding.
It’s not about women, it’s about people.
There are plenty of better educated, more erudite people who have written about this topic before, but it felt important for me to say something on it too.
Particuarly in a week where we saw an intelligent, highly educated, experienced woman beaten by a man who has openly bragged about sexual assult, who has no experience in public office and who seems intent on dragging his country back to the dark ages. If that isn’t the patriarchy at work, I don’t know what is.
And this is also the week that makes the point in the year where women around the world effectively work for free for the rest of the year, because of the gender wage gap. How is this possible in a modern age?
It’s possible because our society still views women as second class citizens.
And that won’t change until we stop teaching girls not to get raped and instead start teaching boys not to rape. It won’t change until we stop teaching that ‘boys don’t cry’ and start teaching everyone that it’s okay to express what they feel. It won’t change until the glass ceiling is not only shattered but removed all together. It won’t change until we accept that gender is a spectrum and not everyone fits neatly into the male or female category. It won’t change until there is no need to ‘come out’, because those that don’t fit the heterosexual mold no longer have to hide. It won’t change until all people – regardless of skin colour, religious belief, gender, sex or sexual orientation – are accepted as people.
It won’t change until feminism stops being a movement and becomes the status quo.
This is an obviously huge topic and I don’t pretend to be perfect or have all the answers.
But I know this; I am a Feminist.
And one day, I hope that word doesn’t have a weird connotation.