I’ve always struggled with the idea of feminism, I’ve had a twisted view on it since it first entered my world. Firstly I went to an all-girls school whose colours were based around those of the Suffragettes, we were taught from a young age that we could be anything we wanted to be and that our sex shouldn’t get in the way of that. If the Suffragettes could risk their lives so that we could vote, then we could work hard to make sure our votes, as well as our choices in life, mattered. I was surrounded by women who ran their own businesses, had accomplished amazing heights and who on top of it all were turning up to schools to teach us young impressionable girls that we had to take life by the horns and make of it whatever we wanted, real-life girl bosses!
So you’d think I’d instantly pick up the feminism flag and start flying it right?! Well no….
Despite being surrounded by inspirational and impressive women. I still thought feminism was a bit….crude….in want of a better word. Whenever I imaged a feminist, I imagined an angry woman shouting over nothing, probably burning her bra at the same time and declaring she would never marry because ‘f*ck the patriarchy’.
When in fact, I’m not an angry person, I quite like wearing my bra and one day I hope to get married….so this view I had of ‘feminism’ didn’t relate at all to me, or the person I wanted to be.
I knew however that it was my twisted view on the idea of feminism and not feminism itself that I disliked, so I made a decision to delve more into the topic and figure out what it was truly about and why I imagined feminism as an 'angry semi-naked white woman'.
1. Understand the definition of feminism
Firstly all I needed to do was google the definition of Feminism I understand it a little more than I ever did, ‘the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes’. Which is simple, equality should be fair and everyone’s right, I understood that clearly, but I’d never experienced inequality, therefore I slipped back into the mind-set of seeing as it didn’t affect me and I, therefore, didn’t need to advocate for it.
Thankfully Emma Watson put me right, “[Feminism]’s not about us convincing you that gender equality is worth engaging in only because there might be something in it for you, or in it for your sister or your mother. The question is, what’s in it for humans?”.
Read that quote again. Digest it. Accept it. You’re now a feminist, move on.
2. Listen to this Ted Talk on feminism
You also need to listen to a marvellous Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one of Barack Obama’s favourite authors, it’s a great half an hour talk around why we should all be classed as feminists. The speech is so inspiring that Beyonce even included part of it in her 2013 song ‘Flawless’. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know to watch the clip then I don’t know what will!
3. Read this book on feminism
A great little book I love is by Mary Beards ‘Women & Power’. It was a Christmas present from my sister one year and one I still treasure to this day. Mary Beard in as few as 100 pages, speaks boldly about how women have been told and controlled to be silent for the past few thousand years. She makes references to Ancient Greece and how boys weren’t classed as men till they had silenced a woman, which although you might laugh off at first as okay that’s ancient history. It’s not ancient history….the Harvey Weinstein scandal highlights how women are still being silenced to this day, purely down to the fact that men still have the upper hand in the power structures and can force silence upon women.
4. Read this article on feminism
I stumbled across an article once which made me think twice, so much so that I bookmarked it so I could refer back to again when I’d digested it a little more. It wasn’t anything that used fancy words, quoted people I’d never heard of, or used over-arching psychology theories as to why we all think a certain way about feminism. In essence, it didn’t over complicate anything, what it did do is simply state 39 reasons why we should all be feminists. And I couldn’t believe there were so many reasons, that I hadn’t even thought of, that were ridiculously simple and obvious! Like why contraception is still a contentious issue but Viagra isn’t?! Or why in domestic abuse cases we ask why the women stayed so long, instead of why did the man ABUSE her?! Read it.
5. Don't be an idiot...
And to simply sum it up, I’ll leave you with another Emma Watson quote, because let’s be honest, she’s a legend. ‘If you stand for equality, then you’re a feminist. Sorry to tell you.’ And if you don’t stand for equality, then you’re an idiot.
I was once confused about what feminism was and therefore I was scared of it and didn’t want to associate with the label. Now I know that feminism is simply being a decent person! Wanting equality for everyone, knowing when things are wrong and pointing it out.
Blog post author: Hattie Campbell
Hattie is a twenty-something Influencer Marketing Executive from Manchester. who is passionate about providing people, especially girls, a secure place to ask questions, that they might have previously thought were silly.
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