“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” – Rebecca West
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the feminist movement. In fact, chances are that every single one of you is a feminist. I’m not talking about Sheila’s Wheels or bra-burning… that’s just public relations and radicalism (you can decide which is which). I’m talking about the fundamental belief that everyone, despite colour, creed, religion or gender, is equal. Which, despite the occasional dispute, can only be a good thing, yes?
It amazes me how many people (men and women) believe the stereotypes generated around feminism. This is where, I think, the problem with discrimination against feminists starts. I’ve been told that, in order to be a feminist, I can’t have a boyfriend. That all feminists were whiny, ugly women who were pissed off about the fact that they couldn’t get a date. That they wanted men to be below them. That they all want to live in a segregated society where sperm is harvested and men are like slaves.
I really hope that no one – deep down – honestly believes this kind of slander.
Feminists come in all different shapes, genders, ethics, sexualities and belief structures. I am a feminist. I am not LGBT, I have a wonderful boyfriend. I am not unattractive nor do I have trouble finding friends. I do not aim to get one up on men in my society… and, bloody hell, the last thing on my mind is burning my bra or running away to join a sisterhood commune! Radical feminists exist – I’m not going to pretend that they don’t. But just as fundamental religious groups do not reflect the whole of that religion, radical feminists are a very small minority and their views do not reflect the whole.
What makes me angry, what upsets me to the core, is when people claim that feminism is not needed in today’s society. We already have equality, right?
- In 2005/06 – 285,000 women were the victims of domestic violence in comparison with 72,000 male victims.
- Women account for two-thirds of the world’s adult illiteracy rates.
- An estimated 82% of female prostitutes have been physically assaulted by customers and 68% have been raped.
- In 2006, only 20% of MPs were women.
- See here for more.
As a feminist, I’m concerned with all gender inequality, including paternal rights within custody battles and adoption. Men, women, trans, anyone should be treated in the same manner. If a gay, male couple want to adopt a little girl, they should be able to! If a man takes better care of his children than his wife in a custody battle, the children should stay with him! If a woman hits a bloke, she should expect a punch right back and vice versa – but then no one should be punching anyone in the first place!
This is about levelling everybody, regardless of which gender they identify with and what lies between their legs.