Girl guide feminism and beyond

Girl guide feminism and beyond

You don’t need to know what a third-wave feminist is to feel you are one. It all starts in primary school, when that first boy answers an argument on gender position in society by calling you a big pineapple head…

Mookies, I want you to think back to when you were five years old and just starting primary school. Back then you were strong-willed, free-spirited and completely confident in yourselves.

I’m sure that every one of you will, at some point in your primary school career, have had that ‘girls are better than boys’ argument with a boy in class mate (who will then, invariably, have gone on to call you a ‘pineapple head’).

If you had the same discussion now you would probably be accused of being a ‘feminist’. To me, that’s not a problem… I’ve gladly accepted my given social label, and am nonplussed by all stereotypes that come with it.

But, for the most part, women have given up on the cause that our predecessors for generations fought with all their hearts and souls for! There are still a few of us out there, happy to call ourselves feminist, and to take any stigma the general population may have against us… And it seems like most of us congregate here, to be honest.

If most women were asked their opinion on gender positions in society they would be very likely to say something about ‘equality’ rather than stating that men are superior. So why are women in general so unwilling to speak their minds publicly, or in the presence of men? Why are we still accepting our social positions like good little girls, and not fighting our corner as we should? Why is the concept of feminism so scary in the first place?

It is something that I truly cannot comprehend…

Guardian women’s columnist Kira Cochrane has written that a recent report has questioned the Senior Section of the Guide Association, and found that two thirds of them would not be ’embarrassed’ by being labelled ‘feminist’; however, this is hardly a representative sample. Even in an organisation which is essentially feminist, and is proud to call itself ‘the largest all-girl group in the UK’, one third of members aged 16 to 25 would not accept the label ‘feminist’ willingly. When this is the case, I find it particularly… Well, worrying, I suppose. There is no other word for it.

The reasons, on reflection, are evident: One of my teachers is a proud feministand only too happy to point this out to our history class on a semi-regular basis – she even has the Bible of Feminism on her desk… and the reactions of the male population of the classroom can only be described as animal. The examples of taunts range from the sublime to the ridiculous, and everything in between…

“Third wave feminism is a pathetic joke!”, announced one guy, the other day, to which my reply was “Yeah, because you completely understand what you’re saying…?”

“Actually, I do. I take sociology.” He taunts back, as if this makes him king. “Do you?”

Unfortunately, one of my friends interrupted at this point, before I had the chance to reply. So, I shall reply here. On the internet. For all the world to see. Yes, even you, Kingboy. My reply is this:

Does it matter that I don’t know precisely what ‘third wave feminism’ is? It does if I’m denouncing it, because then I’m denouncing something I don’t understand – which is a scared and lazy approach. However, I do know that I am strong-willed and single-minded, and that I am proud to be called any kind of feminist – third wave or otherwise. I know that you and I are equal in our capabilities, potential and social rights, at the very least, and I implore other women to make themselves very vocally clear about this, too.

Because if we don’t, who else is going to?