Friday, 30 January 2015

The F Word


One thing I have always shied away from writing about is feminism. Not that I'm not a feminist. But purely  because I sometimes feel ignorant on the subject. Like it's this big gang and even though I want to be a part of it, I'm terrified of saying something stupid. And I think that this is the problem with feminism in girls these days. Often many of us are scared of saying something stupid.

I think of myself as a feminist because I believe in equality. To me it's not about gender per se but about being paid the same salary as the person doing the same job as me. Whether they are male or female. Forty years older or twenty years younger. It's about not being spoken to like dirt by a pompous and arrogant man who immediately turns on the charm when my male boss takes over. It annoys me when I am referred to as bossy for behaviour that would be labelled as assertive in a man. I would be angry and upset if I were judged more on my appearance than on my capability and it riles me when I see it happen time and time again. It's about not being groped on a packed subway in New York by a dirty old git because there was so many people on the train that he knew he could get away with. But any sort of abuse, be it rape or domestic violence is still a crime and can still be committed against either sex. To me it's about being treated fairly. Rather than labelling each gender as this or that.

I guess that everyone's interpretation of feminism is different. But sometimes I worry that I am not a good feminist. And it causes me to keep quiet. And I think that there are other girls out there just like me who want to have an opinion on it but are intimidated by the amazing staunch and active feminists who are so fantastically perfect at making their voice heard that they sort of shame their quieter and more timid counterparts into the shadows. Don't misunderstand me though. We need these women and I am proud to call some of them friends. But I do worry sometimes I am letting the side down.

 I'm an educated girl. I have a degree and like to think of myself as pretty clued up. And I am certainly not one to shy away from having my own opinions. But I like to express my femininity. I like to wear skirts that show off my legs and as long as I am not being pestered then I don't mind the odd admiring glance or (dare I say it) wolf whistle. Does that make me non-feminist? I hate DIY and I adore cooking. So I always cook and he always fixes stuff. So am I a turncoat? I've never taken much interest in mortgage payments or dealing with gas and electricity bills. And although I have shown myself to be self-sufficient in these areas since becoming a single mum, I've happily settled into relationships in the past where I've taken care of putting food in the fridge and petrol in the car and left my other half to deal with the nitty gritty of every day living. Does that make me against my own side?

Of course it doesn't. I am aware that you can do all these things and still have strong feminist ideals and views. And that I have these in abundance. But the world of feminism can be a scary and daunting place. And I think that a lot of clever girls who have a lot of things to say tend to keep very quiet sometimes. 

And I think that's a great big feminist shame.

8 comments:

P said...

I definitely believe you can be feminist in different ways and liking to cook or not wanting to do DIY doesn't make you less feminist. I agree with you about equality and not labellng a gender too.

The thing I detest most though is when it's implied you can't be a feminist if you don't hate men. That infuriates me.x

duck in a dress said...

I understand where you're coming from, I've never written anything about feminism as I know if I did, I'd probably be shot down from everyone. I don't like saying I'm a feminist (because of the some of the negative connotations of the word) but I'm completely 100% for equality and choice, both for women, men and everyone in between. xx

Gwen - TheFoodieHistorian said...

I am completely with you on this one. It makes me quite angry that we're not allowed, or able, or comfortable, with exploring our opinions on feminism and equality because someone else dictates that they're not good enough or 'right'.

Michelle Outside London said...

I couldn't agree more, sometimes it does feel like our littler voices get drowned out and that is such a shame.
I did dip my toe into feminist posting after a particularly un-feminist incident (with another woman surprisingly) and was pretty delighted with the response. Not everyone agreed with what I said but they were polite and constructive enough to express it properly. I'm pleased I was brave, an extra voice can't hurt can it?
M x Life Outside London

Dawn Young said...

Totally. And that horrible man-hating, bra burning stereotype is still so prevalent.

Dawn Young said...

Amen.

Dawn Young said...

Yes. Exactly!

Dawn Young said...

Totally! We need more girls to speak up x