Firstly, if you’re reading this the day of publishing, HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY!! This should, of course, be the day to write about feminism, gender equality and empower other women. That being said, every day should. Every day should be one to celebrate being female, to show other women that they are beautiful and strong and capable, to promote feminism, to speak out and talk about past experiences. So, without further discussion, this post is highlighting my views on feminism and women and the highs and lows of being a girl in a patriarchal society.
Disclaimer: Yes, I am privileged in many ways. I’m white, middle class, living in a developed country and not in any state of poverty or danger, and straight. The only way I am not privileged is the fact I am a girl.
Why am I a feminist? Why do women think they are unequal? Why is that fair? Why are the rules different? How come women want to be treated better? Why do they get to say they should be seen as higher than men? Feminism, contrary to popular belief, isn’t about women wanting to be better than men or have better rights than men. They just want to be equal to men; the definition of feminism is literally ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.’ Further, the definition of a feminist is ‘a person who supports feminism.’
Both of these support the fact that feminism is not a group in which ladies gather to express feelings of hatred towards all men ever and discuss how far superior they are to males, but a group that promotes gender equality over anything else. During the entire history of humankind, women have been the inferior gender, deemed the weaker and less important gender. In Saudi Arabia the law was only just passed stating that women can drive, which is insane. In 2017 women are granted permission to do a very basic skill that is needed frequently throughout their life. From a selfish point of view, my own luck of living and being brought up in – quite – a developed country in the manner of gender equality is well, lucky; those living in many other parts of the world, where people are less open minded and fair and more traditional, may still be living under the impression that they are inferior to men. Imagine.
Recently I have become more feminist, partly after reading a few of Olivia’s Instagram posts, where she talks about feminism and why she supports it, and why you should too; her voice really did empower me and give me encouragement to continue writing this post after saving it as a draft for a few years time, worried my opinions were not wanted. I’ve also begun thinking into things a little more, developing my opinions, rethinking past decisions and actually talking about issues such as gender inequality and men being the superior gender. Starting to make your own decisions, have (justified) opinions on topical subjects such as this one and developing your own views are one of the best things about growing up; you can find yourself and find a voice. Another reason that may be the backbone of my decision is the news at the moment, and people’s views. Dozens of sexual harassment and rape claims are now coming out, even in professions such as acting and sport. The one that upset me most was the Larry Nassar news, after professional team USA gymnasts speak out about experiences that have scarred them emotionally and physically and given them an unforgettable experience of inferiority and powerlessness. Imagine, being a young child going to a sport that you love, and having that happen to you. Not even just you, your teammates and other young girls, dozens. This is 2018 and things like this are still happening, and not just in gymnastics; several actresses have also come out and talked openly about their own stories regarding sexual abuse. It seems that women are fearful of sharing their stories, ashamed perhaps, worried about any backlash or disapproval they may receive. This is awful.
Worse, what really sickened me were a few interviews regarding the subject, where men talked about women ‘asking’ for such things, or being ‘provocative’. Yes, some women may wear shorter skirts and wear more makeup and seem a little overly friendly. Some may seem as if they are initiating something, but this does not mean it is okay or acceptable for you to make a move when she is unaware, or force your own way. Women should be allowed to dress in whatever they like and whatever makes them feel good without being labelled as flirtatious, inappropriate or worse. Makeup is an acceptable thing to wear and does not make a woman fake, and similarly, going bare faced and not putting seven hours into your appearance does not make her ugly. When will people accept this and not keep coming up with a never ending list of adjectives for women depending on what they are wearing.
Finally, I want to end this post with a more positive note and describe how you can help. Although gender quality is still a subject that must be solved and we still have a long way to go, it is getting there; look at Saudi Arabia’s updated laws regarding women’s ability to drive. You can spread positivity and confidence by complimenting others, having an optimistic and bright mindset and respecting the opinions of others. You can also donate to a hundred and one charities promoting gender equality and safety for women and girls in other countries. Below is a list of foundations, blogs and people that support feminism and being female.