I am a feminist; that doesn’t mean I despise every man who roams the earth nor am I aggressive and I don’t burn bras. There’s a lot of talk centered around feminists at the moment and along the way it’s picked up a negative impression when really the definition is easy to grasp.
I’m no stranger to gender equality and I hardheartedly accept that males suffer the effects of societies constructs too. However, the effects on women are somewhat significant.
I’ll start by drawing up a list of some of the reasons I label myself a feminist:
- Because as a female, I am terrified of walking home alone at night
- Because cat calling is not a compliment and it emphasizes the sexualization of women. I question what makes men believe it is appropriate and wonder why it is not met with a smile
- Because my body should not determine what I get paid; the current gap is at a shocking 13.9% with full time jobs
- Because 98% of those who are trafficked are women and girls
- Because “like a girl” and “pussy” is viewed as an insult; what makes my gender insulting to people and for individuals to believe it’s something to be ashamed of, a girl isn’t weak
- Because periods are met with disgust yet are the reason we’re all here
- Because a male won’t accept your lack of interest when they hit on you and the only escape is saying “I have a boyfriend” as they have more respect for another male they’ve never met rather than the female standing right before them
- Because when I was younger I wasn’t allowed to play certain sports because “I’m a girl”
- Because from a very young age girls are indoctrinated to please men; we’re reminded that with masculinity comes freedom, and with femininity come restrictions
- Because I have a voice that deserves to be heard
- Because girls can be saviours and heroes to, not just your generalised prince
- Because standing for women’s rights doesn’t mean I need to be judged
- Because being a feminist is not a phase
- Because I was told I only supported Hillary Clinton because I’m a feminist
- Because men can be feminists too
- Because in Saudi Arabia, women still cannot vote or drive
- Because it’s been studied that one in every three women will be sexually assaulted at some point in her lifetime, most likely by someone that she knows
- Because gender quotas exist and they shouldn’t be required
- Because from a young age I was taught how to challenge a man if I ever came into trouble and that shouldn’t have ever been necessary
- Because impossible beauty standards are forced upon women in order to be “beautiful” when really none of us know the definition of beauty
- Because I participated in a large debate and I was one of very few girls among hundreds of males because it’s a “boisterous thing to do”
- Because women only make up 22% of MPs in parliament yet make up 51% of the population
- Because change cannot occur without awareness
- Because women are still expected to cook and clean
- Because if a woman is sexually assaulted the first question that comes is “what were they wearing?”
This leads into one of my biggest concerns and I must highlight the issue of over sexualising women. Cat-calling, wolf whistling, beeping. Countless times I’ve walked down the street and been wolf whistled or beeped at and the individual is shocked when it is not met with a “thank-you” or a smile. I’ve also been told not to wear certain items of clothes as it “will give off the wrong impression” or it may “make a guy come on to you”. My clothes don’t invite these things, what I wear expresses who I am and should not be deemed as an invitation. Slut shaming.
Perhaps you’ve heard the term slut shaming but you don’t fully understand what it means. Slut-shaming is the experience of being labeled a sexually out-of-control girl or woman and then being punished socially for possessing this identity. Slut-shaming has become normalized and omnipresent; ultimately slut shaming is the new sexism.
Wearing an ambitious outfit doesn’t determine if I am a slut. A female is allowed to love themselves and upload pictures in a bikini and wear whatever the hell they want. Let’s face it, if a male were to upload a topless picture nobody would question it. Perhaps it’s time we should educate others and teach society not to over sexualise women and instead teach everyone a bit of respect. After all, silence is compliance.
This post was triggered from the recent international women’s day and the women’s marches that took place earlier this year.
Thanks for reading my post and I would love for you to share it.
All the love, Jess x