I’ve tried to write this multiple times, and each time I struggle. The words don’t transfer from my head to paper correctly, and it all turns into a jumble of nonsensical rubbish. But I will try again, and I will continue to try until I am able.
I consider myself a feminist. Even writing that sentence I struggled to not hedge around the issue, because the reality is that feminism is still considered a dirty word. We so often see a stereotype being formed of a feminist – an extremist who refers to themselves as a ‘womyn’ and doesn’t adhere to society’s standards by not shaving their legs. Some feminists choose that path, and that is fine, but it is time that we recognise that feminism comes in all shapes, sizes, and genders. We need to once and for all realise that ‘feminist’ ≠ man hater.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary (and for those apt with pop culture, Beyoncé’s Flawless) defines a feminist as someone who believes in the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. It states nothing else. A feminist can literally be anyone who holds this belief – not just females.
Recently I’ve been struggling with the concept of feminism, and why, in 2015, all young females don’t understand the importance of it. While feminism and equal rights are important for everyone, it is the young women of our generation who will be continuing on the work that our predecessors began until all genders are equal. Yesterday I was told that spending so much time worrying about feminism when there were ‘far worse problems’ in the world was ‘unhealthy’. I was told that because the issues I am passionate about are seen as ‘less important’ in others eyes, I should not be so vocal about them.
Here lies the issue. The less we speak about problems, the more they grow. This is true for a multitude of issues within today’s society, but for now I’ll just focus on one.
It’s been a pretty crappy time for women of late. Two females per week have died at the hands of domestic violence in Australia this year, International Women’s Day saw Tony Abbott hold at celebration at a men’s only club, and Meghan Trainor’s latest offering gave us charming lyrics that implied that if her husband tells her she’s beautiful she’ll have sex with him and be the ‘perfect wife’.
We need to realise a few things here – feminism means EQUALITY. It doesn’t mean making women better than men, it doesn’t mean putting men down, and it’s not something just for women to partake in. To be able to develop equal rights for everyone, we need to have everyone on board.
I have been disadvantaged due to my genetic makeup, but I understand that I am lucky. I live in a country where I can do all I can to make an excellent life for myself. Extreme forms of inequality still exist all over the world. Women still can’t vote, drive, or leave the house without male guardianship.
I have been disadvantaged due to my genetic makeup, but I also understand that I am unlucky. I do not feel safe walking to my car at night for fear of what others may do to me. I must be conscious of the clothes I wear, lest others make assumptions of my promiscuity based on my outfit choices. Last night two separate men grabbed my ass at a concert, just because they felt it was their right.
I have been disadvantaged due to my genetic makeup, but I will not let it keep me down. I will continue to be vocal about this issue until people realise that it matters, and I encourage all people who feel the same to follow in my footsteps. I am strong, I am independent, and will not let the fact that I was born with certain chromosomes be a determining factor in what I can achieve in life. I am capable of doing anything and everything I want to do in life, and so is every other person out there. Females – you rock. You are amazing humans with the capabilities to do amazing things. Don’t let yourself be afraid of trying to achieve greatness. Males – you rock, too. Let’s continue this push for equality until things change. Equal pay, equal rights, equal everything.