In the defence of feminism

Warning: may ruffle some feathers.

It’s been 100 years since Suffragettes won the right for women to vote in the UK. To think that a mere 100 years ago women weren’t allowed to vote because it was perceived that our measly woman-sized brains couldn’t handle the responsibility is completely absurd and frankly quite terrifying. In the past 100 years we have come a long way in the UK. But sometimes I fear that there is still a long way to go.

If I said that I faced sexism every minute of every day of my life, I would actually be lying. I genuinely meant it when I said that we had come a long way, and as a woman in my early 20s, I would say that a lot of my friends and the people around me are incredibly liberal. They don’t believe that women belong in the kitchen, they don’t believe that women should be seen and not heard, and they certainly don’t think our only purpose in this life is to have children. If we’ve already come so far, do we really still need feminism?

The last week, whilst on my lunch break and with no need to ‘pop to Zara’ I decided to watch something on BBC Iplayer. I’m not massively into TV and usually find that between juggling a full time job, socialising with my friends, seeing my boyfriend and exercising, I just don’t have the time to watch it *first world problems, I know*. I stumbled across a Stacey Dooley documentary which focused on Russia’s war on women, and it would be an understatement to say that it left my blood boiling. In this specific instalment, Dooley explored the role of woman in Russian society, and the country’s relationship with domestic abuse. She spoke to various different people to suss exactly what their views were and how they felt women should be treated. The phrase which kept reoccurring was that if your husband beats you then it means he loves you. How is it that in 2018, women are still being subjected to such terrible behaviour?

Feminism has been receiving a bad wrap in recent times, and as someone who regards themself as a feminist, I really do think this is a shame. Feminism is a heavy word that carries an awful lot of stigma. If you even dare to type the word into a search engine, you will quickly be confronted with article after article of misguided information, the main theme being that if you’re a feminist, you must hate men.

And this is simply not true.

“I think women who reject the term don’t know what it means. It’s not a concept you reject. If you’re a feminist, you believe in equal opportunities.” – Lena Dunham

This isn’t about burning our bras. And it certainly isn’t about hating men.

As far as I’m concerned, everybody should be a feminist. Male or female, old or young, it shouldn’t matter.the movement is not about receiving special treatment, or believing that anyone that has a vagina is superior and therefore can do whatever she likes. Feminism is about the equality of the sexes, and in theory who wouldn’t want that? It’s about equal opportunity for all, no matter what your gender may be. The idea that women aren’t paid the same as men when they are doing exactly the same job, purely because of their gender is absolutely ludicrous in theory, which makes it all the more offensive that this is actually happening in modern day Britain *i’m looking at you the BBC*.

So what does feminism mean to me personally? For me, it’s looking at the women around me who I love and who I consider to be my role models, and knowing that they have a choice; a choice to stay at home and be a doting parent, or to go earn some money and be treated fairly in the work place. A choice to walk home, if you so wish, on your own on a night out without the fear of being attacked or sexually assaulted. I strongly believe that female empowerment does not have to come at the expense of men. This isn’t about competing against one another. This should be about unity.

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