I'm Just A Girl, My Apologies?
As promised here I am on a Saturday morning ( now afternoon) typing away for my post dedicated to International Women's Day. I know this is slightly off the mark but I had a few last minute plans crop up with work and I didn't want to start writing this without 100% concentration. This is the kind of post I feel like I need to roll my sleeves up, have 5 continuous cups of coffee and lock my self in my room for a couple of hours undisturbed. Why? Because I want to discuss that touchiest of all touchy subjects with you, Feminism. And I personally don't believe it's a subject which can be approached with a half heart, it wouldn't feel right to me and so that's why unfortunately I'm 4 days behind schedule. Try not to judge.
The truth of the matter is up until recent years, I think feminism as most definitely come across like a dirty word. One you'd say with hesitation, one where you'd maybe look around to see who else was listening before you uttered it, one which would make mothers death stare and hastily cover their children's ears if mentioned close by. Historically we've shied away from this word, as if not to offend anyone and it seems that it's only been recently that we've began to question why. And for me that's one of the biggest dynamics of feminism, it's questioning why. Why do we think the way we do as a society? Why do we treat people the way we do as humans? And why is change seemingly so slow in a rapidly evolving civilisation? Why, why, why?! And more than ever before, we want answers and we're not afraid to make our voices louder and louder so everyone can hear.
We often hear the definitive answer to the question what makes a feminist as, "someone who wants equality" and that's completely true, I could never argue that. But the part that really bugs me is that I feel sometimes "Equality" is used as a band aid to cover over the scary, offensive word that is Feminism. It's almost feels like an excuse rather then a reason sometimes. It's as though asking someone if WE should have equality, is much easier on the ear then asking someone if WOMEN should have equality. It's in my opinion a decoy from the truth, for a world in which we actually having to explain why lesser treatment towards us as women is wrong? Isn't that totally insane, when you completely break it down? I'm having to spend my life as a human being proving my worth because of my gender. No wonder we're getting louder, we're growing impatient. Yes equality is the aim but let's not forget the bare bones of feminism, it's empowering women. It's giving us all, every single one of us ladies on this planet, a togetherness to stand up and say, I want change. It strengths us as part of a society in which we've always been played out as the under dog and that to me is the real beauty behind the cause.
No one can argue gender stereotypes still exist. In many ways we have to face facts, that from the beginning of mankind this stereotype has been ingrained in to us and it's a hard one to shake off. I get that. Well, I say "no one can argue" but that's the problem, we do argue because we have to argue. What I refuse to understand is this attitude to almost deny us as women the existence of stereotyping when we experiences regularly. In fact I'd say daily. We've undoubtedly come a long, long way in our fight for equal rights but we are no way near the finish line on this and I keep coming back to the same point, I can't believe we're still even having to explain this and prove feminism isn't dated. That it's as relevant today in western culture as it was 100 years ago. Let me explain with an example and here's one I made earlier...
About two or three years ago I was innocently sat working away at my desk when my colleague next to me started discussing a recent campaign ran by Elle around the theme "this is what a feminist looks like". various celebrities wore the statement on t-shirts in a bide to raise awareness that EVERYONE should be a feminist, not just women (again, theme of the day- I can't believe we're having to explain this shit). He turned around to me and made the sneering remark, "Oh Feminism is so on trend right now, everyones saying their a feminist these days". WHAT. Seriously? I genuinely had to take a moment and ask myself if I was possibly hearing this right? Yes ok, I think we can all admit that Feminism (especially at the moment) seems like a political message turned into a fashion concept. It's become a gimmick on a T-shirt and an inspirational quote for your Instagram and hey, lets be real maybe some people are partaking with a little less integrity then others but, and here's the bit I get stuck on.... Why on earth is that a bad thing? Heightened awareness for such an important and political message isn't damaging. Fact. In fact it's a relief to me it's seemingly everywhere; social media, magazines, your favourite brand... Good! It means more women and most importantly YOUNG GIRLS are seeing this message and are now, quickly learning feminism isn't a shameful thing. It's something to be proud of and what's more, you're not alone.
"Feminism is just a trend"... Ugh! I hear this and I honestly feel like we're banging our heads on a brick wall! I asked the person if he realised just how belittling that sounded? Would you ever say religion was so on trend right now? Politics was so this season? Why not human rights? Are they just a fad? Why sneer at Feminism? Because it's about a group of females joining together and fighting for something, I'm sorry but that's the truth. It's a gender stereotype and the scary thing is a lot of people don't even realise they're using it. I experience it frequently on my social media. Some creepy guy will think it's perfectly standard practise to send me messages using innuendos, asking me questions which make me uncomfortable or are just down right inappropriate. Not to keep repeating myself but again it comes back to the questions of WHY? Because I'm a women who puts herself and her life out there for the world to see? Why does that means I'm asking for it? Why is there the assumption by some that I do it to be found attractive or simply to be hit on? I know this is shocking and difficult to grasp by those who do it but male validation is NEVER a priority for me nor will it ever be. In the past I've named and shamed a few of the culprits on my Twitter account, partly because the majority of creepy messages I receive are just laughable (I mean come on, I have a boyfriend for starters) and partly because I want to make it abundantly clear, this kind of behaviour is not acceptable. I'm a woman but my aim is never to please. I refuse to be objectified because society tells us all that this is the norm and women are simply to expect it. Because that's what they should live for. To be found pretty. Why does everything I endeavour to do in life have to, in some way, come back round to involve my face or my body? It's so bloody tedious! Please, spare me!
One of the main reasons I've come to realise I love having a blog and a social media account, is because it gives me an opportunity to have a voice. To speak candidly about my thoughts and opinions and to give others the chance to speak out and agree (should they wish to). It's an opportunity to show support and guidance to fellow women who can so often feel like they're drowning in this innate pressure to become the pretty little thing society urges them to be. I will be damned if I use what little voice I have (seriously, it's so squeaky) to start making girls feel anything other than the best they can be. You're not an under dog and beauty doe not have to be your one redeeming quality in life. Contrary to misleading popular belief, you can honestly be anything you want in life through being you. Never let your looks take the credit for how far you come and how much you've achieved.
Feminism to me is about knowing your worth and respecting it. It's about respecting who you are, where you are and how hard you've worked to get there. It's about learning to love your strengths and your talents. Accept your weaknesses but never letting them become you. It's about continually fighting for your place, your voice and above all change. It's about never being scared to be defiant and never being scared to question why. It's about understanding you are never obliged to apologies or make excuses up for the cause you believe it. Above all it's about support. Seeing all the amazing and beautiful words we all had to share on International Women's Day as never made me feel more proud and more strong as woman. The love and compassion we show one another is truly invaluable and I'd like to think it will be for generations to come.
Grab her by the pussy? Mate, not today. We're too busy grabbing life by the balls.
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