I’m a massive feminist.
There. I said it. And it’s all Hermione’s fault.
Yes I’m jumping on the Emma Watson kicked ass at the UN bandwagon. But not because I’m trying hard to write a topical and newsworthy blog, I promise. Rather because her short, eloquent and heartfelt speech summed up what I’ve been feeling, but struggling to articulate for some time.
You see I’ve always known in my heart that I’m a feminist. I think that really any civilized, right thinking person with even an ounce of compassion in their old bones is. But, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, it’s been hard for me to align myself with various the misdefinitions and pseudo iterations of the word that have been bandied around. Particularly in recent times as strength in the modern feminism movement grows and resistance against it naturally, if temporarily, bolsters in response.
I couldn’t align myself with the vision of an angry, man and make up hating harpy. I couldn’t align myself with the idea that feminism would only succeed once we had crushed all those possessed of a penis, banished them from board rooms across the land and chained them to the kitchen sink for all eternity, “just so they know how it feels. “
What I felt in my heart was nothing to do with putting men down to raise women up, but to do with true equality, and let me explain what I mean by that because I don’t strictly believe that “we are all equal”.
For example, I cannot run as fast as Usain Bolt. I am not as wealthy or as famous as Oprah. I do not have the bone structure or the thigh gap of Karlie Kloss. I can’t write a song like Prince. And none of them can rap Baby Got Back with a hairbrush mic quite like me. (It's ok Usain, your gold medals will console you). We’re not equal, as in we're not the same. But all living beings, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, education, ability, background, financial situation or anything other factor you might use to define or discriminate against a person with, are equally worthy. That to me is the true definition of equality. To realise that wherever you may land on a scale of wealth or sexuality or gender or fame that you are just as worthy as the next person and deserve, by your very existence, to be treated as such.
For me, that is what feminism asks of society. It asks for women and girls to be treated as equally worthy as men and boys, and as a byproduct of its request it requires everyone to be treated as equally worthy, including allowing men and their masculine role to be less rigid, less macho, and more sensitive, open and emotive. It asks for mutual love, compassion and respect. And it asks for support from those who have louder, more oft listened to voices.
I haven’t done a scientific study on this but I’m going to go for a sweeping generalization anyway, because you know, I can. I’d say most women, on the topic of feminism and gender equality, feel the same way as me. We’re not all plotting a mass uprising of the female of the species led by a mutant 50 foot woman who will lead us to victory over our husbands, fathers and brothers with her lethal Louboutins .
Whether it’s stopping female genital mutilation in Africa, addressing the pay gap the world over, or cutting out the low level sexism we experience every day: wolf whistles from builders, bare bosoms in national newspapers, condescending remarks about “women drivers”, we would just like to be treated like human beings. Go on, try us. We’ve been pushing them out of our vaginas for millions of years. I’ll wager we can take it. #heforshe