Tuesday, 20 March 2012
I recently had a seminar on feminism in which the tutor asked the group if anyone was a feminist. Only one girl put their hand up, and that wasn't me. Why didn't I? Because I wasn't really sure what it meant to be a feminist, and I was aware of the social stigma attached to giving yourself that label - I don't want people to see me as a hairy, bra-burning lesbian now do I?
It's not just me that shared these misunderstandings, after I actually learnt about feminism I watched a video on YouTube in which a famous feminist, Naomi Wolf, discusses feminism today.(it's here if you like). In the comments section was an ongoing debate, because over half of the viewers of that video seemed violently opposed to feminism, because they believed it to be anti-male; sexist the other way. This is the most liked comment on the video:
"You can go ahead and support feminism.. or you can support humanism, two very different things. I personally do not encourage gender favouritism."
Here's the massive mistake "I personally do not encourage gender favouritism" : Bingo! that makes you a feminist! And a masculinist, really. Because feminism is not about hating men, it's about hating the oppression of woman by men. It's about wanting equality between sexes, with both having the same expectations and representations and opportunities. If men had been oppressed for centuries (until about 1980), then i'd be a masculinist instead!
So, here's the big idea, anyone that believes in equality between sexes, is a feminist. So really, i'd hope, that all woman are in fact feminists.And men too. You haven't got to be a braless, ball-busting career woman, you just have to believe that you should have all the same choices that men have. Even if that means the choice to stay at home and look after your kids.
I am a feminist. I hope you are too.