For a lot of my generation this seems to have become a dirty word. I was raised by a mother who believes in equality, in there being no difference between men and women's abilities to do a job. Yes we are physically different, and yes we possess different brains (women's develop faster and tend to be larger apparently) but calling myself a feminist doesn't mean I hate men and want to trample all over them. Far from it.
I like men. A large percentage of my friends are male, I enjoy being in their company, I like spending time with them. I've heard plenty of blonde jokes, plenty of sexist jokes, I've probably laughed at a few.
For me, being a feminist means standing up for the rights of women everywhere. I am very lucky, I was born in the West, in a household where women outnumber men (my poor dad) and was raised with the values I hold today. Others are not so lucky, in many countries women are oppressed, denied equality, and treated as though they have no worth. I believe in supporting them, in trying to help them educate themselves, to help them climb out of poverty and desperation, to better their lives and those of their children.
Feminism began because women wanted to better themselves, they wanted to be able to vote, to work, to support themselves, not just wait for men to look after them, to go from being someone's daughter to someone's wife and mother. To be able to define themselves.
I honestly believe in equality of the sexes, not just for those of us in the West where women and men are afforded the same rights. It upsets me that some women my age believe that calling themselves a feminist means they hate men, and want them oppressed. It's sad that they are that ignorant, feminism is a huge movement, yes some of the women involved may be more hardcore and dislike men, but not all of them. My mother is one, she grew up during the 60s and 70s, she was part of that movement. She's worked as a nurse her whole adult life, been a wife and mother as well. None of that means she doesn't believe in equality. My dad says that all he wishes for my sister and I, is that we are happy and healthy and pursue our dreams and ambitions. Feminism and the women's movement means we have the freedom to do so. Shouldn't all women and men) be afforded the same freedom?
|Comedian Bill Bailey |
T-shirt from The Fawcett Society