The dreaded ‘F’ word.

Nowadays saying that word is like saying ‘Voldemort’ in front of a group of Harry Potter fans. You just don’t do it.

Not unless you want a load of screaming replies and looks that can only mean: “What were you thinking?”That’s what feminism in 2017 faces.

Decades after we won the right to vote, something we never should’ve had to fight for, and we are still in this position.Before the war women were not allowed to vote but new laws during changing times meant that women over the age of 30 were granted this wish – a wish for an equal voice. Though this still wasn’t a level playing field it was a step in the right direction.

For hundreds of years, a woman’s place has been in the home, more often than not in the kitchen or in the bedroom, on her knees.

I could write a list of women who were influential in the women’s rights movements: Mary Wollstonecraft, Lucy Stone, (of course we cannot forget) The Suffragette’s and many others that I feel would quite frankly test your patience and interest in this topic.

This piece will focus on the stigma against feminism today. Not how many women marched in the parades.

I don’t have to burn my bra or refuse the right to shave my armpits to show that I am a female who is both equal and happy.

I can understand, to a point, when people (men and women alike) argue that feminism is a bad word. It is. The word that represents the sexes and equal rights to all should not connotate more to the word ‘female’ than ‘male’. That’s why when I proclaim myself a ‘feminist’ I can feel a little unjust and well, stupid.

The correct term, in my mind, is ‘equal rights activist’.

Did you know women and men who share the same ‘bossy’ qualities and ‘go-get-em’attitudes get treated differently in the workplace? A study once proved that women and men with the same attributes were perceived differently.

Men with the qualities of being assertive, dominant and in control were given promotions and looked upon as leaders. Whereas women with the same attributes were labeled negatively as bossy, controlling and psychotic. Fair? No. Just fucking sexist.

But, and this is a very big but, don’t let one little word ‘mishap’ send you completely off in the wrong direction. Just because you don’t like the name doesn’t mean you don’t like the cause.

Feminism is fighting for equal pay.

Feminism is a woman being able to be a firefighter and a man being able to be a hairdresser.

Feminism is letting a girl cut her hair short if she wants, or have it flowing down to the ground.

A woman being able to fight, swear and act however she likes while a man can cry if he needs to.

Feminism is the ground of equal rights between the sexes.

What really makes me laugh is when uneducated women talk about the topic and eagerly label themselves a feminist in a ‘man hating’ action. This is so far from what Feminism has even aimed to be.

All movements have extremists and this one is no exception. But don’t worry, we aren’t about to chop your balls off and chuck them during protests – well, I’m not anyway.

There have been three main waves of feminism, and the third of which we are currently in. Each wave has furthered equality and liberalised women and men in ways that are only positive. In contemporary UK (and seemingly world wide), the term ‘feminist’ is received less critically by the female population due to the different approaches all taken to fight feminism. There are the ego-cultural feminists, the radicals, the liberal/reforms, the electoral, academic, eco-feminists… the list goes on.

Since first wave feminism, the word itself has held its own, but it is arguably time for the name to be changed to something a little less women orientated.The modern day is all about freeing the nipple, wearing whatever the fuck you want (no matter what you wear you DO NOT ever ‘ask for it’) and having both equal opportunities, a voice just as loud as everyone else’s and equal pay.Women today are still fighting battles, men too.

A word associated with men-hating, unshaved ladies who stand in busy high streets burning bra’s and stamping their feet. This is not feminism.

A feminist is a man or woman who is fed up of the scrutiny they face in day to day life.

The sexualisation women face when walking down the street when a man sees the legs they can wrap around themselves instead of the woman walking to work with a brain and, quite frankly, balls.

The men who cannot cry because it is ‘girlie’ – who the later become a statistic when they take their own life because of this stigma.

The women who are expected, still, to be subordinate and automatically expected to be the ones who stay home and care for a new baby.

Childcare is a massive issue: custody battles fought by fathers who have to fight that stigma that they can care for a child. Circumstances and responsibility should decide who cares for a child and not just who has a vagina.

I could sit and list endless reasons but I would still miss out hundreds of daily battles that both men and women face. Sexual inequality is all around, don’t let the divide become more prominent because of a silly word that just happens to start with ‘fem’.No, I’m not going to refuse to shave my armpits or shave all my hair off to show that

Sexual inequality is all around, don’t let the divide become more prominent because of a silly word that just happens to start with ‘fem’.

No, I’m not going to refuse to shave my armpits or shave all my hair off to show that I am a liberated young woman. My parents let me chop my hair into a ‘boy style’ aged ten because that’s what I wanted. My parents taught me to wear makeup if I want to and leave it if I don’t. I have been lucky enough to have parents that have taught me to respect others in a way I would like to be respected.

As a human being.

 

This article was first published online before Elephants Voice really took off but was later published in BoilerPlate magazine as a feature piece with four-pagege spread and supporting photo shoot.

16 comments

  1. adamwashbrook

    Such a great post, and further proof there’s so much for males to gain from feminism that most are just too scared to understand 👏🏻

    Like

  2. Feminism seems to be all over the place. I haven’t studied it much, though this, how you’ve cut the topic in pieces has been the way I’ve seen it. Great article, learned something new today 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kayleigh Zara

    I agree! I think the term feminism simply just isn’t inclusive enough for equal rights but it should be. I love this post and I honestly agree with every word you’ve wrote x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿www.kayleighzaraa.com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with everything you said in this post! It’s still unbelievable that we live in a time where feminism is still such a taboo topic, we need more people like you to talk openly about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarah Eliza

    I love the bit where you said “I don’t have to burn my bra or refuse to shave my armpits”. It’s so true; slurs like feminazis by people just don’t understand what feminism really is. We have made such a change but there’s always more to be done!
    Sarah x
    http://www.saraheliza.co.uk/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – that’s probably my favourite part of the piece too! Glad you liked it and I do agree that feminists can be branded as man-haters or even worse but it’s so important to keep the movement going! X

      Like

    • I can see your point and I believe the ‘stereotypical feminist’ image that a lot of people have in their head just isn’t representative of what feminism really is! Thanks for reading! ✨❤️

      Like

  6. This is quite a controversial topic that stimulates the mind. It can be seen from so many different perspectives. However, I find even if realistically there is no equality for some things, as women we do others which make us equals.

    Liked by 1 person

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