Why am I a feminist? Weirdly enough, I get asked this a lot. I get told ‘why bother? men and women are basically equal, right?’ I have had people argue with me and say they aren’t a feminist because they like dresses/baking/bras/dick/shaving/being married/compliments/being a housewife/children etc and all this demonstrates to me is that ‘feminism’ is massively misunderstood and misrepresented.
I am a feminist because it’s 2014 and we still have slut shaming, body policing, victim blaming, marginalisation and exclusion of women in positions of authority, fat phobia, transphobia, heteronormative ideals shaping our policies and perceptions of morality and relationships. I am a feminist because society is patriarchal and women are shot down in a variety of ways. I am a feminist because I support the rights of women to do what they want with their bodies and don’t believe that anyone has the right to dictate what kind of body/sex/style/ a person has. Below I have listed other reasons why feminism is a vital as breathing to me. What do you think? Let me know.
1. Because Emma Watson went on stage and made feminism male centred, with the primary focus on their inclusion and feelings thus eradicating and marginalising the fact that women have been systematically oppressed and symbolically annihilated from history by men for decades. Men should not need a campaign called ‘he for she’ to stop treating women like shit. That stuff is basic decency 101 and the fact that EW has been practically canonised for her contribution is insulting to those women who have been speaking out for years. To those women of colour, or trans women or women without the privileged platform she does who have been fighting for women’s rights for years with nowhere near the recognition that a well educated, white woman has garnered from going on stage and saying ‘hi men, we love you.’
2. Because Sam Pepper sexually harassed women in the streets in an apparent bid to highlight the problem of street harassment. Logic, where are you? Also, and more importantly, because Sam Pepper is an abusive, manipulative rapist who has hurt young girls and treated them like shit because he felt entitled to their time and bodies and knew that as a white man with power, he would be protected by societal practices that see 97% of rapists going about their lives with no repercussions.
3. Because there are countless people on twitter telling the girls who have been brave enough to come forward that they are whores, liars and deserved it. When I shared a video link of a brave woman sharing her experience of being anally raped by Pepper, a young girl said ‘I don’t care, he’s still my hero.’
4. Because when I asked a man not to call me ‘babe’ on twitter, he called me an idiot, said that women are lying, fat and disgusting social climbing whores but then said I was foul mouthed.
5. Because when I was harassed by three men recently and scared to death, a male friend told me I should have been flattered. Women everywhere are told that they should be flattered by street harassment, cat calling and objectification.
6. Because when I complained that a shop assistant had charged me ‘£10 and a hug’ for a phone charger, another man said ‘id have asked for a blow job.’
7. Because those things are not rare, or one offs but happen to women every day.
8. Because when a women is raped, society asks what she was wearing/drinking or doing first.
9. Because majority of rapists will never spend a day in prison or even be cautioned for behaviour that leaves victims traumatised for life. This contributes to rape culture and a society where victims feel helpless and see no point in reporting as assault is so trivialised. Because celebrities contribute to rape culture by implying that sexual assault is inevitable.
10. Because there is a hashtag on twitter called ‘women against feminism’ full of men spewing vitriol about feminists and women who can’t see the irony in that.
11. Because ‘you are ugly’ or ‘I wouldn’t fuck you’ are supposed to be insulting to us, thus reinforcing idea that as women we are a) primarily interested in appealing to men, b) our value and worth are intrinsically linked to our appearance, which is c) ranked based on narrow, unrealistic beauty ideals that are exclusive and marginalising to many women.
12. Because men still get paid more, still represent the majority in senior positions, still hold a disproportionate amount of seats in parliament and still control power structures and labour markets yet when you mention the word ‘patriarchy,’ men the world over start throwing Andrea Dworkin memes around and calling you a bitch.
13. Because transphobia is rife and trans women are treated appallingly by society; fetishised, marginalised, excluded altogether, demonised and invalidated.
14. Because the Daily Mail exists
15. Because women still don’t have full bodily autonomy and pro life campaigners are constantly trying to limit or deny access to abortion even though this just makes the process incredibly unsafe for women who feel that they have no alternative but to seek out dangerous methods.
16. Because ‘leaked’ (stolen and distributed without permission, a violation of trust and privacy, yet termed as ‘leaked’ thus undermining the severity of situation) nudes were a trending topic, a 4Chan wank fest and proof that female sexuality is shamed and held in low regard.
17. Because those women whose nudes were leaked were blamed and called sluts, whores and told they deserved it.
18. Because men constantly derail discussion about domestic violence and rape online by intervening with ‘not all men’ or ‘what about male victims?’
19. Because we celebrated a nail varnish that detects date rape drugs and lauded it as revolutionary rather than tackle male entitlement, objectification and rape culture.
20. Because Beyonce stood in front of a giant ‘feminist’ sign but people questioned her commitment to the movement, yet EW stood up and talked about men for fifteen minutes and is feminist icon 2k14. Intersectional feminism is life.
21. Because women who own and control their sexuality are so threatening to men, that they are shamed and torn apart
22. Because when a man cheats, society asks well what did you do to make him?
23. Because rape jokes are hilarious but say ‘male tears’ and watch grown men throw a tantrum.
24. Because it’s fine to demand proof of lived experience, demand debate, discussion and attention on line but when a feminist obliges, everything is dismissed and undermined immediately as ‘nonsense’ ‘bullshit’ and counteracted with a Paul Elam quote.
25. Because women shouldn’t be branded as ‘emotional’ ‘bossy’ ‘ranty’ or ‘highly strung’ when they display similar behaviours to ‘assertive’ ‘confident’ men
26. Because if you do, you’re a slut but if you don’t you are a frigid prude.
27. Because female relationships are displayed as either competitive bitch fests or entirely centred around men and fashion.
28. Because when I started a PhD a man told me I shouldn’t be showing off.
29. Because when a man rubbed against me on a bus, I got thrown off for shouting at him to stop.
30. Because we teach girls that their bodies are suggestive and sexual and that it is their responsibility to avoid attack
What do you think? Tweet me and follow @anygirlfriday