There are a few types of people in the world that make me so incredibly mad, and frankly I even hate some of them: murderers, rapists, homophobes, racists, child traffickers… you get the idea. But one thing that has really been bothering me lately is sexism.
‘Are you a feminist or what?’ Somehow, this question is supposed to be an insult. Calling someone a feminist would mean that they have short hair, hairy armpits, unshaved legs, and that it is in their best interest to destroy the male gender in order for women to radically take over the world…. Oh yes, of course, it must mean you’re a lesbian too.
WHAAAAAAAAAAT?! Since when does feminism entail that you have to be any of those things listed above? Surely, you can be all those things and still be a feminist, but that’s not what I am getting at.
I am so sick of hearing jokes like: ‘go make me a sandwich!’ and ‘go back to the kitchen where you belong’. It’s not funny, and despite them only being jokes, it still reflects a horrible reality. It’s time we stop telling ourselves that gender equality exists at all levels. It clearly doesn’t. Just by looking at the Western media we get a clear picture of what we think a woman should be like: ridiculously thin, impossibly beautiful and obviously, a man’s needs are always met first in any relationship.
First of all, the image of such ‘perfection’ doesn’t exist. Photoshop is the creator of what we call ‘beauty’ nowadays. So why is the media giving us an image of something that is just a myth? This brings me on to my second point: insecurity. Young girls and women lose their confidence, thinking that they can never reach such perfection. They shouldn’t have to! Of course men are also being misrepresented in for example media, but not to the same extents. Media is creating misconceptions about women and as a result, women don’t get as far in life as they perhaps could. Both because men think they’re incompetent and because women tell themselves they can never get there.
PMS or mood swings don’t make us incapable of taking on leadership roles. We’re not ‘hysterical’ just because we stand up for ourselves. Showing your emotions isn’t a sign of weakness. Not all women want to become models and work within the fields of fashion – we want to be able to work anywhere. Just because we might care about the way we dress or how we express ourselves, doesn’t mean we can’t do well in other fields as well. Not all women want to stay at home after they have given birth to a child. Do any of these stereotypes sound familiar?
From my own experience I know girls who tell themselves that they don’t care about the way the look, how much they weigh or what others might think of them. But recently, a lot of guys in my school have been using ask.fm. For those of you who have been living under a rock these past few months, ask.fm is a website where you can ask a person questions both anonymously or by keeping your name visible. It sounds harmless but a new “trend” has appeared. Anonymous people list different girls in the ask field, so that the person can rate them on a scale from 1 to 10, usually those answering these are boys. It makes me so frustrated that no one realises how incredibly stupid and selfish this is! Obviously, people who ask these “rate” questions want to find out whether the person thinks that they are ‘hot’ or ‘not’. What they don’t realise is that they’re bringing other people down with them – people who don’t want to be listed or want to find out whether that person thinks they’re good looking. It’s very superficial and perhaps what really makes me so pissed off is the fact that the people who get asked actually do rate the girls (and boys) listed. They don’t ignore the question, but they actually ANSWER IT! Of course it would be satisfying to see your name getting a higher score. But what about those people who unwillingly have been listed and then have to see on the internet, along with about a billion other people who can see it as well, that they’re not good looking based on a shitty little number. Excuse the word choice. Now this isn’t the perfect example of sexism, but it does show how small things in your daily life relate to the judgmental nature against women…. and some men too.
You shouldn’t have to be judged by your gender… or your ethnicity, or your sexuality for that matter.
So to answer the big question. Yes, I am a feminist. Because I do believe in “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. For those of you who didn’t realise, but that’s the real definition of feminism. There are so many other issues that we still face in terms of sexism, big and small things. Why wouldn’t you want to ensure equality for yourself and others like you?
To end this, I’d like to quote Rebecca West, a woman who really got it right: “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
Lots of love!