I really wasn't sure whether to post this, but there's no better day than today.
I'd describe myself as a feminist, but it's only recently that I've started to think about what that word means for me. I know it's a dirty word for some people who mistakenly think it's about hating men and not letting them open doors for us, etc. Don't get me wrong, there probably is a small minority of men or women who give feminism a bad name (like ANY group!), but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I used to think that because we have equal rights (at least in the U.K.), people needed to move on because we're not living in the 1940s any more ... Then I opened my eyes.
Before I go on, I want to acknowledge that I know this doesn't apply to all men. For every man who's behaved like an arsehole, there's a decent guy who wouldn't dream of acting like that. Plus, I've been hurt by women as many times as I've been hurt by men - if not more, sadly. I don't judge people by their gender and that's a part of what feminism is about! That said, I've had enough negative encounters in my life to realise why I personally need feminism. Me and my friends have been grabbed multiple times on nights out (no, Milo, I'm not "bragging" about it) and people have turned a blind eye or laughed. Once I was followed home by a drunken old man repeatedly asking me if I was married. None of your business, mate. What difference does it make? Would he have stopped following me if I was? Why does he respect my imaginary husband more than me? I've even had ex-boyfriends who've made some pretty sexist comments. I won't get into the nitty-gritty but luckily I'm a fairly confident person, hence why they're exes! I'll be honest, on these occasions I have questioned myself ... Should I dress differently? If I wasn't wearing a short skirt and heels, would I attract 'nicer' guys? But I should be able to wear whatever the hell I want without the fear of someone putting their hand up my skirt(!) or following me home. Unfortunately, that's still not the case. If a man wants to sleep with lots of women then he might get called a few jokey names, but it's nowhere near as bad as what us women put up with. The sad part is that it often comes from other girls. 'Mean Girls' spring to mind.
Again, I want to add that most the men in my life are wonderful people so I'm not bashing on all men. I'm just trying to explain why feminism is still needed and why we're still marching. Here's a quote I tweeted today which I absolutely love:
Another friendly reminder:
So Happy International Women's Day.