There have been a few comments on social media suggesting we need a day to celebrate men, amid all the IWD posts.
I have absolutely nothing against men.
In fact, I have a 21 year-old one who lives in my house, eats my food, spends my money and whose wellbeing, happiness and future are more important to me than my own.
But we still need feminism and we need every opportunity, such as IWD, to talk and educate about women’s rights.
Feminism is not about blaming or hating men. Both women and men are responsible for maintaining inequality through unconscious bias, unquestioning acceptance of patriarchal assumptions and failing to speak out when we do notice unfairness. I hold my hands up; I live in this society and although I try to be aware, and I care passionately about supporting change, I am sure that every day I say and do (or fail to say and do) things that maintain the status quo.
So just to make it clear, I have nothing against men. Their rights as human beings are important and in fact I spend a lot of my working life defending them.
Also there are some issues (not going into them today but I … Read More »
It’s International Women’s Day and my social media feeds are full of messages of celebration. It’s wonderful; I love the positivity and happiness. I think it’s important to celebrate and to recognise where things are going well. Today, however, I’m sticking my neck out in a slightly different direction and explaining exactly why I call myself a feminist, and why I think everyone else (men as well as women) should also be willing to adopt a feminist standpoint.
OK, this is the why of it. We all know that women used to be oppressed. Less than 100 years ago, we couldn’t vote. We weren’t allowed to study in universities and we couldn’t own property. It used to be legal for men to hit their wives, and marital rape was only criminalised in 1991 in England and Wales. Yes, 1991. The law used to give us little protection and in fact allowed us to be abused physically, sexually and financially.
Things have got better in terms of the law. Although, in practice, pay is still not equal across the board, legislation is in place to prevent discrimination and we have maternity … Read More »
This morning we are hearing media reports that only one in seven women describe themselves as a feminist, according to a Netmums survey. I’m not going to question the methodology of the research, as I know that others are doing this already. I am, however, very concerned about our understanding of the term “feminist”.
My Concise Oxford Dictionary defines feminism as “advocacy of women’s rights on ground of equality of the sexes”, and “equal” as “the same in number, size, value, degree, rank, musical pitch, etc”. Could we agree here that equality of the sexes most likely refers to “value”? Therefore we have a simple dictionary definition of feminism as the campaign for women to be worth as much as men. To be of equal value.
Being pedantic, I don’t want to stop at a dictionary definition, though. Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies, including political, advocating such equality. Equal value. Erm…if we don’t advocate equal value, what exactly are we accepting? Lesser value? Feminism is also, importantly I think, a school of academic thought based on the premise that we live in a patriarchal society, of which we are … Read More »