I am proud to say that I am a feminist.
Before I explain to you what that means I shall clear up some of the presumptions that have no doubt slipped into your minds.
No, not all feminists hate men. Yes, feminists still have relationships with men and, YES! Men can be feminists too!
But who are we and what exactly do we stand for? Feminism is the fight for social, civil and, political equality, drum roll please……… for all genders! And if you believe in equality, I hate to tell you, but you might just be a feminist too.
Who’s afraid of the big bad (feminist) wolf?
It’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s by no means a bad thing to be a feminist and the word is in no way taboo.
The feminist movement has been unfairly plastered in the media as being a men-hating and radical group of women who want nothing more than to rule the world and put men to the bottom of the societal food chain. No, nope, never, no way.
As I have already said, the essence of feminism is the fight for equality of all genders. It is the fight to close the gender pay gap, the fight to show that mental health illnesses are just as serious for men as they are for women, and the fight to show that women can be firemen and soldiers and men can be nurses and hairdressers too.
It doesn’t stop there. The feminist movement stands for all genders and people who don’t identify as a gender at all! It is a worldwide movement to fight for equality for everyone.
Feminism means equality for all
Although many believe this just a fight for women it’s not.
If you believe that women should be paid the same as men for the same work, you are a feminist.
If you believe that Dads can stay at home, do housework, and look after kids just like Mothers can, you are a feminist.
If you believe that everyone should be treated equally, you are a feminist.
To say that women are the only people who can be feminist is indulging in the sexism we are trying to fight against. So, what can you do to erase the stigma surrounding this movement and better educate yourself and the people around you?
Stop with the gender stereotyping
Remember not all feminists are the same. I have certainly never considered burning a bra in public and I don’t hate any boy solely for the reason that they are male. Don’t generalise a group based on your perception of a minority and don’t indulge people who do.
Avoid gender stereotyping, especially around younger kids. Start introducing the idea of equality straight away and discourage any gender stereotyping for example, girls can’t play sports, boys can’t wear nail polish. The one that made my skin crawl the most as a kid was when a teacher would ask for “our two strongest boys” to move something heavy, I mean I’m a lot stronger than I look!
Forget the stigma and be proud to be a feminist. The subject should not be taboo. Be proud to stand for equality and don’t back down to people who can’t see past their own opinions.
“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time”
Being a feminist as a woman doesn’t make you insane or radical. Being a feminist as a man doesn’t make you soft. It makes you educated and knowledgeable about the inequalities we all face in this world and shows that you care enough to help make a change.
The late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg (for those of you who don’t know, she was an American Supreme Court Justice and all round women’s rights legend!). She fought for the rights of women all over the world. RBG once said “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time”.
So, from right now, make a change. Whether that be educating yourself, educating others, or acknowledging the fact that you are a feminist in the first place. But make the change, do it now, and be proud to know; that if you believe in equality, you are a feminist.