Feminists sometimes get a bad wrap from the media. They’re disregarded as outspoken, brash and opinionated. They are. And that’s great. Women need to be outspoken, especially in Ireland. In Ireland, we are denied access to a number of things that are standard for women elsewhere.
At the moment, our struggle lies with the fight for bodily autonomy with the push for repealing the 8th amendment. This is a law that makes it illegal for us to get an abortion in Ireland. We can travel to the UK, but not everyone can afford that.
There’s other things, too.
Feminism is needed because women are subjected to a number of things that men aren’t. Sexual harassment is a huge problem, and most of us either have, or will, face it in our lives. It can take many forms. Most often, it takes the form of explicit comments about our appearance. We can get touched in nightclubs, by people we don’t want near us.
In professional settings, too, this can happen.
The language used towards women can be quite derogatory. Often, it is unsaid, but expected, that we take on the roles of caretaker. Women are very often expected to put up the seasonal decorations in the workplace, to tidy up the kitchen, to do basic tasks. If we are given a new task to do, we are sometimes asked in a patronising way if we’re alright to do it.
But feminists can be viewed negatively, for seemingly pushing that women are better than men. No one is better than anyone. Certain people are more skilled in certain areas, that’s nothing to do with biological gender.
Feminism, at its core, is about equality. It’s about working towards a society that views men and women differently. It’s about getting paternity leave along with maternity leave, giving men equal opportunity to bond with their newborn child. It’s about ensuring that women in the workplace are viewed based on their skill set and not their appearance. It’s about guaranteeing we have control over our lives.
We all need to be feminists because we all need to be in favour of equality. People are people, and we all deserve to be viewed as such. We need to support each other, we need to allow ourselves to stand up for what we believe in. We need to be feminists because we have a lot more to go.