Wednesday, 29 August 2012

What Feminism means to me.


Ever since I started this blog, I've wanted to write about why I consider myself a feminist. I've tried various times, but the thing which I find incredibly difficult is getting the tone right. I don't want to joke about it and make out it's all a right laugh, because it's something I think should be taken incredibly seriously. However, the last thing I want to do is come across as one of those mind-numbingly irritating, ranty 'rad-fems' that can turn every word that comes out of your mouth into something which offends them deep into the heart of their soul. Eugh.

I've always been kind of embarrassed to call myself a feminist. No, actually, embarrassed isn't the right word... let's say 'wary'. I've always been kind of wary to openly discuss my feminist views because I worry that people will think I'm a dickhead that takes offense at everything. And I realise that if that happened, it would say more about the other person being a judgmental idiot than it would about me, but I'm still very wary about it. There are certain issues which I'm cautious about discussing on the internet because I worry that radical feminists will completely twist everything I say. It's happened before, and it makes you feel totally shit and like you're a bad person. I really don't want to be the person that makes someone feel like that, and I worry that in openly declaring "I AM A FEMINIST!" to the whole world, people will run for the hills. At the end of the day, all I want is for both genders to be totally equal. That's it.

I recently read 'How to be a Woman' by Caitlin Moran. Apart from the chapter on abortion (which I disagreed with for personal reasons), I thought it was absolutely spot on, and it made me want to embrace feminism more than I ever have before. I absolutely loved the way that it was written; everything Moran said made sense, and it didn't feel threatening or confusing like feminism sometimes does. The side-splitting memoirs coupled with the intelligent reasonings as to why feminism is still so important fitted together like a jigsaw. It made me realise that it was possible to openly talk about feminism and not come across as a total lunatic; and for the first time ever, it made me feel really proud to believe in feminism.

Sadly though, even since the Moran-fuelled epiphany, there's some things that have really wound me up. I absolutely bloody loved the Olympics. Honestly, like most of us, I could've cried for a bloody week when it was over! Seeing as I am made up of a South Yorkshire Dad and a West Yorkshire Mum, I felt unbelievably proud when Jessica Ennis and Nicola Adams won their gold medals. What didn't make me so proud was the reaction from a lot of so-called feminists.
"I really hope girls watch this and aspire to be like Jessica Ennis or Katarina Johnson-Thompson rather than Kim Kardashian or Cheryl Cole."
Woah woah woah, hang on... we tell girls to fight the patriarchy and do what they want, but then we're totally contradicting that by saying "Oh no, sorry! I know we said to fight for women's rights and stuff, but it's only certain types of women. Don't you be wanting to be a commercially successful popstar now young lady!"
That just doesn't seem right to me at all. Surely we should be encouraging young women (and young men for that matter) to aspire to be whatever the hell they want to be? Well, apart from murderers and all that, of course...

There's a lot more I could say on this subject, but I think I've said all I want to say for now. I don't know why I felt like I really needed to write this post; I'm not sure whether it was for a bit of closure on the subject for myself, or to try and explain myself to those that think I'm sometimes a bit over the top about it. I'm not very good at many things in life, but I think am pretty good at being a feminist, so maybe that was part of the reason. Either way, it was nice to write about it and hopefully make a few people see that we're not all totally crazy. Well, I say that...

P.S. You can buy that t-shirt here.