First of all: Yes, I am a feminist. Gender equality to me seems self-evident, but in the real world that is sadly not the case. Even in the Western World, we still aren’t quite there yet. So yes, I identify myself as a feminist, because I support the movement that strives for equality amongst the sexes.
Ever since Emma Watson delivered her amazing speech on feminism and gender at the UN headquarters in New York, feminism seems to have gotten a newfound hue of cool surrounding it. It is an exciting time to be feminist. There have always been feminists, male and female, doing great and inspiring things, but there is no getting around the explosion of feminism themed news articles and opinion pieces ever since Emma delivered that moving speech.
Amongst those stories many interesting and thought provoking ones, but also, well, a lot of bullshit.
Beauty YouTuber Zoella was called out in an opinion piece for not promoting the right kind of feminism. She is too girly you see. And women who make videos about hair and makeup tips cannot be intelligent and should not be an example for young girls. Obviously.
This is just counterproductive. There is no right or wrong kind of feminism. A stay-at-home mum or dad deserves the same respect as the CEO of a massive company. Whether you are interested in 19th century literature or beauty products shouldn’t matter. I think feminism is about respecting each other’s life choices. And if we are talking right and wrong, I think you are a bad feminist when you slate another woman for not endorsing your particular flavour of women power.
Side note: It annoys me greatly that famous people are always expected to be role models. You try being a role model, I bet it’s exhausting.
There has also been much ado about ELLE UK’s current issue. The feminism issue, of which Miss Watson graces the cover. I saw a tweet passing by in my feed asking whether feminism really needs another young, thin, white actress to represent it’s issues. In Emma’s own words: if not her, who? If not now, when? Why the hell not Emma Watson? She obviously cares about the issue and the reality is that she is very famous and might actually be able to use that popularity to make a difference.
Does this mean black or Asian people aren’t welcome to the party? Of course not. Does this mean if you’re over a size 12 you can’t be an advocate of feminism? Of course not. Men are also invited, you know, #heforshe.
I think all this talk of who is a good feminist and who is a bad feminist is utter bullshit. It’s not doing anyone any good and is definitely not getting us any closer to gender equality.
Let’s talk feminist T-shirts
What is also bullshit, in my ever humble opinion, is the news story about the feminist T-shirts. Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and a few other well known men posed with a “This is What a Feminist Looks Like”-T-shirt for the aforementioned ELLE issue. David Cameron got criticised for not wearing the T-shirt. When the Daily Mail wrote that the T-shirts were produced by women in Mauritius who only got paid 62 pence per hour Cameron suddenly was the good guy. Of course exploitation of workers in the textile industry is a huge problem, but that deserves it’s own discussion.
Do we need a 45 pound T-shirt to tell the world we are feminists? I think not.
Maybe politicians could show the world their support of feminism by implementing policies that stimulate gender equality. Maybe they can prove they are feminists by giving their female colleagues the same respect they have for their male peers. Just a suggestion.
Maybe we can show our feminist status by celebrating other women’s success. Maybe we shouldn’t call that business woman a bitch because she is determined. Maybe we shouldn’t call that man weak, because he cut down his work hours to spend more time with his family.
Maybe we should all start practicing what we preach and cut this bullshit. Otherwise I don’t see us getting closer to gender equality. Or any other form of equality for that matter.