When quizzed, most people will still agree that we need the feminist movement. With gender pay gaps, the glass ceiling and violence against women still major issues that we need to overcome as a society. However many young men and women fail to identify themselves as a feminist due to the negative connotations that surround the term. The stereotypes and stigmas surrounding the word “Feminism” are leading people to deny the necessity of the movement, claiming to be all for equality, but not feminism. A 'humanist', but never a feminist.
Though these terms all essentially encompass the same value, that men, women and those who do not identify with a specific gender, should all be granted with equal rights, the term feminism hold historical and cultural value that needs to be acknowledged. It's important that we claim it.
We believe that it’s about bloody that time we debunk some of the biggest stereotypes of what it means to be a feminist, start to truly understanding what the word means and start being ok with admitting to people that we care about the rights of women. Got it? Good.
Recently on a date, we got onto the topic of my writing. “So you’re a feminist…” he said as we sat opposite each other, chatting awkwardly through the usual first date banter. “Does that mean you don’t…” he trailed off while directing his gaze toward my lap…
“…don’t shave?” was the unmentionable and presumptuous ending to that sentence. The fact that he clearly thought it was ok to discuss my vagina on a first date is one thing but the assumption that my choice of grooming method was a reflection of my belief that women should have equal rights is nothing more than ignorant and archaic.
This belief that feminists are all eccentric hippy women who fight the establishment and refuse to conform to societies definition of beauty is outdated and a massive generalisation. The way a woman chooses to maintain her lady garden is in no way a reflection of her feminist ideologies - nor is a feminists pube-preference any one else's goddamn business. Safe to say we didn't have a second date.
You need to be a woman.
“You’ve got a penis? Ahhh shit sorry man this club has a strict vagina only policy” - Said no Feminist ever.
At the end of the day feminism is about gender equality, whatever sex you identify with, being equal is important. The fact that many men deny being a feminist because of their sex is proof of a fundamental misinterpretation of the actually meaning of the word. Grew up in a house full of sisters and got angry when they are mistreated because of their sex? News flash buddy… you’re a Feminist. Simply adore women and want what’s best for them at all times? Feminist. Think that your girlfriend deserves to get as paid as much as you do? Feminist.
You’re a lesbian
Your sexuality and your ideologies have just as much of a correlation as your ideologies and your pubic hair. Fucking zilch, so stop with the assumptions.
This argument comes up again and again as a by-product of the belief that being for women’s rights must mean you’re against men’s rights. As a feminist, looking down on men as inferior makes you just as bad as the chauvinism you despise. The majority of Feminist’s still adore men in some shape or form. There is no correlation between feminism and misandry and it's about time to embrace all the sexy man loving feminists out there.
Burning bras, protesting for days (with your unshaven armpits and pubic hair) and generally taking every chance you get to fight for the cause. Perhaps this was what a feminist looked like at one point in history, in a time where feminist radicalism was necessary to initiate public discourse and the hippy look was kinda cool (think Woodstock 1969), but surely it’s time that “Feminist” evokes an image closer to mega-babe Emma Watson or even perhaps Barack Obama.
Also remember, sometimes you do just need to get angry about everything that's wrong with the world and that's okay.
"As a feminist, looking down on men as inferior makes you just as bad as the chauvinism you despise."
So I can’t hold the door open for you…?
In 2016 you can’t possibly be chivalrous for fear of insulting a woman who confuses your manners for chauvinism or superiority. The reason chivalry is dead in 2016 is that no one knows what the hell being “chivalrous” entails. Being chivalrous is not a victorian concept, ultimately it means being kind and having manners, and NOT treating a woman as inferior or incapable.
There is a big difference between offering to pay for dinner and paying and insinuating she owes you something for your “charitable deed”. We aren’t going to fuck you because you forked out $100 on dinner for us. Deal with it. If you’re ever in doubt… think of how you you’d go about it with the strongest, most capable woman you know…. your mother.
With such negative views continually perpetuated in modern society it's easy to shy away from a word such as Feminism. Myself… totally guilty. I’ve questioned my own Feminist values on multiple occasions (particularly when speaking to men) and it’s due to nothing more than ridiculous, outdated stereotype’s and stigma’s attached to the word. It’s time to dismantle and challenge our own preconceived notions and help out those who just don't get it.
Image: Gemma Van Heyst
Anna Wall is a self-confessed hedonist and self-appointed travel expert. She drinks coffee until its appropriate to move on to wine and believes that there is nothing more satisfying in life than good wine and a good book. She's scared of balloons, the dark and of growing up.