The F Word: Feminism 101

Feminism. The F Word that is sometimes whispered to save people rolling their eyes at you. There needs to be an education into what feminism is, and isn’t, and Chapter W writer Louisa is here to help…

Hi, I’m Louisa. I’m a daughter, a sister, a niece, a granddaughter, a friend, a graduate, a girlfriend, an enemy, an acquaintance, a colleague, a senior executive, a laugh, a bore, a stranger, a Kardashian enthusiast, a lover of glitter, a book worm…

And I am also a feminist. 

Which one of those labels puts you off me the most? Is it enemy, as this alludes to the fact there may be some aspects of my personality that may not be as sweet as I look (and god damn it i’m sweet as a jelly bean).

Is it a bore, as this makes you think maybe i’m a little bit dull? Is it Kardashian enthusiast, as you would rather stick pins in your eyes than watch their show and bother with their life (trust me you are missing out)…

Or is it that I am a Feminist, as you now imagine me to hate all men, have lots of opinions and probably don’t wear bras and have proper hairy armpits. (The latter is sometimes true.) 

There needs to be a reeducation around the F word. People recoil from it, don’t want to be associated, and panic if anyone brings the topic up around them. Others think they know, and harp on about a topic they sort of kind of know so they blast men and think wow my sisters please join me on our harmonious journey to equality by spitting on this man who held the door open for me what a PIG. 

This needs to stop.

To quote Chimanda Ngozi Adiche, feminism is the social, economic and political equality between the sexes. To put in other terms, if you believe that women and men should be equal on ALL levels, you are (to an extent) a feminist. That is it. and, quite frankly, in 2017 human beings should accept this as a natural state of the union, especially when we have Government’s trying to push us further away from each other.

Men can be feminists. Women can be be feminists. Women who like the colour pink can be feminists, men who open the door for women can be feminists, stay at home mums can be feminists, female CEO’s can be feminists, lesbians can be feminists, straight women can be feminists, women who dance along to blurred lines and swoon over Channing Tatum CAN be feminists…

Do you see where i’m going here?

It is no longer ok to associate a feminist as a boob swinging, shaven headed warrior who HATES men and thinks women are BETTER. This is a media created image of an extremity to cause division within a society, like they do with muslims and immigrants too. It’s there to scare you into not thinking logically, because quite frankly a well spoken, well dressed and non offensive feminist doesn’t sell papers, does it?

We are women of all shapes, sizes, sexualities, ethnicities, personalities. You do not have to denounce your femininity if you choose to accept this label that makes up PART of your identity. It’s ok to wear pink, blush when a boy gives you a compliment, and find yourself singing along to all sorts of misogynistic songs. As long as it’s your choice. It’s also ok to be a stay at home mum, clean the house and provide for your family. As long as it’s your choice. Feminism should not discriminate the life options of the women it encounters, we are all battling for the same cause – equality.

Celebrities and influencers have in the past shuddered and steered away from the term when asked in interviews, Taylor Swift and Megan Trainor being two women who turned their heads when asked… Only to later admit they didn’t understand the term, and realised they are. Even though Beyonce is my QUEEN, some may argue she never fought the cause before feminism became a ‘trend’, on which she jumped on. 

If women in the spotlight aren’t aware, how do we expect teenagers to know? How do we encourage the new generation to embrace the term if the women they look up to shun it? We need to stop with the stereotypes, and be there with the facts to encourage a the next wave of feminists to say yes to the title, and be aware of what it truly is.

Obviously, we are fighting for equality, and we aren’t there yet. But we are a hell of a lot further than we used to be when the fight started, and than other countries where women can’t drive cars, play sports, or are stoned in the streets for showing an ankle. There is a fight to win, but it is for equality, not for one sex to conquer the other.

So remember. A feminist loves men, loves women, loves all genders. They can also hate certain men, women and all other things. They are people who simply want an equal chance at life. Some are more vocal than others in the fight, and for reasons they feel are necessary. Some don’t campaign or protest, but would accept the label if given. It’s a constant struggle to feel labelled, but with a world with gender pay gaps, bans on abortion, women being raped and sexually assaulted for wearing clothes, we need to build this army together with a clear understanding of what we’re fighting for.

Because there are worse F words you could be called.

Louisa Davies

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