‘Feminist’ is a word which often gets mistreated or misused. Some believed it to be wanting an all-women run country, or society. Some perceive at, as being ‘down with men!’ But believe it or not, being a feminist means claiming and wanting the right for everyone to be equal. Not women standing on a pedestal above all men, but for man and woman to stand equally on the very same, equally high pedestal.
I’m glad that the world is suddenly more aware of feminism, and that the likes of Emma Watson and Rowan Blanchard are propelling campaigns such as HeForShe to a global stature. It means that less people can claim to be unaware of it, and the ignorance surrounding not knowing about feminism has come with a decline. But it doesn’t mean that people are completely aware, still of the real need to be a feminist in today’s society.
Hollywood royalty have even spoken up over the lack of equality with pay within the acting industry, and yes, many of these women have spoken on losing out on money despite still earning many millions, but it doesn’t mean that we can overlook the problem. What’s a few million when you can earn many millions for doing the same work an actor does, at the same level, in similar roles? It’s ridiculous to try and deny the inequality, especially in an industry with as much money as the film industry. Many of the world’s leading actors have worked with many few female directors, with some only working with one in their years’ as the world’s elitist.
However, these days there has been an incredible increase, with the wage gap steadily nearing its middle. But, we can’t dismiss this as being an all-round success for all. Despite the fact that the wage will near its equal pay mark within the next 10/20 years, that still leaves a lot of time for things to go wrong; and still emphasises the need to have it sooner, which we subsequently do not have.
The word ‘meninist’ is one that I have unfortunately come across more and more often recently, with grown men whining that they ought to get equality too. What I say is – yes you should get equality, everyone ought to, but because men have been dictating for centuries what a woman ought to do, say and how they ought to dress, the need for equality has never been greater. Not the least in a world where the double standards and prejudice held, means that being born a female is a disadvantage. To some extent I find the word ‘meninist’ insulting, that some men – who have far greater rights than any woman – feel as though they are at some disadvantage for being male. However, I believe the reason why the ‘meninist movement’ has grown in popularity in the past years, is because of the lack of knowledge surrounding what feminism really is.
A feminist isn’t about cutting down the men, and leaving them with less rights than ever – because, let’s be fair, someone somewhere would stop us on that – it’s about making sure that everyone, whether you are a man or a woman, is equal. It’s about making sure that a man and a woman working in exactly the same line of work, in exactly the same position within that company, gets paid equally the same amount. It’s about making sure that stereotypes get nipped in the bud (yes, you may be a ‘macho man’ but it doesn’t mean that you ought to get ridiculed because you enjoyed playing with Disney Princess dolls as a child, or because your sister was the one playing with – typically a boys’ toy – the Transformers); it’s about making sure that everyone is able and confident enough to do what they want, without their partners telling them they can’t or mustn’t because of reasons undeniably stupid probably. Feminism is about everyone being happy as equals, where there is an equal respect for one another, and where everyone feels as though they can conquer the world.
I’ll admit, I haven’t lived in this world long enough possibly to understand everyone’s views on feminism. But as an avid fan of History, I’m aware that mankind hasn’t been as kind to women – even from Day One, with Eve being thrust out for caving in to her own want. Emmeline Pankhurst would be proud of the progress we’ve made, thanks to her helping hand, but even she would recognise that tomorrow’s world is possibly too far away. Slow and steady wins the race – however the race has been a marathon with the finish line barely in sight.
I consider myself a feminist because I’d rather be living, and eventually raising children in a world which doesn’t dictate or decide your fate just simply because of gender. I’d like to have a chance to want to be a professional footballer, and get the same pay and the same publicity as any male star, without getting sexualised for my appearance or gender.
It’s unfortunate that America has such strict dress codes – ones which are ludicrous in some cases – because what a young woman wears shouldn’t be of any concern to those male counterparts surrounding her. The thought that clothing on a young woman could be ‘distracting’ to male teachers and fellow, male students, makes it explicitly clear that the times must change.
I’m a feminist because, in the words of Maya Angelou, “I’ve been a female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side”.