I’m not sure how accurate the title of this post is, but I’m assuming that I wasn’t born a feminist because presumably as an infant I was more concerned with staying in the lines when colouring than being enlightened on subjects such as equal pay and bras being burnt. Unfortunately, I never managed to stay in the lines, and even at the grand old age of twenty, my colouring in skills would put any vaguely competent Geography student to shame, but I did become enlightened on things such as women’s rights. I didn’t really class myself as a feminist until around year ago which I think was a result of me realising feminism is still relevant to our society, and also being the student of an English department that is so pro feminism that sometimes I wonder whether I’m at university or a year long feminist conference. Regardless, I now proudly call myself a feminist, and to celebrate International Women’s day, I’ll give you the reasons why;
1) I like the fact I can aspire to be more than just a glorified cook and cleaner.
It sounds like a bit of a cliche, but a big part of me becoming a feminist was to do with the fact that I like being able to choose what to do with my life, and not spend my life either cooking meals or doing other people’s washing. Of course, some women want to do that, and that’s fine, but at the end of the day, I’m a terrible cook and I don’t see why I should be chained to the oven when my aspiration in life is to be paid a lot of money (I’m thinking a reasonable sum of five figures) to write.
2) I had it explained to me in very simple terms.
The first book I read on Feminism was Germaine Greer’s ”The Female Eunuch” which I ploughed through when I was sixteen, and a lot of it went over my head, due to it being very sciencey, apart from the idea that males are mutants because of the Y chromosome, which is something my (male) Psychology teacher proudly reiterated. Needless to say, this didn’t exactly light my Feminist fire, but then I started reading Caitlin Moran’s columns and then she released her book ”How to be a woman” which basically says that to be a feminist all you need is a vagina and the desire to be in charge of it, and overnight I became a raging feminist
3) I don’t want to be paid less money than a man for doing the same job.
As much as I like the male sex, I don’t like them enough to sit back and let one be paid more than me if we are doing the same job. Obviously, a lot of employers have issues with women due to the expectation they will get pregnant and cost their employer money by taking time off, but it’s still not right. We’re living in a society where girls are overtaking boys in terms of grades and how many are going to university so it seems a little backward to be paying females less when women are proving just as capable as men. Currently, the only industry where women get paid more than men is in the porn industry, and to be honest, I think it’d be disgusting if they didn’t because any person who has various openings in their body stretched and stuffed like they are a christmas turkey deserves a hefty sum. However, it’s still not fantastic that the only industry where women earn more than men is one where they perform gymnastics naked.
4) I realised it’s not about hating men.
My friend told me a story recently where she heard two boys talking about Feminism, and the English course at my university in particular, where they said it’s teaching people that ”Women should have power over men” which is completely ridiculous. Of course, there are some feminists who hate men and want them hung drawn and quartered, but there are also some Americans who are convinced that Barack Obama is a Muslim terrorist, don’t tar everybody with the same brush. Feminism isn’t about finding a way for women to get pregnant (with only girls) and then sending every male to a gas chamber, it’s simply about wanting to be equal to them.
5) It’s still relevant.
Equal pay is a big thing when it comes to Feminism in the west, but there are other issues we need to tackle, like how it’s ok to practically burn a female celebrity at stake if she decides to stick two fingers up to society and NOT spend an hour slapping make-up on her face, or how people still think it’s perfectly acceptable to call a girl a slut if she has casual sex but not a male (I personally try avoid using the word altogether, because I don’t think it’s anybody’s business who sleeps with who). Then there are the women in other countries who suffer a lot more than women in the West; there are some countries where women are circumcised, often against their will. You can’t look at these things and then say Feminism isn’t still relevant.