A Fresher on Feminism

“I’m a feminist” is not an easy line to drop into conversation. It’s not because I’m embarrassed or ashamed of this title, but because of the widespread negative stigma surrounding […]


“I’m a feminist” is not an easy line to drop into conversation.

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It’s not because I’m embarrassed or ashamed of this title, but because of the widespread negative stigma surrounding being a ‘feminist’.

Emma Watson recently said in a speech to the United Nations, “Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?”. Good question, Emma. Despite her speech being greeted by women championing her for speaking out about the problem many face about calling yourself a ‘feminist’, are women really now ready to start identifying themselves as one?

I don’t believe so. I often find myself being greeted by the phrase “Oh, so you don’t like boys?” and my immediate reaction is “When did I ever say I don’t like boys?”. Feminism is about equality, and just because women are currently unequal to men doesn’t mean the blame has to be put on the men.

There is no use blaming a particular group for the oppression women currently face. Only recognising the organisations, instutions and individuals that promote gender inequality – whether directly or indirectly – is going to allow us to start changing and becoming a more equal society.

I’ve been known to my friends as a feminist for a while now, mostly because of the way I stress frequently to girls that it’s okay to be on your own, it’s okay not to be dependent on a man, and it’s always okay to refuse male advances in a club. But ultimately, the truth is, you don’t have to be single to be a feminist, nor do you have to be a female. All it requires is a desire for a better society where women feel confident enough to be themselves and act however they feel comfortable.

It’s not okay that in this contemporary age, victim blaming is often at the forefront of our attitudes towards women. Why shouldn’t I wear bright lipstick just because I’m afraid I’ll be stared? Why shouldn’t I wear a crop top and a skirt to a club just because men might get the “wrong impression”? Everything I do is for me and for me only. I shouldn’t have to be continuously thinking about what impression I might be giving off.

Soft porn inhabits itself in our daily lives, including in what Rupert Murdoch hilariously describes as a ‘family newspaper’, the Sun’s Page Three. There is nothing wrong with glamour modelling, and absolutely nothing wrong with being skinny and having big boobs, but there is something wrong with girls facing these expectations for their own bodies on a daily basis.

Do you know how uncomfortable it is to sit next to a man looking at Page Three on a train, feeling objectified and frankly ugly? Having these expectations upon your shoulders from a young age is unhealthy, and downright unfair.

Openly labelling myself as a feminist has been hard at times, particularly as many people, including other girls, have automatically assumed I am on a boy-hating tirade. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Change is going to happen when people stop being afraid to label themselves as a feminist. What’s wrong with wanting a fairer, better society? It’s time to stand up, be brave, and admit that we do not live in a just society, and that has to change.

What do you think of Ilar’s view on feminism? Let us know in the comments below!