Stop judging me for being a Feminist

It’s not about man-hating, bra-burning lesbians

Feminism has become such a dirty word over the past few decades. A lot of feminists now get misconstrued as being man-hating, bra-burning lesbians – and I’m fed up with it.

Why should I be tutted at, made jokes at and looked at differently just because I believe in the equality of my gender? We may be living in a modern age, where lots of us benefit from a more prosperous and technologically fruitful life; but this does not mean that men and woman are considered equal in every aspect of our lives. The fact remains that men are still the dominant sex.

So why should my arguments against this be dismissed? Why should I be looked at any differently for being passionate about true equality?

What is a Feminist?

I’m fed up of people’s ignorance over what it means to be a feminist. Common misconceptions of Feminism leads to it getting a bad name, which causes people like me to get abuse because of it.  Feminism isn’t about the pursuit of power and supremacy over men, it isn’t about “getting revenge” and it certainly isn’t about hating men.

Feminism by definition is “the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power and opportunities as men”, so why is the word entangled in all these negative stereotypes?

We still need Feminism

I think it is so important that everyone realises what the modern feminist movement is all about. Yes we were successful in achieving votes for women, yes we extended our sexual liberties in the 1960s and 70s and gained more control over their bodies, but it doesn’t just stop there – feminism is still necessary today.

The gender pay gap still exists, women are earning 18 per cent less on average than men in the UK. Similarly, women represent just one sixth of senior executives at the largest listed companies in the UK. No this isn’t because women do not work as hard as men, or that women are less intelligent – it is downright discrimination. Unfortunately there are countless examples of how women are still unequal in the workplace, at home and in society today.

Why I’m a Feminist

I grew up with parents that were not the archetype of a ‘traditional nuclear family’. My Dad was not the breadwinner my Mum was, my Mum wasn’t the one waiting for me at the school gates, my Dad was. He cooked the family meals, he did the washing and the cleaning whilst my mum was out working long hours to bring in a good wage.

This instilled in me the idea that women should not have to conform to stereotypes, we can be independent and hard-working just as much as men can. And more importantly I now strongly believe that I can pursue a career and have a family, the two are not mutually exclusive.

The media is problematic

For some unknown reason, when a women succeeds in something the media seem to fixate on her female traits – which serve to completely belittle her achievements. When Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister in 1979, did the media focus on her success in penetrating a male dominated world, her intelligence, her skills? No – the media very much focussed on her appearance. Her pearls, her handbags and her hair became common features in the media worldwide.

The same analysis of female appearance is also occurring now. Our current Prime Minister Theresa May also undergoes public scrutiny other the things she wears. With recent articles focusing on her ‘lucky Vivienne Westwood suit’. Over in America, a similar thing happened to Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. What did the media concentrate on during her first post-election speech – not her eloquence in defeat but her “sickly” appearance due to her lack of make-up. I mean really? Does a lack of red lipstick really warrant that much attention? If Donald Trump failed to keep an immaculate side parting for one day, would the media have ignited in a similar frenzied attack? I think not.

So leave me alone please

People need to stop dismissing feminism as unnecessary and perpetuating the myths that it is about man-hating and seeking power. We shouldn’t be laughed at, mocked and dismissed simply for desiring equality for our gender.

Why shouldn’t I fight for gender equality? Why should we just put up with being discriminated against in every aspect of our lives? And more to the point why am I being judged for believing in this?

I am a feminist, and I refuse to be belittled or ashamed for saying that I am.