13 Mar 2015

(Photo: imgkid)

Even in 2015, it pains me to know that when people hear the word 'feminist', the general connotations (of those who don't associate themselves with the movement) tend to be somewhere along the lines of man-hating, non-shaving, free-bleeding screeching maniac. This social definition in itself is exactly one of the reasons millions of other females, males and myself need feminism.

Feminism can be defined as 'the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes' which is where I feel the first misunderstanding of what feminism actually is lies. I believe simple explanation of this official definition could help society let go of a lot of misconstrued ideas of what the movement stands for; the biggest problem surrounding feminism is people who are uneducated and ignorant towards what it is.

There are still pay gaps!

As of April this year, it will have been 52 years since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed in America. Yet, this far on, American women are paid an average of 77 cents to the $1 a man would earn in the same job, doing the same amount of work. In the UK, as of 2013, women earned 19.3% less per hour. North America and the UK are examples of countries where the pay gap is not as severe as it could be, with Korea's pay gap being a massive 37.5%! It is beyond my comprehension how this could make sense to anyone?


To go back to my opening paragraph, the connotations of feminism are one of the exact reasons we need it. Women who are not afraid to speak their minds about the injustice they experience based on their gender, are punished and labelled with words such as 'feminazi' or just plainly 'insane'. Not only does this beat down women who have had the confidence to vocalise their feelings, it keeps other women from speaking up about their thoughts and experiences as they are afraid of being categorized by such names. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman tells of a writer, convinced by her husband and the patriarchal society she lives in that she is insane because of her hobby of writing as a woman. This in turn, discouraged other women who wanted to write, through fear of being defined as the narrator from The Yellow Wallpaper, which is exactly what is happening in the case of labelling and stereotyping in the modern day. Women are discouraged from speaking their minds.

"Men are victims too"

"What about men?" What about men? Sometimes, to annoy myself, I venture deep in the depths of the comments section of articles (usually Daily Mail) based loosely on a gender issue, and read such comments as 'this applies to men too' and 'don't forget about men'. Recently, the Salvation Army released an advertisement featuring the famous 'blue dress', being worn by a female victim of domestic physical abuse. These comments I have already mentioned were of course present, written by both men and women alike. Although feminism does argue equal rights for both genders, it is mainly women who have been and still are marginalised and discriminated against. I feel something society needs to address is that if a problem doesn't affect men, it is still a problem. Feminism aims to equalise everyone, but focuses on achieving for women, what men are born accustomed to. For women, feminism is more than just an ideology; it is our entire lives.

♡ because women shouldn't measure their self-worth on mens' opinions of them 
♡ because women shouldn't be forced to dress modestly so their body doesn't offend you 
♡ because a man was praised by the national media and social networks for being a single parent 
♡ because I fear for my safety when I'm walking home past 7pm 
♡ because the fact I have a boyfriend shouldn't be the only reason boys take no for answer 
♡ because people find the topic of menstruation more offensive than rape 

I hope you can understand that there are thousands of problems women like myself, as well as in other countries, are faced with every day, but to list one would be to list them all and this post would have simply been too long. This perhaps has been the most brief introduction to feminism anyone has ever written, with the most basic of ideologies somewhat explained. However, I hope it provided a brief insight into my vaguely personal definition of feminism and how I look at the world around me, through a feminist perspective.