Thursday, 24 January 2013

What Happened to Sisterhood?

“But, of course, you might be asking yourself, 'Am I a feminist? I might not be. I don't know! I still don't know what it is! I'm too knackered and confused to work it out. That curtain pole really still isn't up! I don't have time to work out if I am a women's libber! There seems to be a lot to it. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?'
I understand. 
So here is the quick way of working out if you're a feminist. Put your hand in your pants.

a) Do you have a vagina? and
b) Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you said 'yes' to both, then congratulations! You're a feminist.”  - Caitlin Moran

The day I decided to pay attention to 'my feminism' is one I often look back on. I was walking home in the dark after university and I was wearing a skirt, I felt a bit uneasy, then I realised that it wasn't the fear of the dark or the fear of 'rough people', but a specific fear of men. Men seeing me in my skirt, walking alone in the dark and thinking it is ok to honk their horn, to call me names and men who were physically stronger than me.

I studied sociology, and chose to focus on women's studies at university, I understood the theories, but I had never really applied them to my life until then. I've tried to keep in the loop outside of uni and have read Germaine Greer and even tried 50 Shades of Grey because the movement of women to openly read erotica was something special (the writing was awful and I couldn't even get half way through, not to mention how one dimensional the characters are). What worries me is the lack of 'togetherness', the feminism of the 60s and the women's rights movement is long gone, it is up to us to ensure we really take advantage of its legacy. I recently watched the Suzanne Moore debate around trans bodies blow up, and although I didn't agree with her comparison, it highlighted the huge amount of in-fighting between women. If everyone ends up scared of saying things for fear of sparking a backlash, no one will get anywhere. 

There should always be room for a feminist discussion or dialogue, women being paid less, women not being hired as much when at child bearing age, women being one of the most affected groups in the recession. This isn't airy-fairy stuff. Imagine a world when men didn't shout 'oi oi' out their car at you, didn't grind up against you at the bar or a world where you didn't worry about having to choose between children and work. What happened to girl power? the sisterhood? If that is gone, the least we can do is try to eradicate it in our own way, in our own lives. I believe step number one is identifying times when things don't sit well with you.

Once you're aware you can begin to tackle it head on, for example the Mail Online's sidebar is just one massive shit on women, I've seen headlines about Leona Lewis' arm fat. To this I say 'ARM FAT DOESN'T MAKE HER LESS OF A WOMAN. Stick arms would look ridiculous and she couldn't do any heavy lifting.' I don't care about my arm fat, I like cheese and chocolate and I can realise this isn't a real concern.  If I can't be bothered to shave my legs, I won't. It's my body and I'm partial to a bit of leg hair in the winter months. I say to Lee that I'll wax when he does, that puts the end to that. Liz Jones got my blood pressure rising by writing a viscous and bitchy attack about Clare Balding the other week, her clothes, her work and her look. including the awful line:


"She uses the old feminist argument, too: oh, I don’t get the big-money contracts because I have a womb! Well, I don’t see the kudos in being given a gong when your only competition is Gabby Logan."


What I would like is women my age to be proud to be a feminist, to tell their male colleagues to shut up when making offensive jokes, to wear whatever they damn well want, to feel cool with the fact they slap foundation on and don't need to watch a video to learn how to contour, to not compare their junk to that of Kim Kardashian or Beyonce. 

You rock. Rock harder, keep your eyes open and don't take any shit.

24 comments:

  1. Go girl. Of course I never say that but felt I had to haha. Totally agree with what you are saying. Recently if someone has made a sexist joke I tell them to shut up but I just get looked at funny like I've spoilt everything and I should laugh along, no Ta. X

    Alittleonesadventures.blogspot.com

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    1. Top work! It is sometimes so hard to be the one to say something but so worth doing x

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  2. I never call myself a feminist because I don't really like to label myself. I am a person who is naturally in charge of her own body when it comes to sex and physical attraction, and all that jazz - I don't do what I don't want, and I do what I want. If I decide not to shave (wherever), I don't. And I happen to have a boyfriend who thinks that's perfectly fine (even though he has his preferences). And if I don't mind going out without make up, I don't put any make up on. I don't tell myself I should put make up on "or else". Nah.

    And I think every woman should be the same, as far as that goes. Every woman should feel comfortable with herself, even though she's not what is being sold to us in the magazines. We don't need to be a Kim Kardashian, or a Beyoncé. We should if we want to, but we should also understand that there is a lot more to us than just the way we look. We must understand that we all have a lot to offer - regardless of looks. I wish the world (and especially the media) would put more emphasis on self-worth and less on appearance.

    A week or so ago I watched a show of two girls who'd gone to live in a big city (New York). They tried to get a modeling job so they went to an agency. One of them was rejected for not being tall enough. She said she didn't like that and that she'd gone to New York to escape the judging and criticizing culture she came from, so she gave up on modeling all together. The other girl was told to lose weight and come back. And she was... just normal! A little bit of arm fat but slim nonetheless. And she said: "Yeah... but I did gain a couple of pounds these last few weeks..."

    I was like: "are you serious?!"

    Anyway, I could go on forever, but I agree when you say women should... well... give themselves more credit, I suppose. Themselves and each other. And more respect as well. They need to stand up for themselves more/better.

    As far as pay and work goes... I fear we still have a long way to go. But then, we're getting there.

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    1. I totally get that you don't want to label yourself, I'd just like to see the word getting used in a more constructive way than being linked to old stereotypes. Agree on how ridiculous the whole body image thing is getting! x

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  3. I love the sentiment of this post. I totally agree that women should be happy in their bodies, and happy with their decisions, and happy to express their opinions. I, however, don't like the labelling of this as 'feminism'. I think it should be something everyone should do. I also find 'feminism' to be such a loaded term.

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    1. Totally understand, it is so annoying that the word has got such old stereotypes attached to it, I hope this changes soon :) x

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  4. I like this post. Though I don't necessarily refer to myself as a feminist Id pretty much say I am one. I think the problem with feminism these days is that some women take it to the extreme - getting angry if someone pulls out their chair for them for example - so it's almost become a dirty word

    My idea of feminism is being in a position where I know I can look after myself, I have a career and good money that I alone work for, and that I don't rely on anyone for anything. I love my boyfriend but he isn't my entire world, I have no desire to be a housewife and my body is not purely a baby making machine

    It would make me very uncomfortable if I was ever in a position that had me relying so much on a man that I didn't know who I was on my own, but I'm more than happy to be bought meals and gifts from time to time.. Just as he is when I foot the bill

    I do think women need to stand up for themselves more, and to have a bit more self respect in certain situations x

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    1. PS. I saw this and thought of you: http://pinterest.com/pin/281052832967670954/

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    2. Enjoying your definition of feminism! Top notch work, don't worry about everyone's being the same, as long as you can apply it to your everyday life and make progress, then all is good! xx

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  5. I agree with this post and all these replies!!

    To be feminist has become kind of like a dirty word, and no one really knows the true meaning of being one.

    Have you ever looked at the tweets by @everydaysexism? Those are scary. And it's pretty much women who are afraid of the men in their direct paths, on the subway, at work, people they don't know or do, because of the harassment that they might force upon women. It's really eye opening and has made me rethink what I deem as appropriate.
    xo

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    1. I have seen everyday sexism, it is great how they are shedding light on just how much is left to do! x

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  6. I liked this post too. I particularly agree with the first part about walking about in a skirt and worrying about what could happen. I have a friend who often tells me I should cover my hair and clothes with a dark coat and hat so it's less obvious I'm a girl. This makes me cross because why should males be allowed to walk about after dark but girls should not.

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    1. Thank you! I hate being scared to wear my own clothes, it is so frustrating and infuriating x

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  7. Urgh I hate the Daily Mail with a passion.. it really is ridiculous what they write about. I also like to keep some leg hair in winter, keeps you that little bit warmer. xx

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    1. Totally agree, esp with the leg hair comment! x

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  8. Loved this post. There's nothing wrong with a bit of leg hair in winter I like the warmth! I especially agree with the sentiments of the last part, we should feel more comfortable about who we are, not feel negative for not applying makeup 'properly' or for not having the same body as a celeb xxx

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    1. Ah thank you Lauren, it means a lot that you agree :) x

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  9. I love this post and I love your blog! <3

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  10. This was such an inspiring post! I completely agree, time to stand up for ourselves and each other

    http://alittlebitunique.blogspot.co.uk/

    x

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  11. Thank you all so much for your comments, it means a lot to me that you all care enough to listen and comment on my rants, especially on something as important as this :) xxx

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