“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?'
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.