Why is feminism so important?

‘Uh, you’re a feminist’, one guy mutters when I note that he shouldn’t talk about women disrespectfully after he started rating girl’s looks out of ten whilst we walked down the highstreet.

For some reason, this is meant to be an insult, and I’m the one in the wrong.

Feminist has become a dirty word and I’m fed up of being ‘the angry feminist’. Yes, I’m quite confrontational and argumentative in real life, but that is me, and it is not the defining trait that resounds with feminism. I am a feminist because I have been mistreated by men who expect to get away with it, I’ve experienced managers make sexual comments about myself and my colleagues, and I’ve seen subtle sexism nearly every day since I have understood the differences between men and women.

It’s just ‘banter’, they’re ‘only joking’, and then the next thing you know you’re hanging out with guys who think it’s acceptable to laugh and joke about rape and how you should get a girl drunk if you want to have sex with her.

The ‘lad culture’, which has overwhelmingly affected universities, has created a dangerous breeding ground for disrespectful, misogynistic behaviour towards women. Don’t get me wrong, people like this have been around forever, but for some reason the negativity towards ‘feminism’ from these ‘lads’ has really ramped up.

People say to me: ‘Feminism isn’t necessary anymore, we’re equal.’

Well, I hate to break it to you, but this isn’t the case. Yet.

I dated someone who told me they weren’t a feminist because the fact it had ‘fem’ in it meant it was biased towards women, and that he was an ‘equalist’. Ok, so – feminism is the idea that men and women should be treated equally, ‘equalism’ isn’t the name for it, because women were the ones suppressed by men and therefore had to make themselves equal. Women have always been the ‘lesser sex’ and that is why it is FEMinism.

Women in England couldn’t vote until 1928, they couldn’t sit on a jury for a rape case until 1972, and the government didn’t introduce an Equal Pay Act until 1975. Let that sink in, that was 43 years ago. And now, in 2018, women don’t earn the same as male counterparts in the workplace – look at the BBC. And if a company claims they pay both sexes equally, women are still discriminated against in management roles and often turned down for roles for fear they will go on maternity leave.

If you’re a woman in business, or in a high up position, you are a ‘bossy’ person who doesn’t spend enough time with her children. If you hold the same position, and you’re male, you’re successful. This is why feminism still exists.

The president of the biggest superpower in the world, said that you could ‘grab women by the pussy’. But that’s just ‘locker room talk right?’. No, although it might be said as ‘banter’, if reinforces the fact that men can get away with assault. The scariest thing is, so many people just disregarded trumps ‘throwaway line’ as banter and still voted him in. One of the most powerful people in the world, who makes jokes about sexually assaulting women – does that sound like a gender equal society?

Men don’t get nearly as much maternity leave as women, they’ve become a parent too and deserve to stay with their child for as long as they can. Men are told not to cry or show their feelings because they have to ‘grow some balls’. This isn’t fair treatment of men either and feminism wants these issues to be balanced.

Women in third world countries are shot if they try to gain access to education, girls are married off at the age of 11 and women are beaten by their husbands because they ‘belong’ to them. Tell me again that we’re equal?

Yes, I hear you. I wasn’t married off at 11 and I don’t have a husband that beats me, so why should I care?

And in response, I say: because if we don’t care, who will? We know that these practices aren’t right, but we still struggle in wealthy, superpower, first world countries, to pay men and women the same for the. same. work. For goodness sake, how can you even believe that we have equality?

So I’ll carry on being a feminist, and I’ll shrug it off when you disregard me as an angry man-hater when I bring something unfair up in conversation. I will ignore the ‘oh here we go, the feminist is off on one again’ because I just don’t care anymore. I’m not ashamed to call myself a feminist, and neither should you.

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