Last summer I became a feminist, probably the result of overhearing a man in The Mitre in reaction to Jessica Ennis’ Olympic triumph, casually grumble ‘They should just stick to netball and typing.’
However, I didn’t really understand feminism. The only admitting feminist I knew doesn’t own a bra, wears shoes that look orthopaedic and doesn’t believe in tampons. I quite like boys, push my tits up, dye my hair lighter, use ‘slut’ as an endearing term and cry at ‘One Born Every Minute.’
I felt like I did not fit in with feminism; a view confessed by others. I’ve been told that I ‘don’t look like a feminist’ and my views were once met begrudgingly with: ‘Eugh don’t be a feminist my ex-girlfriend was ‘like that.’ One female friend thinks that feminists are ‘lesbians who hate men.’ My confusion was broadcast in my feminist ranting. An offender would be bombarded with a high pitched chaos of words with the odd ‘THIRTY PERCENT PAY GAP’ and ‘MARGARET THATCHER’ thrown in. And for this, I apologise to feminism.
However, I am lucky enough to have a dad who bought How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran for me, probably with an ‘if you’re going to do feminism, you might as well do it properly’ attitude. Now, armed with the brilliant views of Caitlin, I am going to tell you why you are a feminist, you just don’t know it yet.
So, it’s not all about burning bras and hating men. We love bras (how could a girl run down the stairs pain-free without one?) and men are not our subordinates, we love them too and sex would not be quite the same without them. Men can definitely stay. They can even be feminists themselves (Ryan Gosling is a feminist icon, and women dig Ryan Gosling, enough is said.)
Feminism is about women having more of the world, about having their fair share of it, because it would be better. Not only are we blessed with all the nice, pretty, squidgy bits, we are creative, inventive, intelligent and funny. Now, well equipped with the vote and the pill, and no longer preoccupied with giving birth to our fourteenth child on the kitchen floor, Western women can reinvent the world so that it is suited to all of us, not just the men. The patriarchy could do with a rest now anyway. After thousands of years of building cities, fighting wars and supplying the world with great thinkers, it could probably do with a helping hand from the women.
What can we change then? The list goes on so I will only mention the one which keeps raising its misogynistic head. Strip clubs. Strip clubs let men and women down. They are unhappy places. The men have no kind or caring feelings towards the women pulling a thong down in front of them and the women hate the men. Magazines have printed interviews with girls who claim that stripping is empowering because it pays their university fees. Well, if girls really have to strip to afford education then that is an immense political issue and not a reason to keep strip clubs going. Unlike the average Jesters night involving men, women, very little clothing and alcohol, no one is having fun in a strip club.
So, to be a feminist is to support the liberation and freedom of women. Personally, I think that if a woman does not consider themselves a feminist, they may as well give their vote back to the patriarchy and return to cleaning the dishes.