This is What a Feminist Looks Like
Happy International Women's Day! This year's theme is 'Be Bold for Change' and I truly believe that for real change to happen, we all need to understand the fundamentals of what feminism is. It's something that is continuously debated back and forth and today I'd like to break down the essence what it means to be a feminist. Because really and truly we should all be feminists!
noun | fem·i·nism \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\
- the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
There it is! In plain and easy to understand English, there is the essence of what feminism is. Equality! Yet still so much debate and discrepancy exists around what it means to be a feminist, who real feminists are (because apparently there is such a thing as fake feminists?) and the stigma of identifying yourself as one.
Even more frustrating is the fact that women are using the word feminism as "a stick with which to beat other women with", as Emma Watson so eloquently put it whilst defending her latest Vanity Fair photoshoot. You can search through countless articles online and find so many sad cases of women attacking one another for not being TRUE feminists. It's unhelpful to the cause because feminism is about supporting one another to move forward, not tearing each other down in the name of "pure" feminist values.
In truth, we are fighting to allow women to have choice over their lives, their bodies and their beliefs. Anything else is just creating more obstacles that we really don't need. By focusing on giving women choice, we can also accommodate for the diversity of women's cultural backgrounds and how feminism can be expressed within them. We promote inclusivity not exclusivity! That's how we bring about change!
"The term feminist is so inclusive now. There isn't one way to be a feminist or to practice feminism, to exercise feminism. You can be feminist in lots of different ways because the point is freedom of choice." - Kerry Washington.
The Women's March on January 21st of this year was an example of how women can make their voices heard collectively. It was a movement that spread across the globe and inspired so many. But we are still on the edge of change. More and more people are needed to continue normalising the equality of the sexes. In fact, everybody should be involved because women's rights are really human rights!
So yes boys, you can be feminists too! Feminism also supports males by allowing us to break down specified gender roles, highlighting individual traits rather than those pre-described by society. No longer will you be required to be macho at all times when you enjoy expressing yourselves. No longer will you feel that you have to be the sole breadwinner of the family, putting all financial burden on you and you alone. Rather you and your partner can be equal in decisions. This can be the new normal.
So that breakdown, let's look at it a little closer shall we?
A feminist is someone who...
- Believes in equal rights amongst the sexes.
- Is female, male or anything and everything in-between.
- Supports women in their CHOICES, whether it be to be modest in clothing or be provocative in behaviour, whether they are a CEO or stay-at-home mum, whether they even bear kids or are fulfilled without any children (you go Jennifer Aniston!).
- Is aware of double standards.
- Has strong opinions and beliefs about the things that are important to them.
- Can believe in equal rights and the negative effects of a patriarchal society, but also still enjoy wearing makeup and heels.
- DOESN'T hate men! (this is such an old fashioned stereotype, can it please die already?!).
- Wants to make the world a better place for EVERYBODY!
Have I convinced you that you're a feminist yet? Someone hand you a Dior "We Should All Be Feminists" T-shirt, stat! If not, have a read of some of favourite books on feminism and let me know what you think:
- We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Full Frontal Feminism - Jessica Valenti
- He's a Stud, She's a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards That Every Women Should Know About - Jessica Valenti
*Photos by Akua from Kuiya's Kloset