Thursday, 31 January 2013


Something that I've been becoming acquainted with recently is feminism (sounds scary - right?), a term that I've heard being thrown around a lot in the past but never really understood. So what is feminism? I'll start here; I can guarantee that if you asked the question "do you believe in equality for men and women?" the majority of people would reply "yes - of course!" but when faced with the question "are you a feminist?" they would run a mile. But that's all feminism is really isn't it? Equality. Nowadays there's so much stigma attached to the word feminism with words such as man-hater and feminazi being thrown in the mix, that people will do anything to avoid being associated with such "extreme feminists" for lack of a better phrase.

I was in a lecture last semester discussing sexism in the media when the lecturer posed the question (to a room full of women) "who here is a feminist?" to which only another girl and I raised our hands. When those who didn't raise their hands were asked why I heard such responses as "because I want to shave my legs and armpits, I don't want to be hairy!", "because I'm not a bra-burning hippy" and "because I want to be a stay at home mum". But something that I've come to realise is that feminism is about having the choice to shave and having the choice to be a stay at home mum rather that it simply being expected. Feminism is being able to do these things because we want to, not because society says that we should.

(Illustrations taken from Mum, I'm a Feminist)

I'm not an expert on feminism, nor am I claiming to be, I simply want to try to get across the message that feminism isn't complicated, it's not man-hating or any of the other negative connotations that have become normality in today's world. Feminism is about making choices about your own body, it's about pay equality, it's about being able to walk down the street at night without the fear of being raped. "But that last one's just common sense!" I hear you say - it's not. It's rape culture. But I won't go into all of that at this moment in time.

I know I've rambled quite a bit here and I hope that I've made enough sense, I just think it's important for you to scribble out any negative preconceptions regarding feminism and take the time to find out a bit more about what being a feminist is really about and how it doesn't have to take over your life - just make it better!

So if I've got your attention and you're interested in finding out a bit more about modern day feminism, here's a short list of books and websites that I've found interesting and helpful:

  • Mum, I'm a Feminist (blog) - if you don't want to spend any money quite yet, this is the place to start! A humorous, cleverly written blog complete with reader submissions and everything you need to know about real feminism.
  • Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti (£8.27 from The Book Depository or £7.43 on Amazon eBooks) - in the process of reading; easy to read, well written and a "young woman's guide to why feminism is important".
  • How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (£8.39 from The Book Depository or just £3.67 on Amazon eBooks) - haven't actually read yet but recommended as an English alternative to Full Frontal Feminism.

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