Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Feminism: A dirty word?

I feel I've been boring my peers a lot with my feminist rants lately, but the complete lack of enthusiasm by women to open their eyes to feminist issues is shocking.

It seems after we won the vote and campaigned for equal pay, most women believed the job of feminists had been done, and to carry on the fight in the 21st century was pointless and radical. After all, what is there left to fight for?

Feminists are still perceived as hairy legged man hating ranters, who are scary and odd, and not one to engage in conversation. I can see people cringe when I mention I'm a feminist, as they conjure up these images.

I do not have to compromise who I am to be a feminist, I'm a dedicated follower of fashion, I swoon over unsuitable guys and sometimes (shock horror) I show a bit of leg.

During a discussion with friends after a night out, I mentioned how a guy had grabbed my arse, and how I was appalled and would of punched him, had I not had my hands full with drinks as I navigated myself out of a bar queue.

I was told 'what did I expect' as I was dressed in shorts and knee high socks. I argued that I could dress provocatively if I wished, and not have to worry about getting goosed.

It seems young women who have benefited from the work of past generations of women, simply accept these new rights we have as the norm, and are quite willing to accept the social inequalities we still face today.

Women are still not paid equally in Britain, despite the equal pay act the feminists fought so hard for. Thankfully gagging orders about male colleague's salaries have recently been lifted, making it illegal for companies to hide what individuals are being paid. So while the fight is still far from over, we're getting closer.

My point is, among students, where opinions and political activism should be at their highest, many women are simply happy to sit back and accept the situation.

Is it fair that some men still think it is acceptable to view us as sex objects that they have unprecedented access to?

Is it right that there are women who will answer to their boyfriend's every word and caution?

Is it okay that some women will dress provocatively purely for the chance to please men?

Should we accept the undertone of most popular music, selling sex to sell female artists?

We have a lot to thank feminists for; without the suffragettes we wouldn't have votes, without first wave feminists we wouldn't have equal pay and equal job opportunities.

Next time you sneer at feminism, think about it.