We kick off our ‘Why I’m a Feminist’ series and many of you will be weighing in, we hope, with more on what feminism means to you. It’s a word that sometimes feels like it’s lost its edge… or the principles it stands for are somewhat blurry.
Maybe it’s because we’ve had the first, second, third and apparently even fourth wave of feminism and now it doesn’t seem like a radical concept anymore. But it is, surely? Equality? Which so many of us profess to believe in. So why are we shying away from the ‘F-word’?
(According to Prof Martha Rampton who I linked to above this is a characteristic of the third wave.)
Some of you identify strongly with the struggle for equal rights, irrespective of gender, but — as you’ll see in our ‘youth-speak’ votes — don’t like using the word ‘feminism’.
Here’s the dictionary definition, with thanks to Merriam-Webster:
“the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
: organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests”
Sounds about right, no? And here’s the thing, you can have your own interpretation. Your version and my version, they may not be the same… Maybe they’re on the same spectrum, maybe they’re not. There are some incredibly fluent arguments for why feminism can’t be a strictly binary gender rights movement, or how it must absolutely intersect with the fight for equality across the board. That is to say, disability rights, the freedom of choice for sexual and reproductive rights, these are all inter-connected fights.
Let us know who your favourite feminist writers and thinkers are, whether you grew up reading Betty Friedan or Gloria Steinem, Mary Wollstonecraft or Germaine Greer… whether you liked Nivedita Menon’s ‘Seeing Like a Feminist’ or haven’t heard of any of them but want to know more… Share your stories with us and let’s continue a conversation that’s worth having.
Those of us privileged enough to be interacting in this space could do worse than remember that we are standing on the shoulder of giants. It wasn’t always the case that women could vote, or work, or get paid a decent wage. There are large pockets of this country itself, where this isn’t a reality. You don’t even have to leave your city to find places where patriarchal forces are stacked up against women… and you don’t have to leave the cities to find pockets of resistance, either.
It’s a fight worth fighting, the non-violent revolution of revolutions. And quite frankly, we need to be part of the change, or get out of the way.
So sure, maybe you don’t identify as a feminist, or don’t want your friends to think you’re a bra-burner or man-hater — I”m neither, tbh — but maybe you do believe in equality, pay parity. Whatever the case, we want to hear from you.
Let’s get talking!