Once again, the president of the United States almost stopped me from posting today. Once again, I am not going to let him stop me!
Hello everyone, today I am going to be talking about what feminism means to me. Get ready to buckle your seatbelts because this is going to be a wild ride.
Feminism is something that is very important to me. Although I only learned about it properly a few years ago, the lessons it’s taught me have had a humongous impact on my life and the way I see the world. The literal definition of feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism does not mean women are better than men. This notion means so much to me as I’m a firm believer nobody should ever be discriminated against because of their gender (and you should be too!) To me, feminism means a better quality of life and more opportunities for everybody.
Feminism means fighting for a better world. To me, this is about never giving up in the face of defeat. Yes, we will lose battles along the way, but we’ll also make progress in the future – because we are the future! After all, so much has already changed since the movement began. It means celebrating our small victories whilst staying strong and fighting back when life tries to walk all over us. It means reaching out to help others when life tries to walk on them.
Feminism needs to be intersectional in order to benefit all women. If you are more privileged than someone in terms of race, gender, sexuality, etc., this means listening to their experiences and actually acknowledging them. It means believing them, not being indifferent or accusing them of lying because we can’t relate to what’s been said. Ultimately, intersectional feminism means recognising the movement needs to help more than just white, cis, able-bodied, middle-class, heterosexual women (that was a mouthful!) It needs to help all women.
Feminism also means helping men. Although women suffer from the effects of the patriarchy to a greater extent (which is why I think using the term ‘feminism’ is important so we don’t lose sight of that), there are also ways the patriarchy harms males. For example, male abuse and rape victims are taken less seriously. Also, men are more likely to die from suicide than women. Many believe this is because society has taught men to completely suppress their emotions.
Feminism means recognising just because we are discussing women’s issues at one point in time, that doesn’t mean we don’t care about men’s issues as well. For example, if someone is having a specific conversation about female victims of abuse and rape, it means not dismissing that by telling them ‘well men get raped too.’ This is because in that space the conversation happens to be about female victims, therefore in another conversation it will be about male victims. Having said this, it’s vital these conversations about men do actually take place, because like I previously said, male abuse and rape victims are often taken less seriously. In short, feminism means making sure these conversations occur for all genders. Feminism does not mean fighting against existing conversations in order to start new ones. An alternative, more helpful response to ‘well men get raped too’ could be ‘I really care that men get raped too, so let’s start a conversation about that as well whilst the one about women continues.’ In my opinion, this is more useful mind-set.
So there we have it – that is what feminism means to me! During times like these (a.k.a. the Trump era), I think it’s more important than ever to keep discussions about feminism going. Although all this negativity often brings me down, I am trying to make it encourage me to speak out more. If any of you have written posts speaking out about issues under threat, please link them to me in the comments. I will genuinely read all of them because I need people to give me hope right now, so please let me know your thoughts!