Feminism feels like something someone else should write about. Someone who has read all the books, who has all the answers, who has it ‘down’.
To be honest I don’t even know if I want to write about this. Its a complex debate. So loaded. It can be intimidating.
Someone who is ‘much better at feminism’ than me could read this and decide that I was writing about it all wrong – too hesitant, too uncertain – and decide I was letting women down. Because there are a few like that out there; women who talk other women down, for ‘talking women down’. Mary Berry got slammed. Kirsty Allsopp got bashed. Then the women who bashed Kirstie got bashed.
I get it though, its disappointing, I bashed a few of them too, less eloquently, over wine with friends. I was pretty pissed off when I found out that there are over 17,000 women on facebook who’ve joined a movement called ‘women against feminism’ (I’m not linking to them – they don’t deserve the traffic). Its ironic – all falling over themselves to tell the world they don’t need feminism – whilst forming a group to make strong assertions about the good treatment they have in their lives – respect; equal relationships; careers where they are treated fairly.
Er…I hate to break it to you girls but that sounds like feminism. And you’re making some sad statements.
Oh shit…but do I now accidentally sound like I’m the ‘opposite of a feminist’? Judging other women – who are opposed to being feminists – telling them that they don’t know what they mean, what they are?
I can sort of see how we got to a place where some women feel alienated.
When I was younger, I didn’t like the question ‘are you a feminist?’ It felt like a trick question. ‘Er yeah obvs’. But answering it could feel extreme, like putting my religious or political beliefs out there. Or it felt like a quiet hypocrisy – because I was also facebook stalking men and wearing foundation to the gym. Feminism felt like – and it can still feel like – something I’m not good enough at, for some people.
Feminism should be a straightforward concept, a no brainer – equality for women, choice, a voice. But its blurred with so many complex sub-debates about career and family. Whether women can be ‘the same’ as men; whether women ‘need’ men; if our life experiences can realistically be equivalent. I don’t quite know the answer to all of these questions, I just know my own opinion.
But I do know that I am a feminist. As I get older – become a ‘woman of a certain age’ and see the unfairness in our world, from the violence and inequality we read about, to the subtle sexist shit my friends and I have seen and faced at work, in relationships, in London – I need it more than ever.
Talking about feminism needs to get easier. Being a feminist needs to feel easier for more women, more straightforward. It needs to be a no-brainer. Equality. Just basic human rights. We need it. We really do. There should be no question.