Wednesday, 20 May 2015

This is a really cute sticker sold by ModernGirlBlitz on Etsy

I was initially going to call this post "Why I'm a Feminist and Why You Should Be Too" but I figured that it is not my job to tell you what you should and shouldn't be. All I can do really is to tell you what feminism is and why I am one.

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in feminism; I've only really 'discovered' it, as it were, in the past couple of years. My understanding of it is this (and please do correct me if I'm wrong on any points):

Feminists believe in equality for all and fight against oppression that is generated from the patriarchy. I think a common misconception here that arises is that the patriarchy is often seen as synonymous with men, translating then into 'men are the problem'. This is not the case. The 'patriarchy' is essentially a social system in today's society that favours the straight, white male. Any person* who does not fit into this category is likely limited by this social system. This is not to say that every person is limited by it and it also not to say that every straight white male benefits from it. There are always exceptions.

*I use the word person here to reference members of any gender not just the gender binaries that society tends to emphasise. 

As mentioned, a misconception about feminism is that it is man-hating movement. Because the patriarchy favours men, they then must be responsible for oppression. Obviously this is not entirely true. Men benefit from this system and so it is their responsibility to make efforts to highlight issues surrounding gender and to make concerted efforts to stop themselves from discriminating towards other genders.

Misconceptions about feminism have also led to such trends as 'Why I Don't Need Feminism' pictured below. Movements like this are usually sparked by a misunderstanding of what feminism is or from people who as mentioned earlier, are the exception to the rule. Perhaps these people don't feel that they are affected by the patriarchy and therefore they believe it doesn't exist. This however is harmful as it ignores every other person's experience and how they are affected by the patriarchy.

That is a very short introduction to my understanding of what feminism is. Again, I reiterate that I'm not an expert in this topic and I plan to research a whole lot more into feminism.

What Feminism Means To Me 

Feminism for me has simply made me more comfortable with myself. For years throughout high school I hated myself, my appearance especially. One of the main reasons was because I didn't have a boyfriend. I felt worthless simply because I live in a culture that tells women that they only have value if they are attractive to men. I also disregarded anything that is considered traditionally 'feminine' such as skirts and make-up. I was 'not one of those girls', an idea that developed in my head due to my internalised misogyny. This patriarchal society likes to monitor the way girls live and choose to present themselves. The culture I live in suggests that if you're interested in make-up, you're a shallow bimbo but if you're unattractive to men, you are insignificant. Because of this, I had no confidence, barely spoke to anyone and was unhappy.

Since becoming a feminist I have become more confident and comfortable with myself, with the kind of person I am and with the way my body looks. Feminism shows us that there is no one way a person should look, that we shouldn't make presumptions based on appearance. It has therefore enabled me to accept myself, both the parts I like and the parts I dislike.

It has also given me more awareness of issues people face and I think, allowed me a greater understanding of the world. Feminism is about more than just body image and the way women look. It focuses on the ways in which society chooses to oppress and punish those who not perceived as the 'norm'.

Obviously there is much more to feminism than what I've discussed so far but I fear this post is already a little on the lengthy side so I'm going to end this entry here.

If you want to learn more about feminism, a very useful website is Everyday Feminism.

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. It is really sad you need feminism to make yourself to feel validated as a woman. To feel like you cannot accomplish or survive everyday life as a complete individual who is distinct from a group or class. Who need to blend in and not standout. Who needs this group to tell you how to live your life, to live their standards of life and give them the praises for anything you accomplish because you are too weak, unstable and scared to do it complete by yourself.
    I DID NOT need feminism to become a Marine. I DID NOT need feminism to go on 4 tours during war time to the middle east. I DID NOT need feminism to accomplish anything I did in my life. I can live and survive without feminism I am NOT to weak, unstable or scared to do it completely by myself. I am also happily married and my husband and I are a team. We love and enjoy doing things for each other. He IS NOT my oppressor, my slave master or my warden. WE are in love with each other and strive to make each other happy.


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