kate-nash-quote-feminism

Why EVERYONE should be a feminist

Ahead of my talk at International Women’s Day on Saturday I got thinking about what the day stands for.  Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements.  It’s a celebration of women.  A  day when we can all come out and blow our vuvuzellas, join together in strength, feel good, celebrate being women, a day of recognition of women and solidarity.  A day of feminism.

But are we all feminists?

“Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and socialrights for women.  This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.”

this is what a feminist looks like

Yet feminism is sometimes seen as a dirty word, there comes a sly snigger and talk of hairy armpits and lesbians when conversation turns to feminism.  People fearing to identity themselves with the word lest is taints them, makes them seem aggressive, political or in some way trouble.

Here are some (quite astonishing) quotes from celebrity women regarding feminism.

Geri Halliwell, she of “girl power” said this

“It’s about labelling. For me feminism is bra-burning lesbianism. It’s very unglamorous. I’d like to see it rebranded. We need to see a celebration of our femininity and softness.”

When Bjork was asked if she were a feminist, she replied

“No, because I think it would isolate me. I think it’s important to do positive stuff. It’s more important to be asking than complaining.”

Lady Gaga

“I’m not a feminist – I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, and beer, and bars and muscle cars….”

Madonna

“I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist.”

Let’s go back to that definition – “A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women”

So what makes Madonna et al so afraid of being a proud, badge wearing, card carrying feminist? Are the negative connotations so strong that the word stokes fear into the heart of some of the most famous women in the world?

Luckily there are many who will proudly speak out.

kate-nash-quote-feminism

I am a feminist, my husband is a feminist, my three children are feminists.  I would go as far as to say that I really wouldn’t want to talk to anyone who doesn’t identify themselves as feminists.

If you are questioning now whether you are a feminist or not, luckily there is a online quiz for that, take the test and come back to me…

http://www.amiafuckingfeminist.com/

Clear now? Good.

I read this quote from an article by Laurie Penny in the Guardian and it really struck a chord with me.

“The stereotype of the ugly, unfuckable feminist exists for a reason – because it’s still the last, best line of defence against any woman who is a little too loud, a little too political. Just tell her that if she goes on as she is, nobody will love her.”

I am a strong, bold woman.  Im a married mother of three. I am many things and one of them is a feminist.  I have no fear in saying that loud and proud.  What about you?

People who shout down feminists, who mock, berate or fear them need to realise that feminism isn’t about that stereotype, its about your daughter, your sister, your mother, your female friends.  It is about every person in this world having equal opportunities whatever their gender.  If you honestly do not believe that women deserve equal rights to men then you are, well, I can’t even think of the words.  Ill just suggest you go and educate yourself.  Or perhaps go and explain your beliefs to your mother or daughter, that you don’t believe they are worth as much as a man…

If you DO believe in equality for women then identify yourself as a feminist.  Be proud that you are a good and decent person and don’t be afraid to speak out.

We’ll end this sermon with a picture of pretty much my favourite celebrity fella, Patrick Stewart

Patrick-Stewart feminist

Love Sam x

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10 thoughts on “Why EVERYONE should be a feminist

  1. Brilliant Sam . I did a presentation on ‘What is a Feminist’ and used that ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ montage with Patrick Stewart …
    Not enough people realise that feminism is an empowering thing for ALL, not just for women!
    Good luck this weekend – you’ll knock em dead!

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  2. “…It’s a celebration of women. A day when we can all come out and blow our vuvuzellas, join together in strength, feel good, celebrate being women, a day of recognition of women and solidarity. A day of feminism…”

    That seems a bit cruel. Feminism is defined by ‘patriarchy theory’ which is the theory that men as a group have for centuries (or longer) deliberately oppressed women. Because men are surrounded by women and have close relationships with women (mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives etc) this means men must be sociopaths by nature. Patriarchy theory (and thus feminism) defines men as sociopaths, which is a bit cruel (a bit like defining all black people as criminals).

    What is it about celebrating being a women that requires you to attack men in this way? Even if you genuinely believe in feminist theory (patriarchy theory), is that something to celebrate? If men really are sociopaths that’s very sad isn’t it?

    “…Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women…”

    Feminist movement *claims* to be all about equality and so on, and that works very well to recruit a million well meaning women (and some men) into the movement. But to understand what feminism is REALLY all about you need to look at the behaviour of the prominent and well funded feminists at the top of the pyramid structure – you know, the ones who actually influence political policy and sit on UN committees. Their words and actions provide a far more accurate description of what feminism really is really all about……. and it is shocking and very disturbing

    (Laurie Penny) “…The stereotype of the ugly, unfuckable feminist exists for a reason – because it’s still the last, best line of defence against any woman who is a little too loud, a little too political. Just tell her that if she goes on as she is, nobody will love her….”

    Laurie’s argument uses the same logic that she claims is invalid. Laurie argues that people who have issues with feminism have no valid arguments which is why they must resort to negative stereotyping of feminists instead. But what Laurie is doing is negatively stereotyping people who have issues with feminism, instead of providing a logical argument….. you know, with facts and stuff.

    “…People who shout down feminists, who mock, berate or fear them need to realise that feminism isn’t about that stereotype, its about your daughter, your sister, your mother, your female friends. It is about every person in this world having equal opportunities whatever their gender. …”

    When you look at what feminists ACTUALLY DO it is clear they do not have any interest in equality…… UNLESS it happens to benefit feminists. If feminists really wanted equality in the world they would campaign for equality even when it took privilege, power and resources AWAY from women. An example of this would be campaigning for equal rights when it comes to arrests, charges and convictions in the criminal court system. Currently women are far less likely to be arrested, charged or sentenced than men for the same crimes. And men are given far longer sentences than women for the same crimes. This is an example of blatant and quantifiable sexual inequality and female privilege, but feminists won’t fight for equality in this area because equality would mean less female privilege.

    I’m not saying they should fight for equality in this area, I’m just saying it’s FACTUALLY INCORRECT to say that feminists are ‘fighting for equality’. Obviously they are not. When you look at the facts feminists are fighting for laws, power and resources for the benefit of feminists only. Not men. And not children. And often not even for women, but only for feminists.

    Everyone knows that feminists make a stand against men hitting women (and rightly so!), and they make a big deal out of the power imbalance (men are usually stronger than women). But feminists do not publicly condemn women hitting their own infants or children, as 90% of mothers admit doing. The power imbalance between an adult woman and a child or infant is much greater than between a man and a woman. Hitting a child or infant is far worse than a man hitting a woman. And yet feminists often go on daytime TV to defend their right to hit their children. Imagine if men went of TV to discuss why it’s OK to hit their girlfriends or wives. The TV station would probably get burned to the ground.

    Domestic abuse victims and rape victims are split roughly equal between men and women. If feminists really wanted equality they would campaign for more resources to help male victims of rape and domestic abuse, because currently men receive virtually no help at all. But they don’t fight for equality in this area because equality would mean less resources and sympathy being directed to women.

    “….Yet feminism is sometimes seen as a dirty word, there comes a sly snigger and talk of hairy armpits and lesbians when conversation turns to feminism. …”

    A lot of people object to feminism because it is a destructive and irrational ideology based on a false premise (that all men are sociopaths who have deliberately and successfully oppressed women throughout the ages).

    A lot of people object to feminism because it is offensive to men, depicting them as sociopathic rapists……. and demeaning to women, depicting them as child-like, passive ‘acted upon’ victims who are incapable of making their way in the world without the assistance of a big ‘daddy’ government pushing everyone around and redistributing wealth at gunpoint.

    A lot of people object to feminism because it defines genuine social issues exclusively in terms of ‘gender issues’ in the most over simplistic, hate filled, irrational and factually incorrect way.

    The hairy armpit argument is really just a way of avoiding dealing with valid criticisms of feminist theory and of the feminist movement.

    “…Let’s go back to that definition – “A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women”…”

    That makes no sense. ‘Equality’ means the balance of two or more sides. You cannot have ‘equality of women’, unless you mean equality among the group called ‘women’. We already have words for equality among men and women….. words like ‘equality’, ‘human rights’ or ‘humanism’.

    To claim ‘feminism’ means equality for men and women is a bit like claiming ‘vegetarianism’ is a dietary system for meat eaters and non-meat eaters.

    “…I am a feminist, my husband is a feminist, my three children are feminists. …”

    Your husband and children believe men as a group have deliberately and successfully oppressed women throughout the ages? Have your children even done any research on this subject? Are they even old enough to understand what oppression is?

    Not knowing their ages, I’m guessing they’ve simply accepted what you have told them: that men have oppressed women throughout the ages but that women are now standing up against that oppression.

    The idea that men are sociopaths who have, throughout the ages, deliberately oppressed the women in their lives is a powerful and incredibly harmful (and untrue) message for boys AND girls to learn. For boys it lays down a huge guilt complex and a lifetime of confusion (Am I a sociopath? Do my natural feelings and desires make me a bad person?)…. and for girls it defines them as lifelong victims and destroys their respect towards, and trust in half the population.

    I mean, what a terrible thing to teach you children….. can you imagine giving them a similar message about ‘black people’ or ‘gays’ or ‘jews’…?

    “..If you honestly do not believe that women deserve equal rights to men then you are, well, I can’t even think of the words. …”

    That’s a loaded statement. First, it implies you have to be a feminist if you support equality (even though feminism is provably NOT about equality). Second, it implies women do not already have equal rights to men. But women do have equal rights to men. In many cases women have more rights than men. But for both sexes, a lack of privilege in one area is almost always balanced out by a corresponding privilege in another area.

    In what ways do you think women are being deliberately oppressed today (or in the past)?

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  3. Hi Spinning for Difficulty

    Thanks for your very lengthy comment. Ill be honest, Im a little surprised, I didn’t think my post served as a vessel for hatred for men, I don’t believe all men are sociopaths or rapists.

    I clearly stated my belief in feminism is about defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.

    “What is it about celebrating being a women that requires you to attack men in this way?”

    My idea of feminism is about equality, not about attacking men. I have in no way attacked men in my post. Throughout history women have been oppressed, the ideology of society did not accept women as equal to men. Women have fought for equal rights for years. Was Pankhurst suggesting all men were sociopathic rapists when she led the Suffragettes to fight for the vote for women?

    “I’m just saying it’s FACTUALLY INCORRECT to say that feminists are ‘fighting for equality'”

    Really? Where are your facts?

    “Domestic abuse victims and rape victims are split roughly equal between men and women.”

    This is from Womens Aid…

    “1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime – many of these on a number of occasions.

    One incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute.

    On average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner.

    One misleading statistic, which is often repeated, is that – while one in four women experience domestic violence – so do one in six men. These figures are, however, based on single incidents, of a criminal nature, and without regard to:

    severity of violence
    whether or not it was repeated – and if so, how often
    the complex pattern of overlapping abuse of various kinds
    the context in which it took place.
    They also exclude sexual assaults – which are overwhelmingly perpetrated against women, by men – many of whom are partners or former partners of the victims. Finally, emotional abuse – which is often not regarded as a crime, but which survivors often find even more destructive – is excluded from these statistics.”

    Whatever the statistics, I think domestic violence is a social issue rather than a gender issue. Things need to improve to ensure the safety of men and women, and a great way to do this is though education. Teaching our children that abuse is not acceptable.

    I despise the way that domestic abuse towards a man is often portrayed by the media as comedic, a slap across a man’s face gets a heap of canned laughter. A slap across a woman’s face is seen as abuse.

    I am a feminist. And I am publicly saying that violence against men is deplorable and unacceptable.

    I really don’t see your point regarding why “A lot of people” object to feminism because it depicts men as rapists. Seriously?!!

    You speak of ‘feminism” as if there is this mass group of whispering women aiming to be rid of men. Feminism isn’t a political party with an agenda. Its an ideology, anyone can be a feminist and yes, perhaps there are extremists as there are in any walk of life, but for most people it is about wanting equality for everyone whatever their gender.

    “it implies women do not already have equal rights to men. But women do have equal rights to men.”

    The ONS say in Britain today women still earn 15% less per hour than men (source: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons)

    Men outnumber women 4 to 1 in parliament.

    Only 14.6% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are women.

    Where’s the equality there?

    Then we get to the part that I feel very angry about.

    “Your husband and children believe men as a group have deliberately and successfully oppressed women throughout the ages? Have your children even done any research on this subject? Are they even old enough to understand what oppression is?” “I mean, what a terrible thing to teach you children”

    How very dare you. I teach my children about love, respect and tolerance. I teach them that men and women are equal. I teach them that with hard work, they can achieve whatever they want and that gender doesn’t come into it.

    I do not teach my children your skewed idea that wanting equality amongst the sexes means that men are sociopaths and rapists.

    I appreciate you taking the time to comment, but I have to say I wholly disagree with you. I also find it odd that despite your strongly held opinions, you have chosen to post this under a unused blog name. I have never claimed to be an expert on feminism, I only state my opinions but I do stand behind my opinions, I put my name to them and will defend and debate my morals without an anonymous mask.

    Sam

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  4. I always thought that being a feminist meant equal treatment for all, regardless of sex, and extending that, regardless of age, ethnic background and religion. Not that it meant I was anti male.

    Surely by being a feminist we aren’t denying that men can be oppressors, but neither are we denying that women can be too. We are merely saying that women are equal to men. Not better, but equal. We should all be judged on our individual abilities.

    History gives us the view of men being in control, whereas reality is that it is a minority of PEOPLE who impose their will on others. Not men, not women, just people. It’s just that historically men were in a ‘better’ position to take advantage of this.

    I don’t know the statistics, nor do I know a vast amount about the history of Feminism, but what I do know is that by treating everyone with respect and giving equal opportunities to all of us, then the world will be a better place.

    But maybe I’m naive. Whatever. It’s my thoughts and I’m happy with them.

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  5. Spinning for Diificulty: problem is is your whole a argument is based on the argument that patriarchy = sociopathic men. This is not point you support or argue for, you merely assert which is never going to get you far.
    Feminism does not argue that all men are sociopaths, it argues that they are in a position of privilege and power. To deny that this is / has been the case historically is deny the lived experiences of women through the centuries, which on itself is an act of power and privilege.

    Now, seeing as the basic premise of your argument is incorrect and flawed the rest of your argument fails too.

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  6. Nice blog post, Sam.

    I think that there is no doubt that what I shall call ‘Fundamentalist Feminists’ (or should that be ‘Feminist Fundamentalists’? Gawd knows, it’s been a long day!) anyway, there are FFs that DO consider all men as sociopaths, oppressors, rapists etc. And some (NOT ALL) of those FFs will fit the other stereotypes that have been mentioned. But your post couldn’t be clearer. It’s not your view of the world, and it’s not what you are teaching your children. You are a Feminist, not a FF.

    The problem is that the definition you quoted:

    “A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women”

    is just not a definition that everyone would recognise, and that’s why you get the comments from the likes of Lady Gaga and Madonna. Feminism IS a dirty word to some, but the concept/ideology that you recognise is not what the haters are hating. Hooray for Patrick Stewart (and you!) trying to educate the wider world.

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  7. The problem with saying “I’m not one of those fanatic feminist, for me Feminism means Equality” is, NOT ONE single feminist has ever done anything SOLELY to improve conditions for males. You’ll now say “When we demolish patriarchy, men will be free to show emotion, they will no longer fear being ridiculed when they go to police to report abuse! You will be able to take the custody of your child upon divorce! So, feminism is working for Men too!”

    No. This is not working for equality. This is working for female rights. Those thing are only side effects of that process. Handouts, so to speak.

    I don’t support feminism and I won’t support it until somewhere, anywhere in the whole wide word a single feminist organisation goes to a courthouse and protests against mother taking custody even though the father is the more suitable parent.

    I won’t support feminism until a feminist association protests in front of a police station because police arrested men upon arriving the scene, despite the fact that it was the guy who called the police, and only he has the physical signs of abuse.

    Until these thing happen; saying feminism is about equality or about empowering both genders is a fallacy.

    Cheers.
    Can
    PS:Sorry for any grammatical error. English is not my native tongue.

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