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Am I a feminist?
I never used to think of myself as a feminist. Feminists are man haters, right? Angry, bra burning man haters.
I will happily now raise my hands and admit I was wrong (and that doesn’t happen too often!)
I am a feminist and turns out I always have been. I just believed in all the stereotypes, which of course now I fully realise is just radicalism. I’m sure you’ve heard them all before:
‘Feminists hate men’
‘Feminists don’t wear bras, or skirt or heels, or anything else considered to be remotely feminine.’
‘Feminists don’t shave their legs/armpits.’
‘Feminists are just angry over fictional issues.’
‘Feminism is just a ‘phase’.’
… and on the list goes.
I don’t think I was taken in by it, as in all honesty, I didn’t feel like I personally had ever been affected negatively for my gender. Maybe that’s a selfish mindset, but I just didn’t feel like being a woman was an issue for me.
Then something changed:
I had a daughter.
Feminism for our children
As all parent’s know, we want the world for our children. We want them to do and be whatever they want and desire. And I want to bring Little K up to believe that if she works hard, then she can succeed.
This brought feminism and equality into a new light for me. I want her to have every opportunity available to her and I think that all children deserve this basic right.
I want her to know that she has the capability to be just as clever, just as brave, just as strong as any boy. She is currently so inquisitive and eager to learn, I never want this to end. I hope to bring her up in a society that allows her to grow in whichever way she chooses.
I want her to grow up with the sky as her limit. My best friend bought her this* book when she was still a baby
and it is absolutely wonderful. From this, I have been inspired. I have been collecting an array of books for as she grows up, and to be honest, I have been reading them and am finding them rather inspirational myself!
These are my favourites:
Little People, Big Dreams Series* (maybe I’m not looking in the right place, but I haven’t seen any of these that relate to boys… Perhaps it should be renamed Little Girls, Big Dreams…. Ooh Controversial!) We have the indivisual books but can be pre-ordered as full collections.
Fantastically Great Women who changed the World* by Kate Pankhurst (yes she is an actual relation! Emmeline was her great, great, grandfather’s, brother’s, son’s wife…)
I Know a Woman* by Kate Hodges
And of course, for the boys:
Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different* by Ben Brooks
Don’t get me wrong, Little K goes to ballet classes, and she enjoys wearing pink fairy dresses. But as soon as she is old enough then we will also be enrolling her in football sessions. And had she been a boy, I would have taken him to ballet classes also! Equality works both ways remember. Why shouldn’t a boy dance? Look at Billy Elliott!
Feminism in the Workplace
My company recently opened an event for young women entering the industry which I was able to attend and I was shocked to hear the experiences that these women had had to go through. One in particular was point blank told by a previous employer that her career wouldn’t continue in the way she desired because ‘although you’ve got all the experience, women just don’t do that.’ This was in 2015. I was shocked. I could not believe that this was happening so blatantly in recent years. Again, as I had never face this type of setback, I just didn’t think it was happening. I believed the stereotype. I believed that these ‘feminists’ were just moaning about issues that weren’t as big as they made them out to be. And for that I will apologise.
As I was writing this post, I received an email from my boss with an article from The Sunday Times entitled Sexism in the City which opened with the below:
‘After the only woman on the trading floor at a City investment bank received her bonus, her boss shouted out: “Now she can get a boob job!” That wasn’t in the 1970s; it was last year.’
The Sunday Times, March 4 2018, 12:01am.
This is not OK. Other than her boss being anything other than downright stupid, no-one should ever have to be spoken with such disrespect. How much longer can we dismiss these insults as jokes and banter?
I would be mortified if I was ever treated as such in my work place, and even more so if Little K was when she grows up.
I know that gender parity will not happen overnight. But it will happen.
Dictionary definition of Feminist:
a person who supports feminism.
Dictionary definition of Feminism:
the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
So, am I a feminist? Yes.
With International Women’s Day taking place tomorrow (8th March 2018), take some time to think about what you would like to commit to in the hope of achieving gender equality. You can find some inspiration here.
I hope you too can get involved and #PressforProgress.