Since writing my last blog post on this particular subject I have noticed a great change in me. A certain, confidence if you will. My views and frustrations were all a muddle in my head before; they didn’t really make much sense up there.
But now it’s all different.
They are out. They can be seen. They can be understood.
I now understand my views and can see them clearly in front of me.
I now have something I lacked before; a conviction and a sense of self belief. I can now trust my opinions and verbalise my views without hesitation. I am now entering a new self-assured phase in my life.
I am a feminist and proud of it.
Yesterday, that being the 8th of May, was an interesting day for me.
#Grabbed was trending on Twitter. The Everyday Sexism Project created this hash tag in order to ‘reveal the normalisation of sexual assault’ through other women’s stories, the out pouring of tweets was phenomenal. I read and refreshed and read again as more and more tweets were shared; it was depressing. It advertised how much still needed to be done for us women. No one has the right to touch anyone without permission and some of the stories were truly shocking.
In this day and age… it shouldn’t be happening, it just shouldn’t.
I want to be proactive, I want to do something to change our society and help us girls.
My first move was to look up Feminist organisations I could join.
I came across The London Feminist Network; a women only organisation.
I was instantly turned off, simply because it was women only. Now there is a link on their site which explains why they have made it women only and for reasons which I do understand.
‘We are the experts on our own lives and on what it is to be a woman, in all of our various identities, in a society where we do not have equal political representation, where we are disadvantaged and discriminated against simply because we are women. All too many of us know what it is to experience male violence, including rape, domestic violence, sexual abuse, pornography, prostitution, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and so-called ‘honour’ crimes.
As women we need to be at the forefront of the movement for women’s rights and therefore we need safe, collective spaces where we can organise, share our experiences, learn from each other and support one another.’
Personally though, it wasn’t what I wanted and if I hadn’t read up why they decided to be women only I would have been really pissed off.
Feminism is for everyone, it is not a ‘women-only’ cause, thinking it as women only is rather hypocritical and only serves to undermine the whole movement. These groups coupled with these preconceptions are probably why men think it’s just for women and why they don’t take an interest in it, because they are being shown ‘it’s not for them’.
But without men on board this movement is never going to work.
Last night I started reading Emmeline Pankhurst’s book ‘My Own Story’, an easy and compelling read so far, but what I found most interesting was this extract –
‘I think we cannot be too grateful to the group of men and women who, like Dr. Pankhurst, in those early days lent the weight of their honoured names to the suffrage movement in the trials of its struggling youth. These men did not wait until the movement became popular, nor did they hesitate until it was plain that women were roused to the point of revolt. They worked all their lives with those who were organising, educating, and preparing for the revolt which was one day to come. Unquestionably those pioneer men suffered in popularity for their feminist views. Some of them suffered financially, some politically. Yet they never wavered.’
This really moved me.
When I studied the suffragette’s briefly in school they never mentioned the men that were committed to the cause from the very beginning. It’s as if they wanted to eradicate the idea that men were ever a part of the movement’s success, but they were and it stands to reason that we shouldn’t exclude them now.
If they remain out of the loop how will we ever be able to convert and educate them? They need to be part of discussions and part of the solutions.
Hate to reiterate this again but I do feel like the name ‘Feminism’ excludes them subconsciously and I think it’s time we came up with a new name for it. As soon as they hear the word Feminism they instantly think ‘that’s not for me, I don’t need to listen, that’s for women… only’.
I really do believe that a new name will help; a new campaign to show men that they are as much a part of this as we women are. Doing so will enable us to start again, we can shake off the prejudices and wipe away all the preconceptions people have against feminism. (Hopefully.)
I’m just thinking of that Aviva advert now, the one they started airing when they changed their name from Norwich Union. A different name, though a simple tactic, can make a big influence.
So thoughts? Femanism? Equalism? … hum I shall return to this.
An excellent documentary was aired last night on BBC 2 called ‘Blurred Lines: The New battle of the Sexes’ by Kirsty Wark.
Now I thought the Documentary was fascinating, it really opened people’s eyes to what’s happening to feminism in the world of media.
But the name of the programme pissed me off. It’s just ingraining the idea that men and women are against each other, that it’s a battle and that only one can win. We are not trying to win over men, we are not trying to dominate them, we are trying to be WITH them.
This ‘it’s them or us thing’ is what is sending out conflicting messages.
How does that not just fuel the idea that ‘all feminists are man haters’?
I read a tweet the other day that said ‘I’m not a feminist, I love men’.
My response, simply; WTF?!
This prejudiced view of feminism is warping men and women alike and these phrases ‘battle of the sexes’ is just exacerbating it all.
So asides from the fact that the name annoyed me, everything else was dandy, it was insightful, shocking and gripping. I definitely think it should be used to educate kids in schools.
What was also interesting, that came out of the documentary, was that the reason men are lashing out is because they feel like they are losing their sense of identity as men. This lack of understanding of their new role in this society, to me, must come from the sense of exclusion feminism has accidentally created. They feel like they can’t say anything and they can’t get involved, so they are left floundering on the sidelines wondering ‘What makes me a man? What is my role now in this new world?’ we need to work together to come up with this conclusion. We need to work out what we are.
The old view of; women at home and men at work, is gone.
We both can now work and we both can share the load at home.
So what are our roles now?
To be honest I’m not quite sure, but I think our roles should come down to us as individuals.
We should measure ourselves by our goals, successes and talents. With so much variety with regards to work, jobs and lifestyles it is now impossible to put us all into one specific box.
What makes a man a man and a woman a woman needs to be scrutinized and discussed, what are our new roles as these sexes?
Like I said before, we are not A Sexual beings, we have differences that make us stand out, but what are they? The only way we can feel confident in our sexual identity is if we allow us time to be with our own sexes, alone.
(Which is why I don’t completely disagree with the women only policy at The London Feminism Network, it’s just feminism as a whole that shouldn’t be seen as women only.)
Prime example is what has happened to the Boy Scouts; girls are now allowed to join the organisation.
It should never have been allowed. The ‘feminists’ waved their flag and committed a great injustice in my opinion; they robbed those boys of an escape, of a safe space where they could just celebrate the fact that they were boys.
You don’t see boys joining the girl guides do you? No, they aren’t allowed. So much for equality.
I believe the problem started within the Girl Guides organisation, all the red tape and regulations ruined what they could do with the girls. It became boring; they couldn’t do anything without a lot of paperwork (I should know because I had to volunteer there for my Duke of Edinburgh award.)
So they went elsewhere, they infiltrated the Scouts because they had more to offer and were doing more exciting and varied activities. This was unfair and very short sighted of them those boys should have been allowed to have something for their own. It’s not their fault that the Guides lost their spark.
If they wanted their boys and girls to mix they should have created a whole new organisation; that would have been the right thing to do. But no that would have been too much work, they needed a quick fix.
There is nothing wrong with boys and girls having their own separate clubs, just as long as they are allowed to do the exact same activities. That’s where these parents, who insisted on their girls joining the scouts, went wrong. They should have fought to change what was happening within the Guides not take the easy route and take over another.
I think that is how we should view all groups. There should be one for girls, one for boys and a mixed one for those children/ adults who like integrating with both genders.
We shouldn’t ostracise those who want to be with their own gender, we just need to make sure that it’s equal and that there are mixed alternatives.
No wonder men are lashing out. They are just reacting to these kinds of incidents, they are now on the defensive, and they are frightened. Things are being taken away from them, they are being excluded and yet, at the same time, are being told to ‘man up’.
The examples of hatred towards women in the Documentary were horrendous and the most worrying problem, for me, is that no clear discernible solution was suggested in the programme.
My proposal, of giving feminism a new name, is perhaps a naive and inconsequential one, but it may help give our movement a new leash of life; one that has men and women at the forefront from the beginning just like the Suffragette’s.
(Also if someone could let me know of a feminist group, preferably in London, that I could join that would be awesome!)
Here are some links –