To me it is simple. Because I believe in gender equality. I could just leave it there, but that isn’t really much of an interesting post so I shall elaborate on all the reasons and experiences in my life that allowed me to declare I was, in fact, a feminist.
Firstly, you may ask, what is a feminist? Well…
A feminist is someone that advocates feminism. Now feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of sexes. But this means so many things:
Firstly, it means that all sexes should be equal in rights and opportunities. Now depending on your interpretation of this sentence you may feel that this is true, especially for the Western world, but in my opinion, this isn’t necessarily the case. Mainly in relation to opportunities as I feel there are instances where a certain sex is disadvantaged purely because of their sex.
Secondly, equality also means on an emotional level. Both sexes should be free to express emotions in whatever way they like. This, unfortunately, isn’t the case. Women are shamed for being “cold” or “bossy” when acting in an assertive way and men are often deemed “weak” or “overly sensitive” when expressing emotions of care or concern. This to me is ridiculous. We all are human and, therefore, express emotion. Why should certain emotions and behaviours be consigned to particular sexes?
These reasons are why I am a feminist. All sexes have the right to behave and express themselves in the ways that they see appropriate without the fear of scrutiny. I for one have been told I act ‘too much like a man‘ simply for the fact that I enjoy leadership and decision-making roles. I also received far too much attention from the fact that I was female and decided to take physics A-Level. I was a ‘rare breed’ according to some. Why is it so unusual for a girl to have an interest in science, more so, why is it such a subject for debate when I choose the same A-Level as a male?
How long have I been a feminist?
Now, don’t get me wrong, it is only in the last few months I have strongly associated myself as a feminist. But that is down to the fact of education. Before university, I thought feminists were the man-hating radicals you see walking down the street topless demanding to not be sexualised. I understood the notion of their protest but wasn’t a fan of their methods. Having been educated a bit more on what feminism means I quickly understood how wrong I was to assume. Being a feminist can be this radical strand but it can also be liberal, it can be peaceful. It can be powerful without being man-hating. To be honest, it never really is about man-hating. It’s about equality.
I’m a feminist because rape victims deserved to be believed not shamed when they come forward. I’m a feminist because a short skirt is not “slutty” or “provocative”. I’m a feminist because men deserve the right to equal custody in divorce. I’m a feminist because all genders deserve the freedom to express themselves how they see fit. I’m a feminist because all women deserve their own choice on abortions. I’m a feminist because people shouldn’t be sexualised for how they dress, talk or act. I’m a feminist because every person, regardless of race, gender or sexuality, deserves the right to live their life as freely as they would please, and within their comfort zone.