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What Being A Feminist Means To Me

I’ve been wanting to write a blog about feminism for a while, but every time I go to write it, I find I don’t even know where to start! Partly because I have so much to say, plus there are so many aspects to talk about and then partly because I was worried about voicing a strong opinion on the topic.  The repercussions it could have along with the arguments it might start.  The word “feminist” or “feminism” can still have a negative connotation, like there is something bad, wrong or silly about it.  Like we’re a bunch of man hating, hairy armpit walking, baby killing, witches. This is a major reason why feminism actually matters.

A lot of you might be thinking “here we go, another one jumping on the anti Trump feminist bandwagon, looking for any excuse to start an argument. American politics has nothing to do with us in Australia”.  There obviously has been a resurgence in feminism, especially mainstream media, since Trump became president of the most powerful and influential country in the world.  And yes, I’ve probably started raising my “feminist” voice more now that I feel the power of the sisterhood behind me.  Well you know what, I’m glad there are more women jumping on the bandwagon now that the movement has momentum again. Our voices are being raised and heard through women coming together in support. The new rise in feminism should be getting celebrated not ridiculed.  

I probably only started aligning myself with feminism a couple years ago, which aligns with when I actually started caring about politics.  Which also aligns to a certain coming of age, where you start to care about things in the world around you, not just what you’re going to wear on Saturday night and dissecting the txt from that hot boy you met in da club (which are still also important). Even though I grew up in quite a traditional family, I haven’t always had the most traditional views and opinions on woman’s role in the family unit and across society.  I had just started dating Jordan, and you know the early stages of relationships? How you talk a lot about yourself, your views and beliefs, while you’re getting to know each other.  One day I asked him “would you consider me to be a feminist?” And he answered my question with a question… “do you consider yourself to be a feminist?” (touche)… Well, then I laid out my argument about feminism that had been playing around in my head… it went something like this “Hmm, I think so, I mean I’m definitely quiet progressive in my views on a women’s place in society (meaning I don’t actually think she has a place, she can be wherever and who ever she wants to be), and I definitely believe women should have equal rights to men.  But I don’t hate men and I don’t think they’re all pigs! There are a lot of arseholes out there (and that goes for both sexes) but definitely a lot of good men too.  

I shave my legs and armpits, plus like to look nice. Does inequality really still exist?  I mean womens rights have come so far. We vote, we work, we have careers and that’s all gravy! We still get a bit of flack now and then about “a womens place in the kitchen blah blah blah” but is that still so prominent that we actually still need to be “feminists”? Doesn’t everyone now agree that we have equal rights (as we were continuing our chat and obviously I was swimming around in my own little bubble).  Jordans response was “yes, womens rights have definitely come a long way, but I think there are still some gaps, so keep flying that feminist flag”.  Because you know men can be feminists too. And feminism isn’t just about womens rights, its about equal rights for all.   Well now thanks to Trump, my little bubble of “is there really still a need to be a feminist” not just popped, it exploded in rage and debate!

My mind was blown! Do people really still think like that?  A man who openly and freely objectifies women and their place in this world depending on their looks and ability to be a wife and satisfy men. Who thinks you can grab women by their pussy without consent is now president of the United states! And the real mind blowing part is that people support him, share the same views as , or are able to disregard all the whack things he has said, because he is “anti establishment”… Seriously?! In many ways Trump IS the fucking establishment.

Oh but that’s America, he’s not our leader, so why should we care? We have equal rights here… Errr wrong! The world is small, and now thanks to social media and the internet, someone from America, England, Canada, Russia or Syria, can command influence and gain support from all over the world.  Distance has nothing to do with it. The Feminist fight is for women all over the world, it’s a global movement. 

So I don’t know about you, but I use to think that all this stuff about women not having equal rights, not being allowed to vote, not being allowed to work etc etc was like yonkers ago… But it actually wasn’t.  Women (white only) were given the right  to vote in Australia in 1902 and not until 1920 in America, and in some parts of the world they still aren’t!  Doesn’t that sentence alone feel like all kinds of wrong…?  Like thank you men for finally giving women the right to vote, like we aren’t even human like you are… Oh and don’t even think about aboriginal women, they definitely aren’t  human or civilised enough to have their say. (WTF?) It wasn’t until world war II in 1942 that women were actually even allowed to work in roles that were considered for men only, that was only 75 years ago! The contraceptive pill was introduced in 1961 which was hugely controversial and was only available to married women, while Catholic doctors just out right refused to prescribe it. The contraceptive pill meant women could have the same sexual freedom as men, which was hugely frowned upon. Insert morality concerns about women becoming uncontrollably promiscuous. You guys! That was only 56 years ago! So no wonder women are still frowned upon for being open about their sexuality or why women still get called names like slut and whore, by not only men, but other women as well. Because we’ve been conditioned to think for thousands of years that women aren’t allowed to be promiscuous or sexual or have a right to their own bodies.  Another fact- it wasn’t until 1963 that women were  allowed into the public area of pubs!! Ahh!! How were you even supposed to pick up if you couldn’t  go to a bar :) !? Lets analyse our society during  modern civilisation for a more step back view..  Lets for arguments sake use the year 0 (I realise this is completely debatable and arbitrary timeline but work with me) as a reference point till now (2017)) For about 1,900 years of that time, women weren’t allowed the same level of education as men, they weren’t allowed to acquire property unless it was inherited, they weren’t allowed to work and if they did discrimination against women in the workplace wasn’t illegal. Women weren’t allowed to vote or have a political opinion. And women weren’t allowed the right to their own body – meaning they had no legal protection against sexual assault and rape. Since the beginning of modern time it has been entrenched in humanity that women are inferior to men, even as Adam was created first and Eve was his by-product.During the past 100 years  women have been prominently fighting for equality and for only about the last 50 years women have started to be considered equal.  FIFTY YEARS!! That is not a long time! And yes while we have definitely come a long way in that period, you can’t say that all inequality has been abolished.  Yes probably on the surface and on paper in legal systems, but when something is entrenched in your culture for so long, it doesn’t just magically disappear one day.  The position of a woman in society at times, is definitely still considered inferior to those of a man, if not consciously then certainly unconsciously.

Look I’m not saying that men and women are the same.  Biologically men and women are different. Biologically men are stronger and their bodies are made to be the role of the hunter.  While womens bodies are designed to bear babies, grow and care for life.  Which is actually such an amazing thing! Women can grow another human life inside of their tummy and then push them out their whooha and then feed it from the milk produced in their boobs.  Like that is actually bloody amazing.  So why is breast feeding in public and nipples demonised!? Anyway, that’s a whole-other topic to save for another time.  And yes there are definitely things men can do biologically and naturally that women can’t, and vice versa. But we are still human beings with brains, muscle, wit and charm, with sexual energy and bodies.

Feminism isn’t a dirty word.  It doesn’t have an image and a stereotype and it isn’t angry and anti-men.  Modern Feminism equals the right to do what you want as long as it doesn’t negatively affect others.  If you as a woman feel your ultimate goal in life is to be a mother, supporter and carer, then that’s amazing! You are an amazing woman and you should be celebrated! If you as a woman feel your primary goal in life is to be Prime Minister of Australia and you don’t care for marriage or feel a maternal instinct and the need to be a mother, but instead look after the whole country as your children, then go you. You are amazing and you should be celebrated!! If you as a woman, want to run your own business and be the primary bread winner in the family and your husband is the primary carer, then go you! You are amazing and your life should be celebrated! And if you are a Rockstar who leads a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll… then guess what? GO YOU! YOU are amazing and your life should be celebrated!!

I like to dress up and look sexy. I go to the gym and eat healthy because I care about and love my body. I love my boyfriend and I like to care for him and cook him dinner, and I like it when he takes me out to dinner, opens my door and slaps me on the arse (because its consensual). I like to walk around my house naked and sometimes even tan at the beach topless, but I don’t believe the pedestrian signals need to turn into woman. I do believe sexual education and womens rights to contraception, information, abortion and medical services is extremely important and that our tampons shouldn’t be taxed! Sometimes I wear makeup but most days I don’t.  I run a business and making my business work every damn day and building it to be successful and profitable right now, is my main priority in life, not to be a wife and mother (not that there is anything wrong with that, that’s just not me, where I am right now in my life). But if people could please stop asking me about that, that would be great, because being a wife and mum doesn’t define me as a woman.  I shave my legs and underarms and I don’t burn bras (yet) … And I’m a feminist.

I’m a feminist for all the women who have died at the hands of their partner, who have been beaten, assaulted and raped.  For all the women who have had men put their hands up their skirt at da club and grab their pussy (this actually happens), who have had their drinks spiked, and who walk home holding their keys in their hand like a mini knife in case they get attacked.  To all the women who have felt ashamed for the times their period leaked on their pants and get told to cover up when breastfeeding their baby and feel ashamed buying condoms or the contraceptive pill. To the women who have busted their chops for their jobs to find out that their male colleague in the exact same position as them is on a higher salary – This actually still happens too guys! I even had a director of the NAB bank give me an example of when he found out one of his female employees was on half the salary of her male colleagues.  And for all the women who get called sluts and whores, get told to cover up, dress like this and act like that.  I am a feminist for us! 

What are your views on Feminism? Do you believe the movement is still important?

Words: Alicia Xyrakis
Images: Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Pintrest

Comments

Jordan:

We need more of you….!

Mar 30, 2017

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