Sunday, March 08, 2015

Sophie Talks | Feminism & Gender Equality

Happy International Women's Day! I am so thankful to have so many strong women in my life to look up to. But just having awareness of women, and celebrating International Women's Day is not enough. We still live in a world where women aren't as equal as men, and that shouldn't be the case.

If you’d have said to me a year ago that I was a feminist, I probably wouldn't have agreed. Now that’s because I was completely against feminism, but because I didn't know what it really meant to be a feminist. 

So many people look at feminism and think that it means hating men or women being better than men and so many other crazy ideas along those lines. Most recently I saw someone post this story on facebook about a woman that aborted her son as an act of feminism. I was completely shocked that anyone could shoot down feminism because of a story like that. The truth is, a lot of people don’t realise what 21st century feminists actually stand for. 

feminism (noun) - the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

Yep, you read that right. EQUALITY OF THE SEXES.

Now, to anyone (male or female) that believes that women and men should have equal rights, please take note: you are a feminist. Yes, guys can be feminists too, and it’s not a bad thing to be, or to say so. 

The woman mentioned above, that aborted her baby because it was a boy wasn’t doing it as an act of feminism, and it hurts me that people would take that as what it was. That woman aborted her child because she was a heartless human being, using feminism as an excuse for being that. Yes, there are a lot of things being done as an act of feminism, that may make people think that it’s wrong, or it’s just believed by a crazy bunch of women, but a lot of the time they aren’t what feminism represents.

“Feminism is not a dirty word. It does not mean you hate men, it does not mean you hate girls that have nice legs and a tan, and it does not mean you are a ‘bitch’ or ‘dyke’, it means you believe in equality” - Kate Nash

It amazes me that back when Joanne Rowling wrote Harry Potter, she was advised to use initials, rather than her first name, as boys might not buy a book written by a woman. She wrote quite possibly the most incredible series of books that exist, and yet she was advised to not publish them in her full name. How crazy is that? 

Women can write as well as men. Women can teach as well as men. Women can act as well as men. Women deserve equal rights to men. Women deserve the chance to follow their dreams too. They deserve to show the strength that they have.

“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” - G. D. Anderson

Earlier this week, I saw this article on HelloGiggles that stated that a little girl born today will be 81 years old before she has the same chance as a man to be the CEO of a company. So yes, we do still live in a world where women aren't as equal as men, both in counties like the UK and America, but even more so in other countries around the world. This needs to change, and we need to stand up together and help it to happen. Future generations need to grow up knowing that women have the right to be equal to men, and not their lesser.

At the same time, it's so important that men are seen to be equal as women. As much as I feel that women shouldn't be put down for being strong or independent, men shouldn't be put down for being sensitive. We need to live in a world where it's okay to show who you really are, no matter your sex.

"Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong." - Emma Watson

Sophie x

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