It’s been a while since I’ve broached the subject of feminism, full-on, and for that, I am sorry. Of course, all the sexy, not-so-sexy, lifestyle-y, menstruation-y things I have touched on (read: written in graphic detail about) have been peppered with feminism; because all of my worldly views – small and mighty – are shaped around the fairly obvious concept that men and women are equal, and should be treated as such. Feminism is a topic that I feel so emotive towards that I sometimes find it hard to recalibrate and deliver my message in a form that isn’t “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE NOT A FEMINIST?!! BUY YOURSELF A DICTIONARY, YOU, YOU… DICK!!”. Whilst I do think that that response is legitimate and proportionate to the deluge of idiocy that must’ve been thrown my way to evoke such an exclamation, people don’t typically respond to anger in a positive way. What was, in fact, me indignantly sticking up for the cause and STICKING IT TO THA MAN becomes misconstrued as Angry Feminist Probably On Her Period Again Why Don’t You Go Have Some Sex And Pull That Stick Out Of Your Arse. And, as anyone on the receiving end of such tripe will tell you: when you’re dealing with the calibre of people that defer to a menstruation joke, you’ve got a tough job ahead of you. Feminism isn’t a dirty word, people! Let’s march up this misogyny-steeped mountain together, old chums.
Of all my friends, I’m The Feminist. That’s not to say that they aren’t feminists or that they don’t identify themselves as such (if they don’t then we have some serious talking and possible Un-Friend’ing ahead of us), but I am the bra-burning, swear vehemently at cat-callers, object to damaging objectification and hold-a-war-of-words-about-equal-pay-at-2am-in-the-chippy feminist. I’m the one they look at after someone’s made a sexist joke, I’m the one they warn people of with a jovial nudge and a whispered “‘ere, be careful what you say around her: she’s a feminist”, which is usually followed by a few “oo-er”‘s or a rip-roaringly hysterical* “Bloody ‘ell, not another one!” (*predictable and underwhelming: I expect better next time). These things, though nail-bitingly frustrating in their connotations (I mean, I wouldn’t say I begrudge discussing feminism to my fellow pub revellers, but I welcome the day I don’t have to hold a debate with a misogynist whilst getting progressively pissed on Pimms), glide off me like water off a diligent ducks back. Feminism is the baton I have chosen to loudly and proudly sprint with, other people just haven’t figured out yet that they’re running with it, too. SO, in the name of identifying who definitely is and who definitely isn’t a feminist, I’ve devised a list. If you identify with any of the points below, you are a feminist and I already like you 117% more than I did before.
You’re a feminist if…
1. You believe women and men are equals.
(At this point you should simply start nodding and possibly discontinue reading the list for YOU ARE FEMINIST!)
2. You believe women are humans, and not some secondary sub-species.
(As a living, breathing woman, I *can* confirm that I am human. Take from that what you will. Don’t let my expertise on the matter sway you.)
Congratulations, you marvellous mortal, you’re a fucking feminist!
But, just incase you aren’t completely sold on this whole ‘feminism’ malarky, here are a few more indicators you may be the F-word:
3. You are a female who has enjoyed the delights of a ‘proper’ education.
(A product of first-wave feminism.)
4. You ever got royally pissed when your parents told you to do the ironing and told your brother(s) to put the bins out. (Years later, after finding your feminist legs and protesting the inherent familial sexism, this same debate will evolve into “But you’re so much better at the ironing than they are!” which will be true, but only because you’ve been doing it since you burst fabulously forth from the womb, in all your bloody feminist glory.)
5. You think it’s a bit rich* that men get applauded for promiscuity whilst the laydeez are slut-shamed.
6. You think that you (talking to the females here), and only you, should dictate what you do with your body and what happens regarding your reproductive health.
(I, personally, am incredibly thankful for the pill, abortion centres and being the sole decider of my bodily functions; I’d be up shit-creek if I lived in Ireland where abortion is largely illegal, which is a FUCKING TRAVESTY.)
7. You recognise that rape is a heinous crime, with way too low a conviction rate.
(Although rape is, really, both a feminist and humanitarian issue. A feminist issue because it’s a gendered crime (typically, though not totally, male against female) and is used as a violent means of exerting power. It’s also an issue tightly tethered to reproductive rights: an 11 year-old Paraguay girl was recently denied the right to an abortion after being raped by her stepfather. A humanitarian issue because it isn’t the sole responsibility of any one community to highlight and decry the hideousness of rape; it’s the responsibility of us all.)
8. You believe that a woman should earn the same amount as a man, when carrying out the same job.
(As it stands, for every £1 a man earns, a woman earns 81p. It will be eighty years before that gap is closed. EIGHTY YEARS!! I’ll definitely be dead by then. Which means that, theoretically, if you’re a woman, you’ll be working for free from November onwards. Ouch.)
9. You have voted!
(Another product of first-wave feminism. TAKE *THAT*, NIGEL FARAGE!)
10. You believe it should be socially and culturally acceptable for men to express all emotions.
(Feminism isn’t exclusive: it’s for the benefit of everyone. The suicide rate for men is three and a half times that of women; suggesting that we need to create a society in which men feel comfortable to express themselves instead of upholding a typically ‘macho’ facade.)
11. You agree, whole-feminist-heartedly, with everthing Caitlin Moran has to say:
“We need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?“
Feminism is for you. Feminism is for me. Feminism serves all of us. *mic drop*