Friday, 15 May 2015

And Now For Something Completely Different

I know that this is primarily a sewing blog, but today I wanted to talk about another issue which is close to my heart - feminism.

For too many, feminism has become a cause people are reluctant to identify with as the word has become associated with crazy, bra burning, man hating women. However, it must be made known that these women are not feminists. 

By definition, feminism is the advocacy of gender equality - politically, socially, economically, culturally. That's it, as simple as that. Gender equality. 

I have friends at uni who are very reluctant to admit to being feminists, in case they get mocked by our male friends or because they don't want to be seen identifying with a cause so many have begun to disassociate themselves from. This, in my opinion, is a clear sign that although women's rights have moved on somewhat since the time of the suffragettes, we still have a long way to go to reach true gender equality. In my eyes, the answer to the question 'Are you a feminist?' is a simple one. Yes. Of course I believe in equality for the sexes - and that does not just go for women, but for men as well. 

It seems clear to me that men are just as restrained by gender roles as women, and it's time we broke down those barriers. Males should be able to feel as though they can cry, to express emotion, to ask for help, to report abuse just as freely as women can. As Emma Watson pointed out in a recent interview on International Women's Day, to cry is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of humanity. You can watch her interview here, or listen to the He for She campaign speech made at the United Nations last year here; both truly inspired me.

For many women, myself included, the fight for gender equality is not so much to do with ourselves, but for others. I have the privilege of being part of a family who appreciate me no less because I was born a girl, I have been to primary school, high school, sixth form and now university. When I get a job one day, I hope to be paid the same as my male counterparts. However, for some women around the world, this is not the case. Males are still valued above them, but we need to give these women a chance for their voices to be heard too, for they have just as much to say.

Do you believe in gender equality? Because if so, you're a feminist, and this shouldn't be something to feel ashamed of. Embrace it, and remember:

As always, thanks for reading,
Beth x

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