Professional pounder of the patriarchy.

Posts tagged ‘Emma Watson’

The F Word

No, not that F word.

Recently, I’ve been asked the question “Why are you a feminist?” quite frequently. It has cropped up more and more since I created my blog. After a conversation over dinner with a few relatives, I’ve decided that I ought to answer it. This is for my own peace of mind, really – I don’t feel like I articulated myself too well when the topic arose.

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The simple answer is: I’m a woman. It would be foolish not to be on my own side. It would be foolish not to participate in a movement that directly seeks to put me on a level playing field with men. Of course, this is gross over-simplification; feminism is a much broader spectrum than that. But, in its most basic and original form, that was its purpose. The long answer is much more complex and personal. Feminism is a part of my political ideals. It is a set of ideas and a school of thought that I have adopted. It seeks to highlight injustice and to question the social norm. It investigates problems that I, as a young person, care about.

People I respect and admire are feminists. I watch Emma Watson (x), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (x) and countless others stand up and speak about their passion for feminism and I cannot help but feel an inexorable pull towards that. I know that is the kind of woman I want to be. I want to contribute to the global community. I want to use my voice to advocate for others. I want to be totally unabashed, unashamed and uninhibited. Feminism gives me that.

I also firmly believe that feminism can benefit men too. It is not “man-hating” or “misandrist” to be a feminist; I know men who are feminists. They understand that the movement’s purpose is not to shame them or to put women on a pedestal. Instead, it defies the patriarchal structure of our society, which puts men in a position of power and privilege. This has an adverse effect upon them as well; it affects the way they perceive themselves and the way they perceive masculinity. We call this “toxic masculinity”. Emotion and sensitivity are not signs of weakness, no matter how much of a “lad” you’re encouraged to be. Our society sees femininity as degrading. Why do you think “you (x) like a girl” remains an insult? I’m not suggesting men and women are the same biologically; I’m merely suggesting the radical notion that we should be equal socially.

Fourth-wave feminism is technologically active and, as a person who spends no small amount of time on the internet, I’ve been able to experience online activism first-hand. It’s easy to connect with blogs – like my own – along with online campaigns and websites. There is no excuse for people to be ill-informed about feminism. All you have to do is type “feminism” into a search engine (not Bing though, for f*ck’s sake. Bing is for peasants…) and you’ll be greeted with thousands upon thousands of results. Obviously it takes a while to sift through the sh*t, but a simple Wikipedia search will give you the entire history of feminism. Educate yourself. Educate your friends. Educate your enemies.

Being a feminist gave me the motivation and the courage to stand up in front of 250+ students and teachers every morning for five days in order to spread the word about International Women’s Day in March this year. I laid my innermost ideals bare before them. I stood with the weight of the movement’s history on my shoulders. I stood in solidarity with my sisters, both past and present, and I knew I was part of something influential. Feminism has taught me, in stark contrast to what I’ve been told by the people around me, that I am not confused in my identity. I am a young woman, with opinions and strength and confidence, and these are not things to be ashamed of. I don’t have to hide that I am a feminist (although it has become something of a dirty word in some circles) nor should I hide any other aspect of my identity. That is why I am a feminist. Perhaps you can understand why I couldn’t articulate that over sausage and chips. cute feminist cat

Happy Birthday, Emma Watson!

It’s Emma Watson’s 25th birthday today!

Take a look at this article from HelloGiggles: http://hellogiggles.com/hermione-granger/. It is, in their own words, “a love letter to Hermione Granger”, exploring the impact she has had on how young women are portrayed in fiction and on the self-esteem of female Harry Potter fans. Hermione has always been a favourite character of mine, and I think that’s true for many other girls my age who grew up with the series. I feel as though I developed alongside the character, growing more opinionated and more confident as I matured. And, more importantly, I learned that confidence was a good thing. 

Emma herself is now the Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, as well as being a prominent feminist activist. You can watch her speech for the HeForShe campaign here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkjW9PZBRfk. It’s a beautiful, powerful speech.

(I just watched it again and I’m crying now.)

Thank you, Emma, for all you have done so far. I hope you continue to shine for years to come. Happy birthday.

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I also meant to post something yesterday. I’ll include it here, as it is a massively significant issue. It has been a year since the kidnap of the girls from Chibok, Nigeria. Malala Yousafzai, activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been campaigning passionately for action against Boko Haram, a terrorist group in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram is roughly translated as “Western education is forbidden”. Malala’s work is discussed in this BBC report from Monday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-32286461. She has also written an open letter, addressed to her “brave sisters”, as a message of solidarity for the schoolgirls. You can read it in this CNN report: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/13/world/malala-nigeria-schoolgirls-abducted-boko-haram/.

She ends the letter by saying:

“Remember that one day your tragic ordeal will end, you will be reunited with your families and friends, and you will have the chance to finish the education you courageously sought. I look forward to the day I can hug each one of you, pray with you, and celebrate your freedom with your families. Until then, stay strong, and never lose hope. You are my heroes.”

I can only applaud and offer my support to Malala for continuing to challenge the Nigerian government and the international community concerning this act of violence. She is a magnificent, brave young woman. It’s incredibly inspiring to see her publicly offer her love and compassion to other women who have suffered, despite having been a target of extremists previously. She refuses to be victimised or silenced. My heart goes out not only to the kidnapped schoolgirls but to their families.

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