14:48

This is what a Feminist Looks Like

I am a twenty year old university student, with a very close relationship with both my brother and my father. As a young girl, I was extremely close to my grandfather before he unfortunately passed away. I am in a happy long term relationship, where I have always felt respected and been treated equally and fairly, and some of my closest friends are male. Yet despite this, I am a Feminist. 


Feminism is a word so frequently used it is hard to avoid nowadays. But despite it's frequent use, its meaning still seems to become confused and instead of representing a movement advocating womens rights and equality between the sexes, it is often misconstrued, and many would argue that the two statements above are contradictory. The point I am trying to make is that feminism is not a movement for 'men hating' females. It is a movement about equality. At the forefront of the most recent viral feminism campaign 'heforshe' is Emma Watson- also this month's cover star for the Elle Feminism issue. I admire Emma, she is truly one of my role models (and not just because of my *slight* obsession with Harry Potter), but because she is a woman who isn't afraid of standing up for what she believes to be right. However, with all this press about feminism floating around, it really got me thinking: what impact is this having on men?

We have come to live in a world where women are so used to being belittled or judged, that we no longer take time to notice when this is not the case. Only the other day I was walking down Oxford Road when I was called 'sexy' and 'a miserable cow' by two separate men at two different points on my journey. When did it become OK for a man to make a judgement about my mood or my looks, without knowing anything else about me? The unfortunate reality of this situation, however, is that I probably walked past 40, 50 or even 60 men on my journey, and only two of them disrespected me in this way. Yes, I completely agree that that is still two too many, however, the point is that it was those two that stuck in my mind, not the 58 other men who know how to behave, know how to respect women, and treated me as an equal as I walked by.

I have already admitted that I share many close relationships with men, yet somehow I still find myself being guilty of generalising and stereotyping- the very thing that feminism criticises men for doing to women. Even today I am guilty of such a generalisation. I was sat in the sauna at Manchester Aquatics Centre when a male of around 30 years old struck up a conversation with me. My initial reaction was panic. I felt uncomfortable. There I was, sat in nothing but a bikini, feeling vulnerable and insecure. I judged the man, assumed his intentions were only of a flirtatious or sexual nature, and instantly started to rationalise in my head how I could partake in the conversation without 'leading him on' or 'giving him the wrong idea'... was I to tell him I had a boyfriend? Would I been accused of flirting back if I didn't disclose this information? Was it my own fault for wearing a bikini?... and while all this was going on in my head, I didn't even take a minute to assess the truth of the situation: this man was only being polite. He was only asking questions about what I studied at university and what I did for Halloween, he was not flirting with me at all. Yet somehow, we have come to live in a society where women's instant reaction to men is fear and panic. And that is not OK. 

 I am completely ashamed of the assumptions I have made about men in situations similar to this one, and hope that some day I can bring a daughter into the world who will not feel intimidated or suppressed by the opposite sex. However, I equally hope that I could raise a son who won't be categorised as this intimidating suppressor. 

So in our quest to find equality for all women and all men across the world, we have to remember that although it is easy to blame men for the mistreatment of women, and although some men need to change their attitude towards the female sex, as women we have a responsibility to do the same. How do we ever expect to be treated as equals, if we don't see ourselves as equals? How do we expect to walk down a dark road at night alone and be safe, if we instantly stereotype every man that we pass on this journey? And most importantly, how do we expect to be judged not by our looks, our race, our sexuality, or our gender, if we don't stop judging others by their gender too?

Maybe it's time that we stop classifying others by the actions of their peers and start judging individuals as individuals. 


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48 comments

  1. Maybe we should all just remember we are people and focus less on gender differences. A thought provoking piece. Thank you.

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  2. Beautiful blog you have :) I love the layout.

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  3. I genuinely really loved this post, it's great to read something a bit different on a blog. Have to say I really love Emma Watson, she's a great role model. Great post :) xx

    vvnightingale.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. Totally get what you mean when you said you were thinking about 'leading the man on or not' as I had a similar moment when swimming the other day. It's so odd and irritating that we are lead to jump to those presumptions as a 'girl' defence. Such a great post plus I loved that article in Elle too!

    Rhea
    thegridldn.blogspot.co.uk
    xx

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who shares these opinions! xx

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  5. This is a really good post and I'm glad the Elle issue and Emma Watson are making so many people think and write about the topic :) as for the man at the swimming pool I guess so many of us go through cat-calling and unwanted advances every day that it's natural to be quite guarded x

    Jasmine // Magpie Jasmine

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    1. Thank you Jasmine! I know, it's a shame that the actions of a few men force us to make sweeping generalisations about every man we encounter! xx

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  6. Your blog is so fabulous! I absolutely love it! <3

    xoxo,
    Kayla

    www.kaylaschaos.com

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  7. Totally agree with this post, and it's wonderful to see a positive, refreshing and altogether different view on the feminist movement.
    I can totally sympathise with the swimming pool incident, I've felt like that myself in situations and it's sad that society has evolved to teach women to fear men, but also it's sad that men get stereotyped the way they do. xo

    LJLV | UK Personal Style

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    1. aw thank you so much! I was slightly worried that looking at the situation from a different perspective would make some people disagree with my points. i completely agree that it's sad! xxx

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  8. The wording of this post is brilliant, great post! I too agree with everything you have said. For example me and my friend walked down one road and had numerous cars beep at us or shouting things at us, all of which had men in, things like that make me quite cautious around the opposite gender even though they may not be all like that. X

    owlsinthesummer.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. aw thank you so much! it really means a lot that people are supporting my opinions! xx

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  9. Could not agree more with this post, I always feel paranoid or a little tense when I'm walking home alone at night and have to walk past a guy which, really, is kind of ridiculous if you think about it as, like you said, I'm stereotyping each and every guy based purely on their gender.
    Amanda x
    Made of Codes

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    1. I feel the same, it's sad that its come to that and I really hope one day women feel differently! xx

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  10. Great post, must definitely buy this issue! I've only recently (the summer) decided I'm feminist too, after reading Tina Feys book! I 100% agree that it is us as women who need to change for equality as-well :) woooo equality x
    heymil.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Ooh I've not read that book but I think I'll definitely look into that now! xx

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  11. I really agree with this. I get paranoid aswell just when a guy is speaking to me and he's nice I always think oh he must just want something and I get paranoid and uncomfortable but I feel like that's so wrong of me and judgemental when it's just simply politeness and I shouldn't be judgemental because they haven't done anything or said anything wrong. It's a shame society feels like this probably because of the few disrespectful men that are around make women feel uncomfortable so we think all men are going to be like that when there not! Xx

    www.roxancolex.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I completely agree, I'm guilt of doing the same! It seems so sad to judge everyone on the actions of the minority, but it's equally sad how that minority have managed to affect so many women's lives! xx

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  12. Love this! But feminism means that women are better than men. Gender equality I think is the word you are looking for..correct me if I'm wrong :) love the post though great writing. xo

    http://lilliemysel.blogspot.com

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    1. feminism doesn't mean that women are better than men, feminism is a movement which stand for equal rights for women :) xx

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  13. I don't think I call myself a feminist, although I support this post completely and you've made some excellent points. I think the thing that I hate the most about society is how it is perfectly acceptable for men to sleep with hundreds, if not thousands of women, but if a woman sleeps with more than 10 in her life, she's a slut. And not "wife material" at all, yet the man would still be "husband material". Is that fair? I have also spoken to so many men that say when they have children they will work and their wife will stay at home cooking and cleaning. Whilst that's okay for a lot of people, what if I want to keep my job whilst raising children? xx

    xbeccabe.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. yes i completely agree with that point.. it's generalisations and public opinions like that which make me a feminist... i completely believe that in order for genders to be completely equal, the way we judge their actions must also be equal! xx

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  14. Wow! I absolutely loved this post (and your blog, which I just found by the way) it's so good reading someone else's point of view on such an important issue nowadays and seeing we agree on absolutely everything!
    I think we're raised in a world where we're taught to be careful and instantly judge people or act defensively instead of just not judging at all and that needs to be changed.

    xx

    http://robberscorner.blogspot.com.es

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    1. Thank you so much that really means a lot! xx

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  15. I love this! The word feminist is often misinterpreted. I really want to get my hands on this magazine!

    blousesandblush.com

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    1. aw thank you... you really should- its a great issue xx

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  16. Very good points you make. I totally agree xx

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  17. Omg I love Emma and I think that she's an incredible role model to have because she's such a strong intelligent woman (and also cause welll Hermione <3) Anyway I loved this post, it's nice to read your insights on the topic of feminism. I feel like everyone should really think about it more often instead of constantly just complaining about how men treat us unfairly without thinking about our own actions.

    xx
    lostinblackhaze.blogspot.com

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    1. me too! aw thank you so much! I completely agree xx

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  18. I am so blown away by this post, and so happy I took the time to read it! Your voice is so synonymous with the way many girls think from day to day, and it is awesome to know that there are people out there who are asking the same questions as I am. I really love that you weren't afraid to point out that you aren't perfect, so relatable! I really love everything about the heforshe campaign, and am absolutely appalled any time a woman (no matter what her relationships with men are like) stands up and says "I am against feminism!" It is such a shame that the term feminism is now associated with "man-haters"..thats not it at all!

    Wonderful post! <3

    Brooklynn | That Brooklynn Paige

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    1. Aww wow thank you so much for such a lovely comment! I am so glad you agree and respect what I had to say! xx

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  19. great thought provoking post amy :)
    dontcrycowboy

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  20. I love this post. Every woman who speaks about feminism inspires me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

    Life With Antlers // A Personal Blog

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  21. Such a good post, quite different but I like it xx
    Comment back: http://bitemebyaly.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/wednesday-wishlist-3.html

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  22. Awesome post, Amy! You bring up a lot of good points.
    Don't beat yourself up over it too much. I agree with you that we need to be able to look at men without fear, as though they are all out to hurt us somehow, but it is so deeply embedded in our society that it will take time, especially if we have had truly horrendous experiences with even one or two. You acknowledging your judgments just goes to show you're ahead of most in your ability to see men and equals.
    Emma Watson is a rockstar. :)

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  23. Such an amazing post, couldn't agree with you more. Emma Watson is the perfect role model x

    http://kirstiepickering1.blogspot.co.uk

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