Over the past two years my own interest in feminism has increased rapidly. Whether that be a natural part of growing up or due to more exposure of these issues through different forms of media, I don’t know. I’ve always been aware of economic inequality between the genders in this country but perhaps after encountering more “lad culture” I’ve gained an understanding of the social inequality.
The first time I was ever cat-called I was 13, walking home in school uniform. Now for a young girl to be shouted at by some middle aged, balding man in a van is pretty worrying. Events like this now happen to me around 3 times a week, and even more in Summer. This kind of thing happens constantly to young girls and although it may seem like ‘just a bit of fun’, it does have damaging effects. Behaviour of this kind being seen as socially acceptable is just conditioning young girls to think it’s okay to sexualise them. Regardless of if someone is wearing a short dress or a low cut top, they don’t deserve to be made to feel uncomfortable and even threatened.
What’s even more worrying is that these attitudes are creeping into other areas of life. Only today I was reading about a lawmaker from Montana, David Moore who made a comment that yoga pants ought to be banned, claiming they’re ‘indecent’. This is simply an extension of the idea that women’s clothing is at fault for any unwanted attention. Sure seeing someone’s neon pink underwear through their sheer leggings is pretty unpleasant, but that’s no grounds to ban them. If someone is unable to control themselves they can simply avert their eyes. What’s even more infuriating is that it’s socially acceptable for men to run around topless in Summer, bearing there beer belly for all to see, yet women can’t even wear tightly fitting trousers because they’re comfortable! Surely it doesn’t take a genius to see this is unfair?
Anyway, merely ranting about society’s hypocrisy wasn’t my intention for this post. What I want to talk about are our ‘faux feminists’. It’s shocking how many girls don’t identify as feminists, perhaps because they think it’s a label that deters guys (which is a pretty sad excuse to be frank). But unfortunately I’ve become accustomed to these illogical people. What’s worse is the ignorant ones claiming to be pro equal rights yet shaming women with multiple sexual partners or those who choose to strip for a living. Amongst all the love for Sam Smith at the grammy’s I stumbled upon something he said in an interview for Rolling Stone magazine, “I actually feel bad for strippers because I’m a bit feminist— I just want to put a jacket on them.” It’s statements like this that are giving people the wrong impression. Apparently this is a hard concept to grasp, but if you’re going to shame women for their life choices then you are part of the problem.
Perhaps someday we’ll find a middle ground and people will understand that feminism simply refers to this “crazy” idea of women becoming equal to men.