What is feminism?
The dictionary define it as: “The doctrine advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men”. And in essence, this is what we are fighting for when we proclaim we are feminists.
So why the word feminism? Why not equalism or humanism?
Well, because the continued disenfranchisement of women needs to be specifically addressed… and not just white, cis-gender, heterosexual women, but all women.
Also, humanism isn’t what most people think it is – but that’s a topic for another day…
Feminism is not about burning our bras, it’s not about growing out our armpit hair (unless you want to) and it most certainly isn’t about man hating!
So what do we want?
We want to see women gain political autonomy over their own bodies by granting safe, affordable access to contraception and abortion services. We want to see the enforcement of sexual assault and rape laws be wielded to the full extent of the law, regardless of the social or political standing of the rapist involved. We want to see better access to shelters and safe houses for female and child victims of domestic violence and again, for the law to act to stop the male perpetrators of this kind of violence as early as possible.
But there’s so much more to it than changing and enforcing various laws. We want to end rape culture, which dictates so much of how women act, dress and move about in public spaces. We want to see women encouraged to move into science and technology fields where we know their bright minds will shine, instead of retreating like so many do due to the toxic masculine culture of many of these fields. Equally, we want to see a greater number of women enter politics, because we are 50% of the population and should be represented as such. We want those women elected not to be constantly judged because of how they dress, but by their word and actions. We want to end casual sexual harassment in the work place because it so often ends with women being fired or quitting because they just can’t handle it any longer. We want to see an end to domestic violence against women being so prevalent in our society. We want women to choose whether or not they stay at home with their kids or go to work, and not be judged for their decision – because it’s a double edged sword and in society’ eyes, mothers never get it right.
We want all this and so much more, because it’s bloody hard to be a woman, and even harder to be a woman of colour, a queer woman or a disabled woman.
But for all the talk about the issues women face and how we can create a more equal society, we seem to forget that some of the most important voices are excluded from the conversation: those of young women. The young women who make up our next generation, who we hope to benefit for all the things we fight for, who face their own unique forms of sexism every day that we often forget about, as we struggle with different, but still eerily similar, versions of it in our everyday adult lives.
I know this because I still feel like an awkward 15 year old, trying to find her feet and I remember vividly what it was like to be that age, to be fighting so hard to find my place, to be so smart and have such a bright future while simultaneously being constantly reminded that I was as vain, vapid and clueless as the rest of my female teenage peers.
I used to fight so hard to prove I wasn’t like those other girls. Now I know better, I know those other girls were no different to me, despite our different appearances and tastes in music, culture and clothes. We’re all fighting for the same thing: to not have to fight any longer to be accepted as equal to men. It’s really that simple, and it’s an exhausting fight. But together, we can win.
So what is feminism? It’s fighting to end all of the above examples and more. It’s about providing a brighter future for the next generation of women to come.
And that’s why we created F is for Feminism – to open the doors for you, the bright young women, and include you in the conversation and the fight. To help empower you to be part of creating your own future.
Welcome to F is for Feminism. We’re so excited to have you on board.