I found this Guardian article about the Suffragettes on Twitter today. The article is called nine inspiring lessons the Suffragettes can teach feminists today and is certainly a powerful article about how women gained the right to vote and how difficult that fight was. All women who live in countries that allow them the same right to vote as men have a lot to thank the Suffragettes for but somehow the same women have become scared of the word ‘feminist.’
If you asked me if I was a feminist I would say yes but I suspect a lot of women are wary of answering the same way. There was much debate about the interview Beyonce gave, for example, where she guessed she might be a feminist but was nervous about the word. For me, being a feminist has NOTHING to do with being against men. Seriously, nothing. For me, being a feminist is about wanting equal rights for women, even this isn’t about women vs men, it’s the right for both genders to be treated equally as human beings. It’s about giving women choices too and making sure we retain control over our lives and our bodies. And it’s believing that women should have an equal voice in the world.
Perhaps it’s because we have gained so many rights through the years that the word feels out-of-date. But just think about all the rights we do have and know that not that long ago we didn’t have any of them – the right to an education, the right to go to university, the right to have your own bank account, the right to vote, the right to a divorce, the right to equal pay in work. It’s difficult for women today in the Western world to imagine a time when these rights weren’t there but it’s thanks to these “scary” feminists that we have them. And don’t forget there are many women in the world TODAY who still do not have these rights.
I’m nervous even writing this blog post because the word feminism seems to conjure up such a fierce debate but it’s just a word. And it shouldn’t be scary. It should just explain that you expect to be treated equally and to live the life you want to. And it’s definitely not about being against men. In fact, men can totally be a feminists too – if they want their wives and daughters and granddaughters to be treated equally as human beings in this world.
So don’t be scared of the word. The Suffragettes fought tirelessly to give us the right to vote and they would shout the word loud and proud. Because they wanted women to be treated as equals. And really can any of us say that we DON’T want that?
Why do you think feminism has become a scary word? Would you be nervous to say you’re a feminist?