An Idiot’s Guide to Feminism

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FIRSTLY, to be clear, I am not calling you an idiot, no siree.

But a feminist? Well, I sure hope I can call you that?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but over the last 12 months or so it’s become pretty obvious to me (and others) that feminism is having somewhat of a bad hair day. It’s not really feeling much love at the moment and that’s putting it mildly.

I’m joking a little here of course. The reality is that feminism has a very bad rep these days.

People are confused about what it all means. Feminists are being trolled and abused online. People are scared of the term. People mock it.

Many women – and this is the really depressing part if you ask me – won’t even call themselves feminists or say the word out loud for fear of the abuse they may receive or encounter.

It’s a rather grim picture isn’t it?

I don’t know what’s happened over the past few years but to me, it feels like the anti-feminism movement is getting worse. And nastier.

And I just cannot accept this. I won’t accept it. And neither should you.

I find it difficult to comprehend why feminism is such a hated idea. I have some notions as to why this is but I’m no Germaine Greer so I’ll leave all the ins and outs rightly to the experts who know their stuff.

But I can tell you this.

I. Am. A. Feminist.

Or to quote Elle and Whistles in their brilliant new fashion campaign (I cannot wait for this!) “this is what a feminist looks like”.

As someone who believes in equality, who believes in women (and men too, for that matter) I thought I’d provide an idiot’s guide to feminism and what it’s all about.

You know. In case you’re confused. In case you hear a young girl say proudly “I hate feminism!”. In case you’re wondering why the hell any of us should bother. In case you’re wondering if the fight is worth fighting. (It is, it most definitely is). In case you’re a man thinking what on earth has it got to do with me.

Here’s what feminism is. And isn’t. In a nutshell. My idiot’s guide.

 

Feminism is NOT about:

  • Hating men
  • Wanting to be better than men
  • Burning bras or going make up free
  • Ditching traditional female roles
  • Taking over the universe

 

Feminism IS about:

  • Fighting for EQUALITY

 

Yep folks. It really is as simple as that.

But surely women have equality now don’t they, I hear a few of you cry? Well no, actually we don’t. And here a few stats to prove it.

 

Feminism is important because:

  • Globally, about one in three women will be beaten or raped during their lifetime.
  • On average two women a week are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner in the UK
  • Almost 1 in 3 girls have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school
  • 130 million women living in the world today have undergone female genital mutilation
  • Globally, 10 million more girls are out of school than boys
  • Women account for nearly two thirds of the world’s 780 million people who cannot read.
  • In the UK, approximately 70% of people in national minimum wage jobs are women
  • Women who work, with or without children, spend 15 hours a week on average doing chores, while men spend only five.

 

This list could have gone on and on and on.

Depressing isn’t it?

Feminism isn’t about women taking over the world. About depriving men of their roles. Of stripping women of their femininity. About hating men.

But it is about ensuring that future generations of women get to live in a safer, equal world in which they have will freedom. Choices. Opportunities. Health. Education. Safety. Money. Happiness.

It is about ensuring that women’s voices are heard, just as much as mens.

It is about empowering women. About celebrating women. About respecting how women chose to live their lives.

I’m a feminist and I love men. I have great male friends. I have a brilliant father and brother. I have a fabulous husband. One day I may even raise a son.

But I also love women. I am a woman and as such I demand that my gorgeous, talented sex is treated as fairly, and with as much respect as is given to the opposite gender.

I’m a feminist because I am fighting for equality. Because I believe in equality. For my daughter. For myself. For all the women who came and fought before me. And for all those who will come after.

You can complicate it or confuse things as much as you like but feminism, in a nutshell, this is all it is about.

Now I ask you, where on earth is the harm in that?

———

 

With love,

Katie

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27 Discussions on
“An Idiot’s Guide to Feminism”
  • Fabulous post. You’ve hit the nail on the head about what feminism is all about. It’s not about hating anyone or anything, not doing (or doing) anything – it’s just about people having a fair expectation of being treated equally, without labels or judgement because of their gender. Feminism has got a bad reputation, sadly – I think something has been lost in translation xxx

  • Brilliant post Katie and I whole-heartedly agree with you too. I AM A FEMINIST too and I’m not afraid who knows nor do i give a fuck what they think. Feminism is not a dirty little secret it’s about respect. Respect for me as a human being, being an equally valued member of society and not being discriminated against because I may be perceived as the weaker sex. Hope that doesn’t sound angry don’t mean it to. As a mother of daughters the stats really scare me which may be the reason for the angry tone. Love you for writing this xxx

  • Do you know the hairs on my arms were raised reading this and I have a tear in my eye because you are so, so right-I too believe in everything you’ve written, why and how we’ve gotten to this terrible point where the word ‘feminist’ has become bastardised and misinterpreted is so flipping sad. My Mum, a proud feminist gave me a badge aged 2 to wear which read, “women, together are strong”. I stand by that today and I am so proud to be a feminist, someone who wants and will fight for equality-because women and men should be equal and they are not, it’s about championing and celebrating women as much as men, about pushing for equal pay and equality in the workforce and preventing murder and rape and being accepted. I loved this and your best post to date and you know how much I’ve loved every single one you’ve ever written. You rock xx

  • Great post. I’ve grown up calling myself a feminist and have no idea why it has such negative connotations. It’s like people think ‘feminism’ is the female equivalent of ‘misogynist’. Such a shame, as we need feminism to flourish not diminish.

  • Hurray hurray hurray! I am a feminist – and have no problem with saying so. I don’t apologise for it, but when someone says in an invariably arch tone “you’re a bit of a feminist aren’t you” (because it doesn’t take very long for people to work that out), I always say, “yes, aren’t you?”. Questions and confusion arise I think when people are confused about manners and politeness – I hold the door open for anyone, and if someone offers me a seat I don’t mind one bit. They quite clearly know i am more than capable of standing up on my own two feet – literally, metaphorically, financially, emotionally – but it’s a niceness, a politesse, and does not denigrate women. It is when men and women react angrily to these things that feminism gets another little black mark against it’s name. We need men to also be able to strongly say that they are feminists too, and that we all understand that it is about equality. As ever Kate, I love your writing, and this post rocks! Xxx

  • Perfectly said, beautifully written. I don’t know why, when or how feminism became a dirty word, but sadly it did. Maybe we need to invent a new word for it so we can all get onboard with it again. Thank you for this great post lovely xx

  • I love having you in my life. A strong woman who’s not afraid to be just that. I believe in women and equality and all that you describe here but never really stood by the label so much. This is definitely food for thought! xxx

    • Everyone!

      Thank you so much for the amazing comments! It has lifted my spirits to know that so many wonderful women out there are as passionate about feminism and women’s rights as I am. Here’s to helping to make a change in the world.

      *high fives*
      :) xxx

  • I’m totally with you, the term feminist had been twisted and subverted into something awful and hateful, and it is so sad. It has become a target for all sorts of negativity and is so misunderstood. It is about equality but many see it as being treating women better than men, when I don’t believe that’s what it is about at all. I just wish I knew what could be done to change this! Great post xx #allaboutyou

  • Absolutely brilliant post, Kate, another killer just-read must-share post! You are right, feminism is about equality, and men and women should be proud to de late that they are for that. I think that manners and consideration often get confused – when holding a door or offering someone a seat. I would offer a seat to a gent who looked tired, and would hope that someone would treat me as another human being who is knackered and needs a break too. Thanks so much for linking this to #AllAboutYou (so hope this comment sticks! 2nd time lucky??) xxx

  • Absolutely brilliant post, Kate, another killer just-read must-share post! You are right, feminism is about equality, and men and women should be proud to de late that they are for that. I think that manners and consideration often get confused – when holding a door or offering someone a seat. I would offer a seat to a gent who looked tired, and would hope that someone would treat me as another human being who is knackered and needs a break too. Thanks so much for linking this to #AllAboutYou (so hope this comment sticks! 2nd time lucky??) xxx x

  • Fabulous post, breaking apart some of the myths about feminism that cloud it’s real purpose and intentions. It’s tempting to want to use a different word to get around the bad connotations that feminism has but instead how about we all RECLAIM it? Reclaim it and make it what it was and should be, as you’ve so eloquently said, celebrating women in all their diversity and giving them equal rights. Perhaps there needs to be a ‘Pouting in Heels’ feminism campaign… #allaboutyou

  • I absolutely agree with you! Not all men are like these “trolls”. I have never seen a woman beneath me. I can’t imagine ever thinking that way. All I can really say is I support you and women’s rights to be treated fairly, and I hope I am doing my part with my blog about being a modern dad. I have a lot of work to do on it so don’t judge it yet lol!

  • BRILLIANT post! I totally agree with you on every count – so well written and observed. You should have your pointer printed on a stylish t-shirt too! I guess you loved Emma Watson’s speech as much as me!

    Well done lady – this is a fabulous post!

  • I love this, and I agree with every word. It’s so simple really isn’t it? And yes, none of this harms anyone. So beautifully put. Thank you for writing it x

  • It would make such a difference if all women, and men, would embrace the term feminism. Us feminists just want to be treated with equality. We don’t want to be reduced to our looks or old stereotypes. Great post. #brillblogposts

  • There is indeed no harm in feminism and it is to be encouraged, as are all movements for equality. Because of my situation as a stay at home dad, I often blog from a masculist (ie pro-male) perspective. I don’t believe you can be a masculist without being a feminist and vice versa.

    I could go on, but this would turn into a lengthy essay! Nice to read something about feminism written from a moderate perspective. #brilliantblogposts

  • Great post. I think what feminism is actually about has got lost in translation, especially over the last few years. I’m sick of all the man bashing and women telling other women what they should and shouldn’t think or say. This post goes to show that real feminism isn’t dead.

  • I too believe in these things, I believe men and woman should be equal (I say ‘should’ because I am well aware that in many circumstances, we are not, and no Beyonce, women don’t run the world, or, unfortunately, even have an equal share). I also believe that men and women are generally different but we should embrace these differences and treat them as equal in value: value to the family; value to society; value to themselves, but we should be able to follow what path we want for ourselves, not what society tells us we should.
    I’ve seen a little of this I Hate Feminism stuff and guess I should take a better look to see what they’re on about. Perhaps feminism does need a ‘rebranding’ as maybe it does suggest wanting/thinking women are better. Evolution is still ongoing for feminism as we’re not always equal yet. Maybe today’s generation want to think they’ve invented this equality thing themselves but let’s hope that is want they want, whatever they want to call it.

  • Thanks for an excellent article! I try not to read recently about feminism because everything is written through a distorting mirror. Imbalances go both on either side. But this article is written very correctly and set out the main ideas without warps.

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