Those were the words uttered by a lovely friend of mine- intelligent, professional and educated. Yet she couldn’t self-identify as a feminist.
Why is feminism still a dirty word? Does is still refer to ‘burn our bras’ second wave feminism? Does it mean we think all men are bastards?
In answer to those last two questions- no. We don’t hate men. We don’t think all men are bastards…but all women have been subject to sexism or discrimination at some point in their lives due to their gender and that is wrong.
Whenever someone says to me “I’m not a feminist” I ask them how they feel about child brides, marital rape and education for girls. Girls made to marry men much older than themselves, sold off as property, the fact that marital rape was still legal in the UK until 1991 and that some people today still think that girls don’t need a decent education because they’re “just going to grow up and have kids”, are just some of the reasons that I am a feminist.
I don’t hate men, there’s some men in my life that I positively respect and love. But there have been others who have treated me like a second-class citizen, as though I’m too stupid or “emotional” to be their equal.
They have grown up to be told that they are right, they own their space, their needs are more important than everyone else and they have more right to be here.
There is still a gender pay gap. There is still not enough being done about domestic violence. There are still girls being subjected to FGM (female genital mutilation) and arranged marriages. There is still a culture of victim blaming in cases of rape or sexual assault.
That’s why I’m a feminist. Not because I think women are better than men, but because we should stop being treated as unworthy. We have value. We have something to say. And it’s something important. So many women around the world are not given a voice, or rather, their voices are taken from them. We who have such freedom of speech should use it and try to make a difference.
And to my friend I say; by all means, be a housewife. Be thankful that you are able to chose to be a housewife, rather than being told that is your only option. Do it because you want to, not because you’re forced to.