Feminists do not despise men or hold the belief that we are better than men or feel that women should have special privileges over men. Feminists are not necessarily lesbian or bisexual because feminism does not define someone’s sexuality. Feminists don’t necessarily stop shaving their armpits or wearing bras, but believe that a woman should have the freedom to do so if she wishes without having to worry about the ridiculous beauty standards that society places on women. Feminists do not hate chivalry, please do keep the door open for us. In fact, keep the door open for everyone no matter their gender- it’s just common decency! Feminism also doesn’t necessarily mean that we personally agree with abortion and not every feminist is always pro-choice; what we do believe is that every woman has the right to have one as it is her body and therefore her choice. Feminists have to deal with a whole array of stereotypes, but no one feminist fits into a box.
What feminism is, however, is the belief that all genders should have equal political, social and economic rights and opportunities. Feminism is the choice to be who and what you want to be, free from the restrictions of the patriarchal society that we live in.
Although as a society we have achieved a lot in terms of women’s rights, especially in the Western world, there is still a lot that needs to be done. Although my reasons for needing feminism living in a developed Western country may be different that women in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where their basic rights are being denied, they are still important nonetheless and need to be listened to. This is why I need feminism:
I need feminism because of my innate fear or walking home when its dark on my own. A friend of mine once told me that she always holds her keys between her fingers when she walks home when it’s dark. The fact that she does not feel safe to simply walk back home after having a movie night at my house not only defines exactly why feminism is still needed, but is also a sad reflection of our society. When women are sexually assaulted they are often the ones that are either shamed or simply not believed. Many women have also experienced wolf whistling which makes them feel extremely uncomfortable. Not being able to walk around in public without being harassed is why I need feminism.
I need feminism because I still have to pay for sanitary products which become expensive over time and which many women simply can’t afford. The fact that I have to pay so much money for a natural bodily function that I can’t help is an outrage.
I need feminism because I am still mostly defined by the way I look and not by my achievements. Our society values beauty tremendously, especially in women, and being a beautiful woman is viewed as one of the best attributes of a woman. Forget the fact that I study Modern Languages at a Russell Group University, forget the fact that I am a black belt in Taekwondo or even the fact that I consider myself a good singer, I am conventionally attractive and that’s all that matters.
I need feminism because of the amount of times that I have been inappropriately touched (especially in nightclubs) by men. Ask any woman and they will almost certainly have a story of when they have been inappropriately touched while out in public.
I need feminism because if I decide to get married in the future, I may be required to take my husbands last name due to traditions and religion. My last name is part of my Greek identity, take this away and you are taking away part of my identity. Although some women may decide they want to take their husbands name which is completely fine, they should not feel the pressure to do so, they shouldn’t feel pressure to get married full stop.
The idea that feminism is just a woman’s issue needs to be abolished, feminism is for all. It for the LGBTQ+ community, it is for people of colour and it is also for men. In a world where it is reasonable to say ‘grab [women]by the pussy’ demonstrates that we need feminism and I will be unapologetic about calling myself a feminist.