Sunday, 29 January 2017


Calling all feminists; discourse of the s0-called rise of retro-sexism has returned (aka-the return to antiquated stereotypes of women and behaviours and discourses and the marginalisation of women)

I would heavily dispute the claim that there's been a rise of retro-sexism because, well, it never really left did it? I would certainly argue that sexism is nastier and arguably, more visible in society than ever before, but to coin the language of retro-sexism implies a break of some sort? (There hasn't been one.) 

But nonetheless, sexism is more visible than ever before. It's sexism in the workplace, it's being harassed or catcalled after in the street or being called frigid or a 'bitch' for not giving in to unwanted sexual advances. It comes in many different forms and affects women in many different ways. And when you throw in the sheer ignorance of a world leader casually bragging about sexually assaulting women into the mix, the pressing need of feminism and the need for feminist advocates who aren't afraid to speak out about the need for change becomes all the more clear.

As a feminist, one of the most frustrating things to be witness to is when a conversation like the following takes place...

Person A- Do you believe in gender equality?
Person B- Yes, of course. 

Person A- So you're a feminist then, right?
Person B- No I wouldn't say that I'm a feminist but...

Sound familiar? Yep, I thought so. 

This kind of discourse irritates me endlessly. Why is it that three little words are so difficult for many people to say out loud? Ultimately, and perhaps more irritatingly, it boils down to people confusing what I would refer to as man-hating, female supremacy with what feminism as a movement stands for, because they are not the same thing. (Don't you just feel like throwing a dictionary at the feminism sceptic's head?)

Feminism is very simple really. It's a strive towards gender equality and it's the acknowledgement that our society is inherently gendered and inherently unequal. Feminism isn't trying to blur or completely write out the imperfections of women, contrary to what the feminist sceptic would have you believe. And that's the very beauty of it. Feminism advocates that women have the same traits and capabilities as men, good or bad (in others words, that means that women can *gasp* enjoy sex and no, that doesn't make her a slut/slag/any other derogatory term you want to call her)

To me, feminism illustrates the ever pressing need to look deep into the treatment of women in the past, to celebrate the relative progress we've made in making society more equal in the here and now (relative progress being the most generous choice of wording) and to highlight where gender inequality still persists and where blatant sexism pervades, so we can strive to make these changes for our futures. 

It's still so important to speak out about instances of inequality which still very much exist. The objectification of women in the media, soaring rates of domestic and sexual violence, a staggering wage gap to name a few... 

Being a feminist is important to me because I want to live in a society where the possibility that my gender would deny me opportunities, wouldn't even cross my mind. It wouldn't affect how I live my day to day life or the choices I make. 

I would be paid exactly the same wage that a male colleague would be paid for doing exactly the same work. I wouldn't be sexually assaulted in a club and then called a 'slag' or a 'frigid bitch' for defending myself from unwanted advances and saying no. I wouldn't be told by society that I have to look, dress, eat, think and behave a certain way, for fear of being called....[insert every foul degrading insult you can possibly think of here] 

And that's what being a feminist means to me. It's striving for the kind of future that I want and the kind of person I want to be, without fear of being constrained by my gender. 

It's also why being a feminist (yes, you can be male and a feminist) and an open feminist at that, is so important in our society, if there is any hope of combating blatant existence of retro-sexism and gender inequality in our everyday lives. 

(PS- If you needed proof that you can be male and a feminist, 
my friend George perfectly advocates that ''Men of Quality, Support Gender Equality'') 

Antonia x 


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