IWD 2017 – Be Bold for Change
I’ve written about feminism a good bit on this blog, but it was only fitting that I wrote something for International Womens Day. This years theme is ‘be bold for change’, a concept which can be difficult. It’s challenging for many to be bold about their struggles as a woman when feminism is still a dirty word for some people. But similarly, being bold might be the only way we can make any progress.
There are lots of sub-categories and approaches to feminism, that can make it appear like a difficult ideology to understand. Simply put, a feminist wants equality for both genders. Some people think that because the term is “Feminism” that it’s just for women and womens struggle, but that’s not the case. If you want gender equality and aren’t comfortable with the term ‘feminist’, that’s cool, you can label yourself whatever you like. “Feminism” is the chosen term as it gives a nod to the systematic oppression of women which sees them impacted significantly more by the arguably patriarchal society which we all live in, but of course men suffer their own struggles too which feminism doesn’t ignore.
I see a lot of nonsense on Twitter and Facebook etc that sort a criminalises feminists. While feminism is less of a taboo subject than it has been in the past, it is still a bit of a dirty word for some people. Feminism isn’t the same concept of militancy and extreme demonstration as it was in the early 20th century. There are different forms of ‘feminist’ but the idea is all the same – equal treatment and opportunities for both genders. Of course it going to be a challenge, particularly when feminism has to apply to all women and men across all races, religions, sexualities and social classes. But that shouldn’t be a scapegoat. We can’t be like “fuck that, there’s no chance” when there’s women at the other side of the world dying for an education or the right to wear a bra. Or when there’s men suffering with mental health because they don’t correlate with the media’s hyper-masculine ideals about how they should act and look.
I’m not going to sit here and say it’s dead rosy being a feminist and advocating equal rights, we all know its not. It’s hard declaring your opinion when feminists are portrayed as a reckless, militant rabble of women – which is why we need more guys. We need more guys to stick their neck out and ignore this institutionalised idea that feminism is only for women, and lead by example. Show other men that this isn’t the case and there’s benefits to be felt by all genders. We shouldn’t be measuring our support of a cause by “what’s in it for us” or “feminism? Aye I’ve got a daughter, a wife, a sister.. better get involved.” We should be showing support regardless of personal gain or relevance, just putting all that aside and recognising that there’s people struggling and we should all be helping each other out a wee bit!
Whilst it shouldn’t be a big deal to be a feminist, the reality is that currently there are still a lot of people who think its cool and quirky to oppose the idea, even further encouraging the struggle of humans under the patriarchy. I think it’d be class that during this week of International Women’s Day, girls, and guys who are under represented in the cause, who haven’t really shown much interest in feminism before, think about being bold for change – the more the merrier!