“Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with.” – Emma Watson
Feminism gets a lot of hate. The media is happy to paint all feminists as men-hating, bra burning, aggressive women. Yes, women have plenty to get angry about; the fact that the male politicians think they can control their bodies, the wage gap, and the fact that whenever we want to debate something, we are either seen as bossy or accused of suffering from our ‘time of the month’. But contrary to popular belief, that’s not all feminists are fighting against and complaining about.
Feminism is equality for both women AND men. Why do men need equality, you ask? The fact that they can’t show emotion without being told to ‘man up’, or that men who get raped are told that they are ‘lucky’ for getting some. Then there’s the fact that men can’t be feminine and dress that way without being beaten up or called names. Not forgetting that 75% of UK suicides are committed by men, there’s still a lot of stigma for men who have mental health issues. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s due to the issues they feel they can’t talk about. (source)
So why do students need feminism then?
A survey from the Telegraph back in 2015 shown that one in three UK female students sexually assaulted or abused on campus. This isn’t including recent statistics and unreported incidents, so many men still need to be educated on how to treat women. With so many intelligent people attending university, it becomes more about attitude – the attitude of these abusers needs to change, and universities always promote positive actions towards fellow students for those willing to listen.
Ladies, ever been giving a opinion or been in a debate with a fellow man, but have been talked over, excluded or ignored from the discussion? Or have you ever had a man talk down to you, so certain that their gender makes them right? Yep we got a word for that. Standing up to this attitude it the only way to get change.
There is a lack of women in politics (191 women in parliament out of 650 seats!), and off screen in the film industry (Women comprised just 7% of all directors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2016, source.) Not forgetting science, technology, maths and engineering. (source) Students are on their way to being well-educated, so it only makes sense that they’re educated in how gender roles effect us too, and take steps towards adapting them to fit everyone’s needs.
- Double Standards
Women have to look a certain way, not be too fat but not too skinny, wear makeup but not too much makeup, or you will be whistled at like you’re some sort of dog. Bitch, that’s what they will call you. Remember to not look miserable or you’ll be told by a random bloke on the street to ‘ ‘give us a smile love!’
Also, make sure not to sleep around, or you’ll be called a ‘whore’, but if you are still a virgin you are apparently ‘frigid’. Feminism abolishes these dumb ideals that our society has been living by for too long.
- Speak for Middle Eastern Women
FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), the act of cutting off and restitching female genitals to prevent pleasurable sex, is still practised in 29 countries. There are still no laws against marital rape, but allow child brides in 120 countries. (source) Educated people can draw awareness to these issues and take steps towards change.
There needs be more women, who aren’t afraid to take a stand – for all sexualities, trans, races, genders – who wants to march or simply support others. There needs to be more feminists than ever in the world, so why not at university as well?
by Sarah Garvey