A Feminist Conclusion.

Feminism is a word that hurts.

It hurts those who don’t have it.

It hurts those who don’t understand it.

It hurts those who don’t believe it.

But you should, and you can.

It means equality, not just for women, but for men.

No more page 3, no more rape.

Imagine a world where each baby is born with the same possibility.

A lawyer, a teacher, an artist or doctor?

You’re sex doesn’t define you.

You can do wonderful things with the abilities you have, and you will.

Feminism is a word that hurts, because it should be obvious, but it’s not.

Eleanor Banks

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Guest Post by George Shaw

Feminism.

Perhaps this post will earn me a lot of abuse, even some loss in stature of respect but I suppose that can be the case when people have contrasting views, especially regarding the issues, trials and tribulations around feminism. Please, do not take any of what I say as offensive or degrading, I’m merely putting pen to paper and expressing my views, and I’d be the first to stand up and be counted when defending the rights of all people, females most definitely included.

Now that is out of the way it would be best to address what feminism means to me. I wouldn’t call myself a feminist. A recent post on this website noted that if you believed in equality for all then you’re a feminist by definition, but I’d disagree. See the actual definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”, and yes there is notion of equality yet the key principle, one that defines feminism as feminism, is advocating and enriching women’s rights. To me that isn’t total equality. Yes, it is true that females around the world are far worse persecuted, in general, than their male counterparts and so supporting female rights is hugely important but feminism is a focused movement of female rights, as it is allowed to be. Surely the feminists around the world, who say they are for total gender equality, should instead define themselves as egalitarians, a movement that by its definition is to promote total gender equality and opportunities.

Issues that feminists focus on are by and large solely to do with females and often disregard issues that affect men, such as the legal double standards regarding child custody and  the stigma of male rape, as well as the fact that in America men make up 54% of the workforce but also make up 93% of all workplace deaths. A movement that promoted total equality would also demonstrate to sort out these issues, would attempt to socially change the current situation surrounding these issues that men face, you would think so. Yet coverage of such things is hardly heard of, if it at all exists. Not from my own memory have I heard or seen feminists protest about the fact that 97.68% of all military deaths from Operation Iraqi Freedom were male or that men are still susceptible to the archaic notion of military draft. What I see in the news is third wave feminists, who interrupt and damage conferences that attempt to deal with gender equality topics (see the ‘siege’ at the University of Toronto), or even  mainstream feminist websites like Jezebel and Manboobz  that attack such speakers, and their attendees, and sometimes blatantly, sometimes tacitly,endorsing the protestors.

Don’t get me wrong at all; the history and essence of feminism is totally astounding. The resilience and courage of the women that protested for the vote in the late 19th century, and those in the mid-1960s that truly pushed the social boundaries to enshrine the same rights as men in huge areas of daily life are heroes of the people. Feminism should be about pushing women’s rights, it should be about ensuring their social safety in the world. But c’mon if you believe in total gender equality, aren’t you an egalitarian? If you want to protest and stand up for issues that men face as well as women, aren’t you an egalitarian?

I’m perfectly happy with feminism as a movement to better women. Current campaigns to close the gender pay gap and remove the glass ceiling are fantastic. However, if you want to better and defend all genders, is feminism the answer?

I don’t think so…

George Shaw.

Guest post by Omar Al-Kamil

Hi guys!
I’m Omar and I’m writing to share my perspective on feminism. I think I’ll start by giving my stance on the issue by saying that I am a feminist, and I’m proud to be. I also think, however, that feminism is a dream and regretfully I don’t feel like it will ever be a reality. There are a few reasons for this which I’m going to explore; I just really hope that one day I’ll be proved wrong.

So the first thing I’m going to talk about is a misrepresentation and misunderstanding as to what feminism really is. Livii and Eleanor wrote in one of their first articles on this topic- “It is important to us that we don’t come across as ‘man haters’”. I think this is one of the biggest problems with feminism as people tend to see us as ‘man haters’. Going to an all-boys school I can reaffirm that this is often the case. Without naming names, there have been numerous examples where a girl has stood up for herself, or for a friend, against derogatory/sexist comments from a guy and the guy has simply dismissed the comment as coming from a ‘feminist’ source. The most infuriating thing, being both a man and a feminist, is to see people not care about a serious issue which people are so passionately trying to correct.

The next thing I’m going to talk about is this whole idea of ‘neo-feminism.’ I’ll be honest I haven’t spoken to many feminists about this so I don’t know if I’m treading on dangerous waters or not. Personally I think that neo-feminism ruins the feminist movement. It’s hard to take the whole issue seriously, when there are a few people who are pushing forward such a statement. In effect, it’s as bad as people saying that feminist is a bad idea, both sides are advocating gender inequality in the end. A common example people use to demonstrate neo-feminism, is stripping. Some feminists argue (so the internet tells me), that stripping is empowering to females and it gives them the opportunity to express their sexual liberty. Although I fully support liberties, I feel like I’d fall into the class of people who think that this is just degrading to women and undermines the image of feminism.

The last point I’m going to raise is the name ‘feminism’, and the problem with the word feminism being the pro-female connotations which it burdens. The reason why I see this as an issue, is  because it saddens me that the whole idea of the campaign is to bring females up to the same level of men. I’d prefer simply a name which supports just equality, maybe something as simple as ‘equalitism’. I feel that with a unisex name like that, it’s a more positive approach, simply looking to make everyone equal. The whole approach is the same, but I feel a non-gender specific approach will be more widely received. Although with that said, I doubt anyone’s going to change the name anytime soon.

So those are just some of my opinions on feminism. Speaking from a guy’s perspective, I hope I’m wrong and that one day the notion that gender equality didn’t exist is ridiculous, but until that day I hope that everyone keeps up the spirit of such a good campaign.

Lastly I’d like to say thanks to Livii and Eleanor for letting me write my opinions here.

Omar Al-Kamil

Guest Post by Caitlyn Hagin

I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re a feminist.

I was recently speaking to a friend about how I identified as a feminist and the definition of being a feminist. He replied by saying he hated feminists. Now as a feminist I was offended by this- a good friend of mine said he hates something I believe in. I then asked him why he hates feminists. He responded with ‘they are all man hating women who think women are superior.’

This is not the definition of feminism.

I then asked him if he believed that men and women should be paid for the same work, that we should be equal in terms of social, economic and political terms. He said yes. Sorry to tell you but if you believe in equality, then you’re a feminist.

What I want gone is the stigma around the word ‘feminist.’ It just means you believe in equality. Both men and women can be feminists and most are feminists, but do not identify as a feminist due to the stigma around the word. I hope I have cleared up what being a feminist means!

Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. We have come so far with women’s rights but we have further to go! Yes women can vote and yes women are becoming more economically independent and having choice of careers, but there are still issues. An example is the pay gap, and the ‘glass ceiling’ which is an invisible barrier stopping women achieve their potential, due to the fact that they are female. I haven’t even started mentioning the issues with girls around the world not being allowed to go to school but her brothers are, her potential not being seen because she is a girl. Now that’s not fair is it? Or female genital mutilation, forced marriages, honour killings, forced abortions.

It needs to stop.

Human rights are basic rights that every person on the planet should be entitled to, regardless or their age, race, nationality, gender or any other difference. But so many human rights are denied to women and girls.

Now you might be thinking, ‘What can I do to help solve these issues?’ The solution is to question things, raise issues around gender inequality and stand up for what you believe in. Don’t just accept something because ‘that’s how it’s always been’ or ‘that’s just how society works’. Question it. Question everything. If you have a job whether it be part or full time, are you getting paid the same as your male colleagues for the same work? You don’t know? Question it.

Women in the past have changed society so now it’s time for both males and females to work together for gender equality. Don’t be afraid to identify as a feminist. If someone doesn’t know the meaning of feminism then educate them, explain to them what it means. It’s the small things that make the big change.

Caitlyn Hagin.11118431_10205784327906293_844913358_n

Bra Recycling

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Hello everybody!

Following the theme of this month, we thought about focusing on something which can be a woman’s support, their best friend, their confidence booster… their bra.

Our Project

So this month, myself and Eleanor have decided to collect together those old bras that sit in the draw, those that we wish still fit but no longer do and those that have had their time. We thought about what we could do with them, as many normal charity shops will not accept underwear of any kind. Then we came across the Bra Recycling (http://www.againstbreastcancer.org.uk/get-involved/fundraising/recycling/513/bra-recycling/ )

Cancer Research

We hope that by doing this, we can raise awareness for breast cancer. The first symptom of breast cancer for many women is a lump in their breast. But many women have breast lumps and 9 out of 10 (90%) are benign. That means they are not cancers. There are many things we would not know about breast cancer if it weren’t for charities like CancerResearch. Even though this is mainly an issue for the ladies, we must not forget that men can get breast cancer too!! If you would like to find out more about CancerResearch and the work they do, check out their website. ( http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/ )

Again, this is something that is easy to do and, let’s face it, probably needs doing. We may not be able to help the huge numbers of people who are unfortunately suffering from this horrible disease. However, even if we just inspire one person to donate to this important charity, we believe it is worthwhile.

Thank you for reading and we hope you will get bra recycling!

Eleanor and Livii

Fight for Feminism

Hello everyone!!

For the month of April we will be following the theme of gender equality and as the title suggests, fighting for feminism. This is something, as girls we take pride in, and we hope that you will actively participate in our ideas for the coming month! Although many of you may not think about women’s rights because you feel unaffected by the lack of justice towards women, however, there are still several countries in the world, where women are still unable to purchase their own properties, vote or even wear what they want. Obviously we can’t change all these issues ourselves but we want to try and make a small difference. We have many ideas for this month including donations, spreading awareness and getting friends involved! So if you believe in gender equality and want to help them to achieve this, please keep reading our blog! We will be doing several posts this month with different ways in which you can help women!

Women’s rights – In the 21st century, have we achieved gender equality?

The United Nations Women’s Treaty was implemented several decades ago, this was supposed to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, to give women the equal right to participate in their nations political and public life. Many decades from the time of the treaty, it’s sad to say, not much has changed. Worldwide, there are cases of female injustice everyday. In Africa, where female genital mutilation is still a prevalent practice. Another huge problem that our society is attempting to tackle today is human trafficking, especially the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation, it is estimated that 700,000 people are trafficked  each year, although we do not know precisely how many of them are women, we can be sure that a large percentage are women. In Saudi Arabia, woman are not allowed to drive. Yemeni women are the least empowered women in the world. In Nepal, if a women is raped or assaulted, their perpetrators will not be punished, not even arrested! These are just some example of extreme discrimination towards women throughout the world that really highlight how big an issue it really is. Surely, we would’ve reached a point of gender equality by now? No, although there are signs of progress, there is still an almost 10% pay gap between women and men today. Our fight for gender equality must continue, in the hope that our future generations will live in a society where women and men are treated as equals.

Gender Equality

It is important to us that we don’t come across as ‘man haters’, we believe in gender equality. The equal rights for both men AND women. A society where people are not discriminated based on their gender.

“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”
Gloria Steinem 

Thank you for reading,

Eleanor and Livii.

YoungMinds

Featured image Helloo,

For the month of March, we have been supporting the YoungMinds charity, to help raise awareness for child and adolescent mental health.

How often does someone tell you that you are special? How often do you appreciate your own little quirks, rather than just your grades or your abilities? We think not enough. It is said that around 80,000 young people suffer with severe forms of depression, this figure is quite frankly astounding and is definitely something we feel passionate about trying to reduce. Obviously, this is a major illness and huge amounts of money is being spent in order to try and cure it. However, we are Project Small Change and believe in the little things that help people.

Our project

Therefore, this month our idea was to help those around us, during a busy term at school. Our friends are stressed, sleep deprived and often a little under the weather; so we wanted to help! We left little notes in peoples’ purses/books/pencil cases etc for them to find, which simply stated a reason as to why they are special, because everyone is. We know that such a small gesture can really brighten someone’s day, and we hope that you can find the time to do something similar for those around you. Sometimes charity isn’t about money, but about taking the time out of your own life and thinking of someone else, even if it’s just for the length of time it takes you to write a note.

YoungMinds

YoungMinds charity is a leading mental health organisation within the UK with a vision to help improve the emotional well-being and mental health of thousands of children and adolescents. They aspire to promote a society capable of conditioning the emotional resilience of young people, this is something that resonates with ProjectSmallChange. To find out more about the charity, we recommend having a look at their fabulous website ( http://www.youngminds.org.uk/ ).

We hope you will get involved and spread some happiness!

Thanks for reading,

Eleanor and Livii.