Do you think that feminism is obsolete and that we’ve already achieved gender equality?
Well, we have made great progress thanks to feminists who have fought for women’s rights in the past, but believe me, we’ve still got a long way to go. Here’s a few reasons why:
✿ Let’s start with the obvious: The gender pay gap. According to The Guardian, women in the UK earn about £300 000 less during their working life, due to a gap of 24% in average full-time annual salary between women and men. Quite often, women are paid less for doing the exact same job as their male colleagues, for no other reason than being female.
Another problem women face in their workplace is that their opinions are not always taken seriously or that their abilities are completely underestimated. For example, my boss used to work at a big tech company, and when she applied for a job where she would have to manage a lot of the company’s money, one of her colleagues laughed at her and asked her whether she really thought they were gonna trust a woman to have access to so much of the company’s fundings.
Additionally, it’s not uncommon that women are actually fired for their looks (I know, it sounds too stupid to be real), for example if they refuse to wear high heels to work or cut their hair, which is clearly a restriction of personal freedom.
✿ However, it’s not just at work where women are expected to live up to ridiculous beauty standards. Women with body hair are portrayed as unhygienic, even though it’s completely fine for men. They are expected to wear make-up, but not too much of it, because that would be “false advertising”. They are supposed to be skinny, but still have big boobs and a big bum, and women’s magazines keep advertising ways to become more attractive and get more male attention as if looking good and being liked by men was the only thing women are good for.
This is terribly degrading and dangerous because it makes young girls hung up about the way they look, feel insecure and strive to become an unattainable “perfect”, despite the fact that they’re already perfect in their own way.
✿ Women are constantly objectified, reduced to their bodies and dehumanised and have to put up with catcalling and lewd or sexist comments on a daily basis. To make things worse, all this is often just dismissed with phrases like “boys will be boys”, which, as this girl explained on twitter, are not only extremely ignorant, but also setting very low standards for boys. Men are not mindless animals who are completely led by instincts and I’m pretty sure they’re perfectly capable of controlling their hormones when they see a girl in shorts.
✿ Another aspect that many people are not necessarily aware of is that the patriarchy is still very much alive and negatively affecting the lives of many women. In most families, girls are still low-key expected to marry and have kids and are therefore scared to disappoint their family members if they don’t, which puts people who aren’t straight or simply don’t feel like starting their own family under a lot of pressure.
As I discussed in a previous post, we’re often being told that we’re only fully complete once we’ve found a partner or soulmate, which is a concept I strongly disagree with because I’m convinced that every person is born as a whole and doesn’t need to find their “other half” to lead a happy life.
However, single women are often pitied for not being in a relationship, and people don’t seem to consider that they might prefer their lives this way; and the same goes for women who decide against having kids. Not starting your own family is not a loss or missed opportunity, it’s just another, equally good way of living.
If a woman does get married to a man and has kids, she’s usually still expected to take her husband’s last name and stay home with the children later on. I’ve often heard people say things like “She’s a mother and she still works a full-time job, she should be a housewife and care for her kids instead”, but have you ever heard someone accuse a father of not caring for his children if he works full time? Probably not.
Why does the man have to be the one to earn all the money? Perhaps, the woman has a better job or simply doesn’t want to give up on her career? Seriously, it’s the 21st century!
✿ Slut shaming is still a thing. Basically, you can’t really get it right as a woman, because if you don’t have a lot of sex, you’re a prude, and if you do, they’ll call you a slut. Why is it so objectionable or undignified for women to have sex with a lot of different people, while men are being praised if they have a different girl every night?
✿ Society is blaming victims instead of standing up against rape. There’s nothing that makes me more furious than hearing comments like “Well, it’s a horrible thing, but she probably wouldn’t have gotten raped if she’d put on some more clothes”. There is never an excuse for rape, and I truly wish that, instead of telling girls to cover up, stop wearing make up or stay home in the first place to prevent them from getting raped, we would start educating young people on the importance of sexual consent. Maybe that way, women will one day be able to walk the streets at night without having to be terrified.
✿ Lastly, I would like to add that feminism obviously includes men as well. To be accepted in society, there’s an incredible pressure to be as “manly” as possible, meaning to always appear strong, fearless, tough and never show emotions; to the point where a lot of men are trapped in a prison of role expectations that prevents them from being who they really want to be.
Honestly, have you ever thought about how ridiculous gender roles really are? Why can’t boys wear make up if it makes them feel great? Why can’t they wear dresses or skirts without being judged for it? Or why is it strange if their favourite colour is pink? Colours don’t have a blooming gender, do they?
There’s nothing wrong with boys being feminine, no matter if they’re gay, straight or any other sexuality, and it certainly doesn’t make them weak. In fact, ignoring gender roles and being yourself is probably one of the bravest things you can do.
These are only some of the reasons why feminism is still relevant and very much needed, even in Western Societies where women are already in a way better position than in many other countries.
I’d love to have a little discussion about this, so leave a comment if there’s anything you want to add, have a question or simply want to state your opinion! xx