International Women’s Day

So as International Women’s Day was yesterday I thought I’d write a little something…

Women. As a gender, we have been subjected to intolerable suffering and unfairness for decades. It’s hard to believe that only in 1928 did the government give women the right to vote. At what cost though? The Suffragettes were an organisation of activists that aimed to change society for the better by fighting for equality.  A group of hard hitting feminists standing up for what they believe in no matter what the cost. Emmeline Pankhurst, a well-known suffragette, subjected herself to hunger strike and was arrested on numerous occasions. Emily Davidson sacrificed her life and was killed by the King’s horses in Derby all because she was appealing to the King for a right that she was entitled to have. Thousands of Suffragettes were imprisoned for fighting the unlawful patriarchal society. These women all sacrificed something for the greater good and given women the same political rights as men.

So far so good right? Well no. Just because women now have political rights doesn’t mean we should stop there. What about women’s social rights? They are constantly belittled by men and objectified by the media. Nuts, Loaded, etc. need I go on? Social norms are constantly rearing their ugly heads too. When a male sleeps around, they are deemed ‘players’ and congratulated. Yet when a woman partakes in sexual behaviour, she is labelled a ‘slag’. Children are socialised from an early age about the roles males and females must have. Women must be the head nurturers and do all the housework. There isn’t much deviation from this, especially in traditional families. Socially, women are criticised, condemned and made to feel like they can’t do as much as men – or even more- without being scrutinised and constantly judged. The problem lies in agencies of socialisation such as family and education where children are first introduced to social norms and expectations. The media is also a key factor that structures our thinking.

Many are under the illusion being a feminist means being a ‘man basher’ and allowing women to get away with everything. As a keen feminist I would dismiss that idea immediately. Feminism is essentially about men and women being equal. The only way we can build an equal society is by not judging or labelling people – whether a man or woman – and introducing open minded thinking where people can do as they please, whether that differs from gender expectations or not.

Girls, this means asserting your rights and putting your foot down. Yes I mean that literally, stiletto heels are ideal for hurting that lout next time he tells you to “get back into the kitchen”.