Anyone who knows me knows that’s I’m a feminist. Before you role your eyes thinking ‘here we go, another man-hater/lesbian/another girl who can’t get some’ and close your browser, just hear me out.
Whenever I tell people I’m a feminist, which I’m pretty darn proud of, people are so quick to judge and they just laugh. No one actually bothers to ask why. I want to tell you exactly why I’m a feminist and I think this is really important, because I know 100% of young girls and women go through this.
My family might hate me after reading this, but to be honest, I don’t care. I will always stand up for what I believe in.
[Note: excuse me for the occassional crude language, I feel very strongly about this topic!)
When I was younger, about 6/7, I remember picking up something heavy and my uncles rushing over to pick it up for me. You could call this being polite, but I noticed that whenever I picked something up or tried to assemble something, the men in my family would always take over. I remember being confused because I could’ve easily done it myself and also in half the time. I’ve always been quite physically strong and muscley, so it really annoyed me that I was always perceived as weak because I’m a girl.
Trip to Dubai
When I was 13 I went to Dubai for a family holiday. Being respectful of the muslim culture, all the women in our holiday group wore long skirts to cover our legs. It was crazy hot though so we were sleeveless vest tops. We walked through town and literally a swarm of guys were following us, simply because our arms were showing. I was really disgusted.
One night, we all went out for dinner. I stood next to my mum whilst we were waiting to be seated and I looked out the window. There was a man staring at me and wagging his tongue at me. I was only 13 so I didn’t know what it meant, but I just remembered being really freaked out. A few years later when I realised what it meant I literally wanted to throw up. The fact that someone can do that to a child…I have no words for it.
We went to a water park called ‘Wild Wadi’, if you’ve been there you know it’s pretty awesome! My family and I had just come off a ride which finishes in a large pool, you have to walk through the pool to get to the exit. I met my sister (who was 15 at the time) at the exit who said that some boys cornered her in the pool under a tunnel and one guy touched her bum. I felt so angry but also really scared for her, coz when you’re young you don’t really know what to do in these situations.
Looking for a job
Every summer, mum would pester me to get a summer job. When I was 16 I agreed to look for a summer job so I dressed up smartly in a black skirt and shirt, printed out a load of CVs and headed to my local shopping centre to hand them out.
I just gave my CV to House of Fraser and was heading to the next shop, when an Indian man came behind me and mumbled in my ear ‘bend over’, then mumbled some other sexual jibberish that I can’t remember. I was so scared. I didn’t say anything and just kept on walking whilst he stared at me from the escalator.
Walking to the gym
It was a super hot day, the weather was nice so I decided to walk to the gym. I wore gym shorts, not the tight lycra ones, just plain black baggy shorts.
I was walking on the pavement when a car pulled up next to me and started shouting vile things at me, just because I had my legs on show. It’s like these men had never seen skin before?!
I read an article which said that 95% of girls get sexually harassed at University, and I promise you it’s true. I’ve genuinely lost count of the times that I’ve been inappropriately touched up. But there were a few incidents that I can’t get out of my head.
I was clubbing with my friends having a good time. A guy came up behind me, trying to dance with me, I turned around and said ‘no’. He then tried to punch me because I said no. He got so angry that he missed, that he then pushed me to the floor. The crowd around me moved away, creating a big circle in which I was just lying on the floor in the middle, it was pretty embarassing even though I knew I wasn’t in the wrong.
I was on another night out with my friends, dancing away in a club. One of my uni coursemates came behind me, put his hand up my skirt and pinched my bum. I was in shock. I had to see this guy the next day at lectures, why was he being a prick and making it awkward?!
On yet another night out (I went clubbing A LOT at uni), I walked into a club with my friends making my way to the bar. A guy standing near me grabbed my top and pulled it down then started laughing with his friend. I was SO angry so I pushed him, he then pushed me back. I just walked away as there was really no point in arguing with him.
And of course, I was called a ‘b*tch’ or ‘c*nt’ on plenty of occasions when I asked a guy not to touch me or I refused to dance with them.
Now, I know alot of people will be thinking ‘well what were you wearing on these nights out? A skimpy short skirt?’ You know what, yes, I was wearing a mini skirt, but I also didn’t have a sign on my head saying ‘Please come and sexually assault me’. I wore those clothes because I felt good in them and I shouldn’t be judged for what I wear.
My mum’s answer to all of this was ‘well maybe you shouldn’t be clubbing’. I shouldn’t have to stop my fun because a bunch of stupid boys have no respect for women and can’t control themselves. I’m a free woman and I will do whatever the hell I want.
My dad’s response was ‘well all of this has been happening for years’, as if to say it’s just part of life and I should just deal with it.
At Uni, I always felt that I had to be careful of how I behave on nights out so I wouldn’t be branded a ‘slut’, ‘ho’ or ‘sket’. But over the past few years I’ve realised that women are allowed to express themselves as a sexual being, just like men, and they shouldn’t be judged for it.
University dissertation on the ‘Glass Ceiling’
Whilst writing my University dissertation (which I absolutely loved), I realised that I was a feminist.
My dissertation was about factors that prevent women from reaching director positions. Obviously things like pregnancy are an issue, but that’s something that women can’t help, although I do think there should be more support for mother’s in the workplace.
It was my research on the gender pay gap that really got to me. I couldn’t believe the difference in pay, I’m talking thousands of pounds, and to think it’s just because another species exists that aren’t born with dicks. (Seriously, what is is about dicks that make one species think they’re superior to another? Can I just say, women have 2 ‘private areas’, so surely we should be seen as superior?)
Okay, so I could get into deep sh*t for saying this, but I’m gonna go ahead.
One side of my family has always been pretty traditional. Every family gathering, the women spend the whole day in the kitchen cooking for the whole family whilst the men sit on their asses watching TV. When dinner is served, the men always eat first and sit at the dining table. The women eat last and end up sitting in the TV room or on the floor. Then men never have the decency to offer the women a seat at the table.
Something happened at a family gathering last year which SERIOUSLY pissed me off. I was sitting in a room with all my cousins, a mixture of boys and girls. Dinner was about to be served and my uncle walked in, scanning everyone in the room, then said to me, my sister and cousin sister ‘can you go and serve the men food?’
I’m sorry, had all the men suddenly lost their limbs that they couldn’t serve their own damn selves? I looked at him and said ‘you do realise all the boys are here yet you pick on the girls to serve the men food’. He replied ‘I know but I’m asking you guys’.
Obviously I didn’t serve the men food, I’m not anyone’s maid, and if the men are so incompetent to serve themselves food then it’s really not my problem. I was fuming, I walked over to my mum and told her what my uncle said. She called my uncle over and said ‘Ramona’s really upset by what you said’. My uncle didn’t take this seriously and just laughed it off.
I’m also surrounded by cousin brothers who constantly call women ‘bints’ and ‘bitches’. To be honest, I’m really sick of it. What baffles me the most is that they’re all doctors, so calling women these names definitely doesn’t reflect their level of education.
So, why am I a feminist?
This is a short list of all the times I’ve been sexually harassed or felt voilated. Trust me, there’s so much more. When I was younger, I didn’t know how to respond to all of this, most of the time I was scared or in shock. Now I’m perfectly able to stand up for myself and give someone a piece of my mind, but I shouldn’t even have to go through this, neither should any woman.
Next time you judge someone for being a feminist, ask them why, coz I promise you, every girl you know has been sexually harassed at least once, whether it be in the form of being inappopriately touched, being cat called or whatever.
I love being a woman, we’re such beautiful and mentally strong creatures, but I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. We’re constantly harassed or judged or told how we should behave, and this happens on a daily basis.
I’m a feminist because I’m sick and tired of being seen as just a sexual object and being told how to behave as a woman. I’m an intelligent and educated being who is capable of SO much and so is every woman. I want to be seen as an equal and more importantly, as a human being, not a thing.
Every year I understand more and more about what being a woman means. There really is no definition. It’s not your job to get married, cook, clean, financially depend on a man or have babies (seriously, you’re not a baby making machine). I recently told my mum that I don’t know if I want to get married or have kids, obviously she wasn’t too happy.
At Uni, all I wanted to do was to find someone, settle down and get married. But then I realised it’s because I’ve been wired to think like that. Girls are always told from a young age to put marriage first, but I don’t want to. My career and financial wellbeing comes first. I’m also tired of people telling me that no one will want me after 30 so I better start looking for a husband now. If no one wants me, I have myself and I’m cool with that. Also, if I ever have a daughter, I have to raise her knowing that 100% she will be sexually harassed at least once in her life and I’m not okay with that.
I’m yet to find a man who will call themselves a feminist, but if you have, amen to you! (and can I have your number?)
We’re living in a world where some women still don’t have the right to an education, are sacrificed in honour killings, sold online for their bodies, forced into prostitution, raped and blamed for it or don’t even have a birth certificate (or even killed) simply because they were born as a girl, and this happens EVERY DAMN DAY.
Is there a solution for sexism towards women?
Just like racism or any other form of inequality, unfortunately there will always be an element of sexism. But, we’ve come SUCH a long way and I’m forever grateful for the women in history who have given us so many rights today.
I think that a lot of the issues of sexism lies with what we teach young boys. We’re always teaching girls how to protect themselves or how they should behave around men so we ‘don’t give them the wrong idea’. We actually need to teach young boys to respect girls, treat them as equals and that it’s not ‘cool’ to touch or harass girls.
We really need men to stand up for feminism.
This is a bit of a long post and to be honest I could go on for hours!
I know a lot of people don’t like calling themselves a feminist because the word has a bad reputation and they think the word means ‘man-hating’ (it actually means equality of the sexes). I used to be scared of calling myself a feminist around guys, thinking it would scare them off and no one would want to date me, but I think admitting that you’re a feminist is a strength in itself. It shows that you don’t care what other people think, ESPECIALLY for men, I seriously rate any man for calling themselves a feminist.
Love you all and remember ladies, you can do absolutely ANYTHING that you want!