• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

I have a choice in stance on feminism

I DON'T need feminism.

That's a large part of why I'm a feminist. I vote, I own my own home, I'm educated, I have the choice to marry or have children, I am not intimidated by my male peers and I work. I'm a victory for the feminist movement and I am also aware that I have these basic rights thanks to the women before me who worked to earn them.

I wonder what those women would think of the ladies who have set up the Women Against Feminism social media campaign. It features women holding up signs reading, "I don't need feminism because..." "I don't need feminism," reads one of the more carefully considered placards, "because it's just another trend!"

"I don't need feminism because I am the only thing holding me back." "I don't need feminism because I don't whine hysterically until people buy me stuff." Where did they find these ladies?

There are charges of man-hating; an unwillingness to position women as victims; and those who have the fortune to be married to/the daughter of/the sister of a decent man. Some say they aren't feminists because they like wearing nice clothes; they enjoy compliments; and oppression does not exist in their communities.

Whoa there, cowgirls! Just because you're under the umbrella doesn't mean it's not raining on anyone else.

I'd like to think Women Against Feminism is a minor gathering of milquetoasts, criticising feminism while luxuriating in the rights it fights for but I'm not so sure. Anecdatal suggests a swathe of young women reluctant to identify with feminism because they fear it means bickering and hairy armpits.

A female friend recently told me she's no feminist because "a lot" of feminists use the movement as a sneaky cover for their misandry. While perceived infighting is surely a turn-off to many young women, I suspect a lot of them worry that identifying as a feminist will make them less appealing to men, so insidiously ingrained is the desire for male approval.

The great thing about the feminist movement is that you don't need to subscribe to all of it - you can just pick the bits that chime most with you.

At its heart, feminism is a movement for equality, choice, respect and compassion. The idea is women are equals: not sex objects, brood mares, property, punching bags or intellectual inferiors.

Feminists can wear feminine clothes, they can be full-time mothers, they can get along famously with males. Men can be feminist too; equality is just as useful to them.

If you're not interested in feminism then that's fine too. The idea of the movement is to earn choice for women and if women choose to exercise that choice by rejecting feminism, well, that's a success of sorts.

If a woman judges you for your choices then it's probably not because she's a feminist; it's probably because she's not a very nice person.

The UK's first Girl Summit this week highlighted women's rights: 700 million women today were child brides, in Yemen women need their husband's permission to go outside, in Saudi Arabia women cannot vote.

Here, in the UK, women are subject to honour killings, forced marriage, they suffer female genital mutilation. These are the big things feminism fights. But there are the small things too, such as the fact everything from food to lifestyle choices are laden with guilt for women but not men.

Who is fighting for change? Not those who write off an entire movement because it's not in their personal interests.

Feminism has its flaws but what it has in its favour is that feminists are not selfish. You might not need feminism but before you write it off, perhaps consider there are plenty of women who do.

Contextual targeting label: 
Hobbies and general interest

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

251793