My relationship with Feminism

Has your relationship with feminism changed as you have gotten older?

Mia Dale
14th March 2023
Image Credits: Unsplash
Feminists. A group of angry women who hate men. That’s what most people think, right? Well, it’s time we change this. Feminism has gained a bad reputation in society, and I certainly didn’t want to associate myself with the word for many of my teenage years out of fear of being called a ‘man-hater’. But feminism is something that everyone should connect with. Yes, female empowerment and all that … but it calls for serious change too. 

Feminism was first portrayed to me as woman-loving and man-hating, with particularly negative associations attached to it. But feminism is not about hating men, or women ‘taking over’. It calls for changes in male expectations, too, particularly the need to break down ‘masculine’ stereotypes, encouraging men to be vulnerable. I first started to really feel a feminist anger inside of me during my A-level English Literature classes, as my teacher’s passion for feminism was infectious. I will never forget her fury as she analysed the oppression of women in The Handmaids Tale, warning us of the possibility of it coming true. My interest in English Literature really took off at this time and I started to question society more - typical English student, I know. But seriously, I think it is important for everyone to do this, otherwise we will never disrupt the inherent discrimination that has permeated society for decades. I’m now undertaking my English Literature degree (surprise surprise), which addresses the treatment of women in most of the texts we study, so my relationship with feminism has become a lot more nuanced in both a personal and political way.  

Experiencing and witnessing gender inequalities myself has certainly made me feel more passionately about feminism

Feminism is about equality in everything, and I think this is the main way in which my relationship with feminism has evolved … noticing how many subtle gender inequalities pervade society and how feminism is about challenging these inherent discriminations, rather than it being a big, angry political movement driving men into extinction. Experiencing and witnessing gender inequalities myself has certainly made me feel more passionately about feminism. The number of times I have feared getting somewhere alone are countless, or changed my outfit worrying that something is more likely to happen. According to a recent government survey, 37% of women have stopped walking in quiet places after dark, but women should not feel unsafe because of male desire - this is where my relationship with feminism became more personal. Yes, it is about big issues such as the gender pay gap (which is still 14.9%, by the way!) and under-representation of women in senior positions, but gender discrimination pervades all aspects of society and has become so normalised that we don’t always recognise it. 

Don’t get me wrong, most of us have enjoyed a bit of male attention from time to time. Not very feminist-y of us, I must say. But that doesn’t mean we have no right to be angry when it goes too far. Feminism calls for an end to objectification, oppression, and exclusion. We must keep fighting.

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