Sunday, 19 March 2017

Feminism

by Michaela Clancy


I will begin this article with saying that I do not know if I am a feminist…. I find myself searching for a simple answer and only find myself becoming more and more conflicted. As with any campaign there are always going to be factors that you favour more than others, but with feminism and certain feminist ideas I find myself becoming very opposed.

After years of listening to debates about women’s rights and deliberating with others as well as myself, I have still not concluded whether I support feminism. The typical definition is that feminism is the support of equality between genders, which I agree with. I very much support the right for women to vote and to have equal pay. I also support the fact the women can obtain the same level within the work place as men.  This in itself could class me as a feminist. I revel in the fact that education is open to all genders and that I myself am part of receiving an excellent education. I have also taken up opportunities such as the CCF and have had the privilege of considering a military career. All of these things were not as easily obtainable a hundred years ago or in some cases, a few decades ago.

However, I find myself reading articles and watching videos where I begin to question whether feminism has gone too far. I find myself wanting to scream when statistic start popping out at me, as often they are biased and have not taken into account the full picture. Recently,  I watched a video saying that in books there are next to no females who take charge of their destiny without the aid of a male or animal (in cases such as Disney). I understand what the producers were trying to portray but I found it unrealistic. Historically, women were suppressed and many modern stories are based on historical background. Also, they did not mention which books that the study was based upon, for all I know they could have purposely picked certain genres or selected specific books to support their study. 


I can fondly remember series such as Jane Blonde (no guessing what that was based upon) from my junior years and other such stories which are solely based upon female protagonists. I also find it unrealistic in that there are very few ‘success’ stories that involve only one person. Humans are social animals and when I observe wildlife the females are often treasured for certain qualities and the males for others. There is rarely little equality between other species, the females are male dominated and I find that a natural progression of life.  I often hear stories of women being suppressed within the world, and how it is unfair that males are still seen as the dominant of our species but I rarely read about how women have achieved equality (probably because many believe that we haven’t). I think we have achieved equality in countries such as England. Not wholly but enough. I find it an odd concept that some are almost striving for a 50/50 divide between the genders in places such as work. Surely we should gain our positions through merit and not through the attempt to satisfy a ratio. Yes, I realise that in the past women have not been considered for their hard work and intelligence, rather what gender they are but we are living in a more accepting world and I think we should be satisfied with that. I believe in the basic feminist ideals, and in today’s society I think some have gone too far, by creating arguments where there would not usually be one.

I realise that some people may consider my ideas as been naive in saying that we have achieved equality. Yes, I am naive but that is because I rely on stories published by newspapers and knowledge collected through my own observations and opinions. I don’t know what kind of world it is for many women in this day and age but I can say from what I have experienced that I think we should be proud and satisfied with what has been achieved. Women such as the suffragettes, some of whom sacrificed their lives for a cause that they believed in, campaigned for votes for women. It then progressed into workplace rights such as equal pay and opportunity through education. To me these are not small progressions and personally I think it is unrealistic to strive for equality in what some campaigns say should be an almost 50/50 divide.

I often feel that my opinion is suppressed by feminists, because I feel that many do not consider the other argument. Most of my friends are feminists and when they learn of my opinions, most of them will ask ‘why?’ This is the question I love to be asked, as it allows me a chance to word my beliefs and in a few situations a couple have even understood my view. However, I have been in situations where I remain silent as I feel intimidated and somewhat worried of what people may think of me. In other places I have worded my opinion and have been ‘shot down’ by people opposing my views, and once I was even called sexist. I realise that my views my oppose the social expectation but I believe it would be courteous if certain people were more understanding of the opposing argument, no matter how extreme or in what situation (most recently Brexit was a cause for strenuous debate). I believe if we were living in a totally free society I would be able to voice my opinion in situations that require debate and feel comfortable to say that in most cases regarding the modern ideals for women I do not consider myself a feminist.

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