Making Herstory

The troubling and toxic phenomenon of anti-feminism.

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You’d think one wouldn’t have to justify a movement that promotes the welfare of 50% of the world’s population. But here I am.

Last week I mentioned that the wave we are currently going through is facing backlash and obstruction in a surprisingly similar fashion to its predecessors. Despite the relevancy of women’s suffrage (and even when you think people today would be enlightened to it), there is still a strong sense of anti-feminism out there. Just the other day I read a revolting article (written by a woman), discussing the dangers of modern feminists/’feminazis’ because they are “tyrannical and cliquey”.

Apparently we’re back in high school. I also didn’t realise that feminists were the cause of the biggest racial genocide in modern history… (bit of an unfair comparison, don’t you think?)

Meryl Streep (whom I ADORE) was brought into the conversation (was it a conversation? I felt it very biased). While promoting her role as Emmeline Pankhurst in Suffragette, Streep was asked by an interviewer, “Are you a feminist?”, she replied: “I am a humanist, I am for nice easy balance”. It’s confusing why she’d avoid using the term feminist, considering her actions are unfailingly feminist. This is a woman who sent letters to Congress demanding they pass the Equal Rights Amendment, and set up a fund for women screenwriters over 40. She also called out Hollywood for being too male-dominated. The writer of the article was affronted by the outrage generated by feminists over Streep’s statement. As a feminist (and I probably speak for many in our circles), I have nothing against a person who calls themselves a humanist – but you have to understand that in this context – by not identifying with the term, she was holding back a movement which is having to spend too much unnecessary time changing the negative context of the word instead of getting on with the things that really matter. As JK Rowling claims:

“Fear of the name increases fear of the thing itself”.

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Let's Talk

The Global Goals

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I feel like history is made up with women who have had to prove themselves by facing the most ridiculous persecution. So it’s not surprising that in a historic move, Hillary Clinton is the first ever woman running for President against what is inarguably the most patronising, sexist, ignorant and frustratingly narrow-minded candidate to run for President. Ever. We women may have to consistently throw up our hands in indignation, but in fairness, idiocy seems to be a battle everyone is facing these days.

Interestingly enough, the American Elections come around the same time of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. These goals were recently established by international leaders in September 2015 (in hand with Unicef) as a world-wide initiative to abolish and fight inequality, poverty and climate change. The way I see it, it’s a way for multiple movements and organisations, such as Unicef, HeForShe and Comic Relief and Global Partner for Education etc, along with regular people with convictions like you and me, to come together to fight these 3 major world problems.

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WHICH RESOUNDS WITH YOU?

 

 

GlobalGoal5 I pledge to support Gender Equality, Goal 5 of the Global Goals.

 

I was introduced to the Global Goals when I saw the #WhatIReallyReallyWant challenge, which used the Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ music video as an anthem. It’s went viral on social media. What I love about this approach is that it’s stirring, moving, impacting – and yet it’s fun and engaging without being preachy or serious. It’s difficult to argue with and it makes you want to get up and join the cause:

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Let's Talk

Now’s the Time.

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I am a feminist. Feminism to me, is the promotion of Gender Equality, where women and men are accepted as equals politically, economically, socially and intellectually.

The struggle for Gender Equality is not entirely new in Western society. It has been an on going movement for just over 100 years, and waves of feminism have been coming to and fro over the last 50. There have been three waves – briefly covered by this article at Progressive Women’s Leadership – and the wave we are currently going through is facing a whole lot of backlash and obstruction in a surprisingly similar fashion to its predecessors (I’ll speak about this more next week).

But gender equality doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it take one person. It takes a whole generation, and it takes time. With that comes acceptance, normalcy, and eventually it all gets taken for granted.

I have recognised and openly admitted that I am a feminist for a few years now. So why now? As I have already established in this blog, as a lot of people probably do, I’ve simply been surfing through my life by making excuses. “I don’t know how to help” or, “I don’t have the time” or, “What change can I do?”. I knew this wasn’t right, and yet everyday I was growing more and more fed up with the negativity and ignorance surrounding feminism and women’s rights in my own culture, let alone in others.

One of the biggest arguments against feminism in white culture that I have heard, often backed up with media-led fear mongering, is that ‘others have it worse’. The sentiment, while generalised, is true in the sense of how far ‘white’ culture has evolved and progressed, but I can give two reasons why this is a terrible argument: Continue reading

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