Feminism: Who Needs It?

Anyone who is out as a feminist will probably have had some puzzled reactions along the lines of:

  • “But don’t we have equality now?”
  •  “I think feminism’s gone too far. It’s the men who are oppressed.”
  • “Why don’t you like men?”
  •  “This country is pretty much OK, it’s just in the Third World where women don’t have rights.”
  • “I don’t feel like being a woman has ever held me back.”

Sexism is so much a part of our society, that we take it for granted, accept it as being natural or don’t even notice it when it happens. If you’re not convinced, let me explain.

If you know a woman who’s been raped…

If you know a woman who feels ugly, and insecure about her body…

If you know a woman who does ALL the housework in her house…

If you know a woman who stays in a bad relationship because she’ll feel like a failure if she’s single…

If you know a woman who wanted to be a plumber, but the careers advisor told her to be a hairdresser…

If you know a woman who’s in an abusive relationship (and 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence at some point in their life, so if you don’t think you know anyone then trust me, you do)…

If you know a woman who was mysteriously made redundant after her employer found out she was pregnant…

If you know a woman who was sexually abused as a child…

If you know a woman who hates that her boyfriend looks at Page 3 but can’t say anything to him about it…

If you know a woman who has to keep quiet about the number of people she’s slept with so she won’t get labelled a slag…

If you know a woman who has to pretend she has more sexual experience than she has so she won’t get labelled a frigid bitch…

If you know a woman who can’t get back into work after taking time out to have kids because she can’t find an employer willing to be flexible…

If you know a woman whose only sex education came from watching porn because no one ever had an open conversation with her about sex and relationships…

If you know a woman who’s always on a diet but can never quite get thin enough…

If you know a woman who’s tried to speak out against something she was unhappy with and been ignored and patronised because ‘she’s obviously just got PMT’…

If you know a woman who doesn’t get the respect and the pay she deserves because she works in a traditionally female area like childcare or retail which is undervalued by our society…

If you know a woman who used to get bullied at school for being too fat, too clever, for wearing glasses, for being a tomboy, for wearing the wrong clothes, for being a slag…

If you know even one of these women, or if you are even one of these women, then you know why we still need feminism.

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2 Comments on “Feminism: Who Needs It?”

  1. blueanna says:

    Three cheers! Rachelette, this is great. I was having a conversation yesterday with a wannabe FAC-er along similar lines to this post – about how to have the conversation with people who don’t understand why you’re a feminist. We were talking about how we actually feel we could use a group session where we discuss the best ways of dealing with this when it comes up – what arguments to use, sharing experiences, etc, as it’s usually one of those conversations where you come away thinking ‘I should have said x and x and y and x…’ but in the moment it never quite works out. Then we would be even better at going out and vanquishing the anti-feminists or the feminist-deniers or the ‘but we’ve got equality’ers, while setting an example of how to do it to the world in general.

    • rachelette says:

      Do you remember how we were talking about the idea of a feminist skillshare? We could have a session on feminist evangelism…


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