Thursday, 1 November 2012

On being a teenage feminist.


I am a feminist. I don't burn bras, I don't hate men, I am simply a feminist. And what that means is that I strongly believe in equality. And that is all. I don't think that women are superior to men, I don't believe men should suffer for the many years of female oppression and I don't believe that the roles should be reversed and that women should be the dominant sex and men be the "weaker". What I do believe, and what I fight for along with many others is for both genders to be acknowledged and treated equally in every means and in every society.

Unfortunately this equality between every man and woman has not yet been achieved anywhere in the world. In some cases women still get paid smaller salaries than men, the objectification of women and overall portrayal of women in the media has become more and more degrading and the equality we had obtained in our image has gone backwards. The majority of rape and sexual assault victims still don't receive the appropriate justice in court and by society with seedy lines like "her clothes were too provocative" doing the rounds and many cases being dropped or ignored. Mainly because of the taboo we have created around the subject. Sexual harassment occurs in almost every woman's daily life without much thought or care of the actual seriousness of the issue.

In countries such as Afghanistan even more unjust cases of oppression are happening this moment with the absolute hatred of women from the Taliban causing them to almost cease to exist. Women are unable to go into the streets without wearing a full burqa with only a tiny slit of lace to see through or without a male accompanying them, they are unable to work or earn any money, an unmarried young woman cannot talk to an unmarried young male without being forced to marry them. More horrifyingly, a woman of any age cannot be examined by a male doctor, and with women unable to work the Taliban have essentially destroyed women's health care. Girls also cannot go to school or university.
I can't fully explain the evil that the Taliban have inflicted upon the female population of Afghanistan or other countries and areas occupied by them. Their treatment of everybody is obviously disgusting, but their complete disregard of half of their species is abominable.

I can think of many other cases similar to this awful oppression of women, all of them being the reason I still believe strongly that this equality is so worth fighting for. Although, in this century where many think that the equality has already been reached believe that by calling myself a feminist and making these points and statements about sexism and oppression that I'm just a righteous bitch moaning and whining about something that is age old and not worth talking about anymore. It's not age old and it certainly still is worth talking about. I don't care what some of my peers may think of me for being this passionate about the subject, or that some find it unattractive, or why the hell do I even care because I'm only 14 and most of these issues don't effect me anyway? Those people aren't worth thinking about, and some are even the reason I can still call myself a feminist. Because there's still a lot out there to fight against.

I don't want to make this piece angry and off-putting and place myself right in the middle of the stereotypical category of feminists, all raging and anti-men. That's not who I am, who I am is passionate about anti-inequality. On one hand, it's not a light subject and it is quite easy for someone like me to become overly ardent about expressing the issues. But on the other hand, if as a teenage girl I want to portray to people and make them understand that this is important then I have to do it in a way that won't discourage them and make them see me as just a moody cow who doesn't see the fun in life.

I want to be known as a feminist, I want to encourage others, boy or girl, to also be feminist and to want to fight for equality. I want to see as I grow up my belief in this right to be equal with everyone become closer to being true. I want let all the women before be like the suffragettes know that what they fought for so bravely will not be forgotten until it is fully and properly achieved. I'm not a righteous bitch, I'm just 14 years old and I want to make a difference in the world. Even if it's subtly and quietly, I want to know that I supported the belief in equality and hopefully, one day, see it happen.