It seems like these days to be a feminist, you have to be angry. And not just about the women’s rights issues that you are particularly personally passionate about, you have to be angry about ev-ery-thing. Thems the rules if you want to be the new, liberal cool kind of girl (or guy) standing up for her (or his) sisters.
Declaring yourself a feminist these days means you are labelling yourself as a certain kind of person: burning your bra has moved onto social media and blogs, online petitions and viral content. Most feminists no longer protest outside but instead promote their views on the more public, if more anonymous, platform that is the world-wide web.
But I’m here to tell you something girls: you don’t have to be outraged by every last little thing to be a feminist. You don’t have to jump on all the bandwagons to prove yourself to be a strong, independent woman who can and will stand up for the rights of her fellow human being.
I agree when others describe me as a feminist because it is true, in principle. I’m not the man-hating cliché, I am a strong, opinionated woman – but my feminist ideals lie in the fact that I want equality for all. If we have an equal society here, in the more developed parts of the world, that means that women who are living in societies where they have been stripped of all basic human rights will see that there is a better life for them. That things can and should change.
But that’s not just a female right – the same goes for any vulnerable or oppressed sector of society. No one should be made to feel a victim for their simple act of being.
Back to the topic at hand: as I mentioned above, I am a girl who is not afraid to voice her opinions – but it seems these days that to be accepted by the digital feminists as one of their own, you really do have to get angry about a lot of things, feeling the same level of frustration as the unknown mass.
Take the recent loss and return of Page 3 in The Sun newspaper. Topless models with intellectual thought bubbles were replaced by paparazzi shots of women in bikinis for a day, then normal service resumed – and throughout it all I had no opinion on the matter whatsoever.
I don’t care that it went, I don’t care that it’s back. Yes, it is a little outdated in the context of the world today, but does it really matter to me? No. Did the models consent to the photos? Yes. Did they get paid to have them taken? I don’t doubt it. Are sexualised photos appropriate for children to see in a so-called “family” newspaper? Well, no, probably not, but to those parents letting their kids read The Sun – hand them a Roald Dahl novel instead, his books made my childhood.
Yas Necati from the No to Page 3 campaign has said that when you read The Sun, “you see images of men doing things – running the country, achieving in sport – whereas the most prominent image of a woman is one where she is sexually objectified”.
I see her point, very very clearly – and don’t get me wrong, I do agree with her that the lack of positive press about women in one of Britain’s biggest newspapers is wrong. But when it comes to sexist issues surely there’s other matters we should tackle before the sexy pics? Wouldn’t it be better if, rather than replacing the topless photos with bikini snaps, reporters worked on finding more stories about women in the first place, putting the women in charge as prominently as the men?
And that’s all I really have to say on the matter, which in truth is not a lot at all – but that doesn’t make me any less of a woman, or a feminist.