So, 2013 is a wrap. On the subject of rap-songs, I learnt that my mother knows the entire lyrics to Charmaine by Plan B; whilst this is worrying, I am grateful for my inherited ability in this. My final night out of the year was New Years’ Eve, which involved the invasion of my personal space by approximately one million ‘gurning’ people; drugs are not cool. On a positive note, it was a fabulous night with my best pals; the people who put up with me regularly. I prefer plans to resolutions, so for this year, I have decided I will embark on a 10-day summer adventure to Israel and expand my horizons behind some decent sunglasses.
At roughly 02:35 on 1st January 2014, my best friend turned to me and said something really quite out of character (she is a very accepting woman). ‘Erica, I think I’m a feminist now. I hate all penises.’ Now, overlooking the incorrect use of the plural for the word penis, and the phallocentric description of her feeling; it seems 2014 wants to greet me with the feminist debate. I would like to point out that she was incredibly angry about the 7907382058402 men that refuse to look where they are going in nightclubs. This is not an apology for feminism, but for the reasons it was expressed.
Upon considering this, it appears many women begin their feminist journey with anger towards men. This is not what feminism is. Feminism is commonly misconceived as man-hating, when it is simply the want of equal treatment for both sexes. When revising for my oral dissertation exam, I had to confront my views on Mary Wollstonecraft’s debate. If you don’t know who she is, you should probably google her, immediately. Luckily after managing to mistake the computer rooms for the archives in Hackney, I got my shit together. The ‘forgotten feminist’ argued for equal education for boys and girls, and acknowledged a double standard; what is seen as virtuous in men is not what is seen as virtuous in women. This was in 1792.
Fast-forward to 2014. Women are educated with and working alongside men. ‘Feminism isn’t needed anymore.’ Bullshit. Sexism has confronted me more times recently than I want to acknowledge. The BBC news featured the debate on banknotes; to replace Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill would result in the only female printed being the queen. In combination with this near-miss, popular media has delivered some hideous comments lately. On Celebrity Big Brother, one contestant openly admitted to being chauvinistic, like this is okay. Another made comments such as ‘women are not sexually equal to men’; fantastic. Unfortunately many tweets responded in favor of these comments, citing any women who were against these comments as ‘justifying their own sexual behavior’. These tweets were written by both sexes. Clearly, what is seen as virtuous in men is still not what is seen as virtuous in women. 222 years later.
With Lily Allen criticized for the ‘racism’ her Hard out Here video portrayed, her message of the problems of inequality was ignored. To further my mood on the subject, I learnt that women essentially work for free between the beginning of November and the New Year due to the pay-gap. Still think feminism isn’t needed? If you take one thing from this column; Feminism is not the hatred of men. Men are great, what I don’t like is inequality. Shall we stop that, along with drugs, this New Year? Dry January should be replaced with non-High January; wine is very good and far less likely to kill you. Deep-tissue massages are even better, until your masseuse asks you about your deadlines. Rant over.