Saturday, 6 December 2014

Blogmas 6: Why I Need Feminism

The other day my university's Feminist Society were doing a whiteboard campaign where you had to write why you need feminism. I spent most of my morning trying to figure out what I wanted to write, and came up with a tonne of ideas.

I Need Feminism Because...
My body, my choice.
Cat Calling =/= Compliment.
My smile is not your possession. 
I deserve the same opportunities as my male friends.
I deserve the same pay as my male colleagues.
No never means Yes.
Men shouldn't be taught that the worst thing they can be is a girl.
My gender is not an insult.
It's 2014, so I shouldn't need feminsim.

The list could go on. And, as I said, it shouldn't have to. Who'd have thought that in 2014 we would still be fighting for gender equality?

This all feels particularly important considering that this month ElleUK released their Feminism Issue. Although it is actually pretty good as far as what it is saying - lots of powerful women and relatively inter-sectional (albeit majority white, with very little disability and 'plus-size' representation) - it got me wondering: why isn't every issue of ElleUK a feminism issue? Elle is a magazine written for a female audience - surely every issue should be promoting feminist causes? I was also somewhat confused by the number of (specifically straight white male) voices in the issue. I am all for male allies to the feminist cause, and I'm a huge supporter of the #HeForShe campaign, but in an issue that claims to privilege women it uses a lot of male opinion.

Next month is their Body Confidence Issue, and I'm curious too see how they go about tackling it, considering how prescriptive the fashion industry is about body image.

Here is the final slogan I decided on:

I need feminism because when I wear make-up I wear it for me.
I thought this was particularly appropriate because of the high content on beauty posts on this blog. I love make-up, and over the last year it has become a real passion of mine. I've had a number of discussions with various people who have said to me that 'boys prefer girls who wear less make-up' and I've found this really insulting. Not only does it reduce me to the value men place on my looks, but it also devalues my autonomy. When I apply make-up in the morning, I do it because it gives me peace and the confidence to face the day. I used to be concerned about going out without make-up, and if I have the choice I'll always put a little mascara, concealer and fill my brows, but I don't mind leaving the house without any on. I'm also very aware that I don't need the amount of make-up I put on my face to make me 'conventionally attractive' - I'm already white, of average height and weight so I tick all of those boxes. I apply make-up because it's a process I get a lot of enjoyment out of, and because I like the way I look with it on, regardless of what men might think of me.

Sorry if that got a little ranty at the end, but its something I feel very passionately about.

Tomorrow's post will be a beauty one as promised.

Let me know why you need feminism by tweeting me @VickiMaitland or leaving a comment below.

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