Disclaimer: The contents of this post are based primarily on the general equal rights of women. I have not included every standing issue in society, one of which being the rights of the LGBT+ community, because otherwise I would be here for days. Feminism should be regarded as important by everyone as it really does cover EVERYTHING! Please enjoy.
For some people, Feminism is something of a tedious subject; “Oh really, are we still talking about that?!” and as a result they will block the whole subject from their mind. But I believe that it is almost always, all said and done in perfectly NORMAL naivety – occasionally there is also a large dash of ignorance added to the mix.
I have known since I was old enough to know the word that I was a Feminist, but more for the reason that it is heavily accepted for a woman to be a Feminist, as opposed to understand the full weight behind Feminism. I will admit without any shame that for years the true meaning of the word was a slight grey area for me, and I honestly couldn’t get my head around the gritty aspects of it. I always used to think; “Is everything still that bad for women?” and only recently have I begun to understand that, for all this time, I was just looking at the world from the seat of my secure, little bubble, whilst also donning a pair of rose-tinted glasses. Because yes; it really is still that bad.
Mary Wollstonecraft’s ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ was published in 1792, and in 1903, Emily Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (the Suffragette movement) That is a huge gap between one woman making a very bold and detailed claim about the lack of equality between men and woman, and another woman having the guts and ambition (despite what any man said) to go and do something about it; and it wasn’t easy. Women in the UK where unable to properly vote until 1928 (the gap between voice and action is still wide) and yet, women still had so many more hoops to jump through for equal rights. The journey still isn’t over.
Over the past week, I have been excitedly scribbling in Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’ and Simone De Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’; drinking in every word as they are both fantastically written books, and I wish that I could meet both of the women behind them. The most shocking revelation in my reading was not in my discovery of how women were treated and viewed by men in previous centuries (even though it was disgusting) but rather, in seeing how much still hasn’t changed – and women are haunted by it. Even today, women are viewed as being the inferior sex; marked professions such as ‘businessman’ or ‘policeman’ are essentially a fresh slap in the face every day.
Beauvoir boldly claimed in her conclusion of ‘The Second Sex’ that “…to carry off this supreme victory [female emancipation and freedom] men and women must, among other things and above their natural differentiations, unequivocally affirm their brotherhood.” In other words, progress can and will only happen if first men accept woman as their equals, and following that, woman accept men as theirs. ‘The Second Sex’ was published in 1949 and it really saddens me that in spite of everything, this standpoint on sexual equality is yet to be reached.
In ‘A Room of One’s Own’, Virginia Woolf ascertains that “Even allowing a generous margin for symbolism, [‘a woman must have money and a room of her own to write’] that five hundred a year stands for power to contemplate, that a lock on the door means the power to think for oneself…” Here she is highlighting just one of the many obstacles in which women have to overcome to (perhaps) be successful, according to her sex.
When you take a look at the wider picture in the present day, you could say that women do get their “five hundred a year” both in the figurative and literal sense, as do they have “a lock on the door”, YET (yes there is a negative) men somehow still manage to keep their title of ‘Number One Sex’ while women are the ‘Other Sex’. Let me say, that is not me making a huge, sweeping statement that men have no issues/ obstacles to overcome, because they do – sexism being just one example, but woman still have a much harder job, and can’t seem to break the chains of the ‘inferior sex’.
It is absolutely mind blowing to know that in 2016, we are ardently campaigning for equal pay for women and men. Seriously, shouldn’t equal pay just be a given by now? In all fairness, it shouldn’t even be up for debate, and yet somehow it is. Unless people (yes, I am deliberately using a very broad and inclusive term) have been sleeping under a rock for the past couple of hundred years, they will know that it is high time for the inevitable to be accepted; Feminism is still needed because equality is as necessary as breathing air and drinking water. Once that’s truly accepted, then we can work on destroying that mocking gap, and quickly.
Copyright: Laura Davis © 2016, all rights reserved.
Virginia Woolf, ‘A Room of One’s Own’, ISBN-13: 978-0-14-101898-0 Simone De Beauvoir, ‘The Second Sex’, ISBN 9781784870386
The image does not belong to me, and can be found here: httpsen.wikipedia.orgwikiSex_differences_in_humans