This week I am delighted to welcome Jess Helicopter to share her thoughts on feminism. I am new to Jess’s blog, Mrs Helicopter Writes, but I am already hooked. I love the way she writes. Her posts are fun to read but she is also fond of a good moan too. A girl after my own heart! Over to Jess.
Feminism is Changing. And it’s All Good.
I really became aware of what Feminist meant when I was at Uni. I never felt like boys and girls weren’t completely equal and to think otherwise would have been absurd. But now I had a name for it. So then I decided to do a gender studies course and it confirmed that yes indeed, I was a feminist. However, this was the mid-90s. It was the 3rd wave of feminism…. what I learnt about feminism then intimidated me. So much so that I never felt confident actually saying I was feminist in public, lest I be interrogated about my beliefs and forced to account for my make-up wearing, men shagging, leg shaving, patriarchy-kowtowing ways! I wasn’t able to articulate why I was interested in being attractive to the opposite sex. I certainly didn’t feel brave enough to try and defend myself to the bare-faced, hairy, natural-fibre clad, Birkenstock-wearing, uber feminists!
Feminist at this point very much seemed like a militant, all-in-or nothing stand point. And even though I agreed with it wholeheartedly, I wasn’t prepared to come out as one! I was 19 and I was not ready!
That was until the 4th Wave, which started a few years ago (by now, my mid 30s). The emergence of social media in our everyday lives has means that people are much braver in what they “put out there”. You have the edit / delete function. You can craft your arguments much more succinctly and articulately than when you’re sat in a lecture hall or a class room. So women have been starting to say, more and more, “No! This is STILL not OK!” We still have a massive gender divide in our society. We still have unequal pay, we still have victim-blaming, slut-shaming rape culture, disfiguring a woman is seen as acceptable in Afghanistan if she attempts to go to college, Women aren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, Female Genital Mutilation STILL EXISTS. The reasons are sadly endless for why feminism is still a very much a conversation we need to have.
But. Saying that. I have friends who don’t want to call themselves feminist. They don’t like the word. They think it’s associated with extremism…bra-burning, man hating anger. Which, in the 60s and 70s it was a bit. But then in the 60s and 70s, women were angry! The distinction between how the sexes were treated was stark. Things have definitely improved in terms of equality since then. We have a long way to go but things are definitely changing. The face of feminism is changing. People want to be seen as “equalists” not one favouring one over another. My answer to that is this. For time in memoriam the pendulum has swung in favour of men. That pendulum has to swing back the other way before it settles in the middle. That’s part of why we have women only events, awards, grants etc. Where are the men-centric equivalent? NB: see all of history!
But thanks to the likes of Caitlin Moran, Sali Hughes, Lauren Laverne, Lena Dunham, even flipping Beyoncé, people are talking about Feminism more and more. It’s becoming much more of normal thing to call yourself feminist. Modern feminism isn’t concerned with what you wear, who you sleep with, or what you look like. We aren’t saying we are superior! We are saying, just budge up and give us room at the table!
My outlook on this definitely changed, not just as I got older and more confident (the bonus of ageing to counter those wrinkles… you care less about them!). But having kids has made me see the world through their eyes too and, more importantly, the future. I don’t want my daughter to be faced with a future where her only options are pink and sparkly and I sure as hell don’t want my son growing up thinking mummies are domestic slaves and it’s OK to do a cheeky rape if you’re all drunk, especially cos she was wearing a mini skirt! No way.
We need to keep this momentum going, this sisterhood which is emerging across the social media world. We need to keep spreading the word, it’s OK to be feminist! It’s GOOD to be feminist! We’ve all got your back!
Thank you Jess. I can really relate to what Jess says about her perspective changing after she had kids. After kids I became even more passionate about feminism. It is also GOOD to be reminded that being a feminist is amazing and that we need to carry on spreading the word. Get out there everyone: let’s spread the word.
Jess is a wine-addled, social media tart, feminist and chronic over sharer. She lives in Cardiff with her husband, children (Gus-6/Joni 3) and some cats. Went to art school but after graduation got sucked into working for “the man”. Now trying to claw her creative way out by fancying herself as a bit of writer. May be a bit deluded.
You can find Jess:
- Writing at Mrs Helicopter Writes
- Twittering on Twitter at Jess Helicopter
- Sharing pictures on Instagram
We need you!
We are the real face of feminism. We are reclaiming it and redefining it. Yes, we might have children but we can still be a feminist. Us mothers want our voices to be heard too. We are part of the feminist movement. We want to be seen and heard! The Mother Feminist series is inviting all of you to share what feminism means to you:
- Do you like the term feminism?
- What does feminism mean to you?
- Do you call yourself a feminist?
- Has your outlook on feminism changed post-children?
I want to hear your opinions, ideals and feminist role-models. If you would like to get involved then please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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