It took many, many years for me to realise that I had always been aware of gender discrimination.
And yet, somehow, presently, I am finding it hard to define this in a few words.
To directly quote one of my best friends Johnny when I posed this problem to him:
“Women are systematically discriminated against in every aspect of society, and yet its confusing how to express opposition to it, mindfuck eh?”
So why is it so hard to pinpoint exactly why we need feminism?
Because it affects every single one of us, in every single turn and facet of our lives.
Not just women. All of us.
We live in a society that teaches girls all the tips and tricks to not get raped, instead of teaching boys not to rape.
We live in a society that mourned the loss of two american high school students “promising football careers” after they were convicted of sexual assault.
We live in a society where the rape of a young girl was widely mocked online after images were released of her after the attack.
We live in a society where sex education on the national curriculum (UK) does not cover the topic of consent.
We live in a society where, when rape is reported, the victim is asked what she was wearing.
We live in a society where male rape goes largely unreported for fear of shame.
We live in a society that still expects men to be the sole breadwinner of a household, allowing only 2 weeks paternity leave before going back to work and missing precious time with their family- whilst women are expected to choose between family or career.
We live in a society that has to be reminded “she is someone’s mother, daughter, sister, wife”, rather than just accepting that she is someone. She is human.
We live in a society where women are more scrutinised for taking nude photos than the hackers who invade their privacy and distribute them.
We live in a society where Female Genital Mutilation is illegal and the subject of many campaigns- and yet still occurs. Yet male circumcision is still common practise.
We live in a society where only 4% of the artists in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art are female, yet 76% of the nudes are female.
We live in a generation where I have learned more about my own rights, and the discrimination of women worldwide, from an online revolution, than any national curriculum.
We live in a society where “maternity risk” is a legitimate term used in telling women why they have not been hired.
We live in a world where, this year alone, 300 Nigerian girls were abducted and sold into sex trafficking because “education for women is evil”, a girl got stabbed after saying “no” to going to prom with a boy, and a self-proclaimed “supreme gentleman” went on a mass murdering rampage because women didn’t want to sleep with him.
We live in a society where males are more concerned about reminding everyone that “not ALL men are rapists/murderers/abusers” than showing solidarity and support for the victims of those men who are.
We live in a society which is more concerned as to why women stay in abusive relationships than why men are abusing women.
So, there are many reasons why I am unashamedly, loudly, brashly feminist. For myself. For my friends, family and loved ones. For the society I live in. For the society I do not live in. For humans worldwide. I am a feminist, and I will never, ever stop shouting.
Illustration by Box Pony
Wordsby Sian Irvine of Ultravenus Zine