Wednesday, February 06, 2008

This is what a feminist looks like

This is what a feminist looks like.

Sitting in the midst of 'An Evening With Sylvia Plath' (almost) at the Southbank Centre a couple of months ago, I joked about my feminism whilst Dean cowered at the sight of so many militant! short haired! probably braless! women in the one room (obviously, I would like it noted, that I didn't fit into that group). Because I do joke about my feminism in the same manner I joke about my Drama-Queen-ness, or my competitive-ness, or my general ridiculous-ness. And it is one of my many, many beliefs that I can buy a pair of stupidly high shoes that I can hardly walk in and still be a feminist.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, today it's 90 years since women (over 30) gained the right to vote in Britain. I don't need to stress how far we've come since then but there is no way I subscribe to the idea that we're now in a period of history which can neatly be labelled 'post feminism'. There is, as Katherine Rake's interview in the Guardian points out, still, even here in a supposedly enlightened Britain, some way to go.

So why am I a feminist?

On average, women in Britain working full time are paid 17% less than men. For part time workers this rises to 36% less.

Only 20% of MPs are women. There is only one female judge in the high court.

A woman is a slag. A man is simply playing around.

There is a frightening statistic suggested by the organisers of V-Day that, worldwide, one in three women will be subject to violence at some point in their lives. Amnesty International actively has a campaign against this very issue.

Government sponsored discrimination against women (Morroco, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia...I could go on) makes women unequal in the law.

Over the past two decades rape has routinely been used as a weapon of war, often with almost complete impunity.

Abortion laws and a woman's right to chose are becoming more and more precarious throughout the world.

And because on the web, with very little irony or self awareness, you can find sites actively suggesting that to be a feminist equates you to being evil. And they would term 'feminist' as being any woman (for in their world a man cannot be a feminist)who does not equate themselves with being a doormat.

So that is - to name just a few of the reasons - why I'm not afraid to use the 'f' word.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Good for you, Corinne - there is still a long way to go, and people should realise that.

(Steve, Amnesty member, liberal bleeding heart)