We all have things or situations that we’re a little scared of. Mine seem to go through phases. At one point the dentist, then flying, then the dentist again,...
Feminism is back but not as you know it.
No longer is it the odd woman or shouty activist. It’s sexier, more fun. Dare I say it, cool. It’s Taylor Swift in Shake It Up and Angelina Jolie in her work at the UN. It’s men and women. Stay at home Mums and high-flying execs. And with this latest rise comes something even more exciting than the word itself – it’s getting women talking.
Talking about things that are exciting and relevant and for too long, have been taboo. Feminism is not going to solve all of these issues but it’s enough that it’s getting people to open up and share experiences. That women no longer have to feel alone or that they’ll be ostracised for having feelings or thoughts that are completely natural, or for wanting something different that doesn’t fit the social norm of a straight relationship with a husband and two kids. Most importantly, to help women see that they are not alone.
And this is only the beginning. Here are the 7 things that I predict Feminism is going to get women talking about over the next few years:
If you haven’t yet seen it, About Time Magazine recently released a spin off called ‘AFT Mag’, a little sister publication about sex. AFT Mag (which aptly stands for About F****** Time magazine), is the first of its kind, in that it’s a sex magazine created by women for women. It is delicious. I wish I’d thought of it first. And I have no doubt that women will flock there. The fact that we’ve had to get to 2014 without a proper outlet that acknowledges that yes, women do like sex and are sexual beings, is crazy. I’m excited to see what’s next for them but one thing I am sure of, is that this is only the beginning and over the next few years we will see this market boom.
Getting women openly talking about sex and acknowledging that it should be as much about them as their partner, will be one of the greatest empowerments that feminism can produce. To get women discussing that the main reason Kimmy K’s booty image was so disturbing was because of the proportion of arse to waist, not because she once had a child and therefore can’t be a sexual being, will be a revelation. Equality is multi-faceted but gaining equality in the bedroom is arguably as important as gaining equality in the workplace or anywhere else and this is why, women should be talking about it more.
Rape is a difficult subject to discuss due to its very nature, but this doesn’t mean we should shy away from it. The reason why the lines are so blurred and yes Robin Thicke they are, just not in the way you know it, is because for so long, rape has been the subject of taboo. Hushed under the carpet, undermined by feeble excuses and laws and primarily, defined within a system created by men. This has made women vulnerable and conviction rates low, for far too long. It is the reason why convicted footballers are almost allowed to return to fame despite being charged, why many victims are told they were ‘asking for it’, or why in many countries around the world, it’s not yet illegal. So one thing feminism will be hailing is talking about rape, to allow women to define it, say it and more importantly, receive justice every time it occurs. Any man or woman who is against rape should similarly be for feminism – if it gets us talking then ‘feminist’ is a title every decent human being needs.
Relationships between women
The fact that the description for this one has been more difficult to define, says it all. The relationships between women are often magical, inspiring, supportive things that help us to get through the day. But as much as they are empowering and uplifting, they can also be manipulative and cruel. Many of the behaviours we learnt in the playground, we carry through to adulthood, too many of which, involve belittling other women to make ourselves feel better. It’s the behaviours which lead us to call a female boss ‘a bitch’ and the woman who gets with our boyfriend ‘a slut’. It’s the cruel remarks we use to undermine success or something great happening to a friend, in order to make ourselves feel better about our own lives. This is something we need to address and with this wave of feminism it looks as though it could be happening. As I mentioned in a previous post, women are beginning to champion other women, publicly and in a way that leaves the Daily Mail scrabbling for bitchy comments to cover. The most powerful women currently in the media, the Lenas, the Caras and the Taylors seem to be channeling this brand of ‘sisterhood’ and I can only hope that feminism is the vehicle which carries it on down to the masses.
Or more likely, not having children. A woman’s choice to have a child should be solely her own. How many she has, when she has them, who she has them with, should all be personal choices but for many years, society has taken it upon itself to tell us what the ‘right’ way should be. Firstly, fixating on early twenties or late teens as being ‘too young’ and lately, focusing on early or late thirties as being ‘too old’. The only thing that should define when you have a child should be your own mind and possibly, your ovaries. Other than that, it’s no one elses business and hopefully, this is something that feminism will help the world to realise.
Again, a completely personal choice between a woman, her body and potentially her partner (but again, not always), that shouldn’t be judged by anyone outside of the situation. If you read any of ultimate-feminist Caitlin Moran’s work, you will have heard her discuss her choice to have an abortion. She doesn’t sugarcoat it but she also doesn’t make any assumptions about whether it is a right or wrong decision for any woman outside of herself, in that very specific situation, to make. This is the way we should all discuss difficult decisions such as the choice to have an abortion – in light of our own personal experiences and our personal experiences alone. Judging other women on their own experiences is futile and one of the behaviours that has contributed to the subject of abortion still remaining a taboo subject in 2014. The fact that Caitlin was so bold as to discuss her decision publicly, when other celebrities and public figures told her they would not, suggests that feminism is on the way to helping us get there.
Mental health issues affect men and women and it is a subject that needs to be addressed by all genders and every society. Throughout the last few years at least, there seems to have been a slight breakthrough, with Mind and various other mental health charities doing some great work to raise awareness and offer support. But there is still a way to go. The Mental Health foundation states that about a quarter of the population will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year. This means that you will undoubtedly have a friend or family member who’s a sufferer throughout the course of your life. Would you know how to help them? Or even recognise their symptons? The trouble with mental health, is that it’s a hidden illness and one that many of us are still reluctant to discuss. For too many years, it has been associated as a particularly female disposition – remember the 19th century woman who got locked up for being a bit outside of the norm? Yup, society is still channeling her in the 21st century. If you don’t believe me, just look at the way the media depicts Britney Spears and Amanda Byrnes. If feminism can contribute to equality, it will also go someway to helping us recognise that mental health is not a particularly ‘female’ trait and therefore can affect anyone, at any time. And this, in turn, will help both men and women, to get the support they need in order to battle one of the most evil illnesses out there.
This is happening. People are saying ‘enough already!’ to street harassment and catcalling and are making videos to open the world’s eyes to just how often this is STILL going on. And it has been mindblowing. However, the brave woman who made one of the original catcalling videos is now being exposed to threats of rape. Many men, and women, are responding by trying to justify what counts as ‘harassment’ when someone you don’t know approaches you and tries to talk to you and at you, as you go about your day. And women are still experiencing street harassment and catcalls, which later turns into violence, aggression and sexual harassment. Feminism, again, will not single handedly solve this issue, but it will make it easier for women to talk about it. To say that yes, they are entitled to share the same street as men and walk alone late at night, without having to talk to, or entertain, anyone they don’t know. Without the fear of threat or anything else.
Feminism is exciting and it’s unexclusive. Anyone is invited and above all else, it stands as an umbrella for change in every sense of the word, in order to help get women, and the world, talking. Will you join the conversation?
What else do you think or hope that feminism will get the world talking about more? Comment below and tell us your thoughts.
Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.
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