5 Reasons Why You Should Be A Feminist

This month is Women’s History Month and it was International Women’s Day on the 8th of March. The FXU has been celebrating International Women’s Week this past week with a series of talks and events to get us all to discuss feminism; I thought that this was the perfect time to present to you my reasons on why that you should be a feminist.

1. It’s logical.

You would want your mum to be paid the same as your dad if they did the same job and worked the same hours, right? It makes sense that everyone, regardless of sex or gender or race (or all the other variables that are a part of our human idenity), should be paid the same wages for the same work; unfortunatel in most countries it simply is not the case. This is just one example of the kind of ridiculous things that happens because a few people with all the power think that there needs to be this kind of unfair treatment. Don’t try to defend the patriarchal systems just because you do not know any other way. Open yourself to the wider world and give yourself the opportunity to ask questions about the way we live our lives.

2. It shows you that you can stand up for what you believe in.

You are out for drinks with some friends-of-friends who you don’t know very well and after the awkward introductions, you end up talking about the news and politics. One of your new acquaintances quips: ‘What do the women really have to march about!?’ An uneasy silence falls, no one will quite meet their eyes, and then another person has not had the chance to see a different point of view and goes away believing the world will always be the same.  Don’t be a sheep, stand up for what you believe in! I’ve had long discussions about all sorts of things from the lack of women presenting prime-time gameshows on the BBC to LEGO Friends and the reasons why we need diverse toys. These might seem like trivial discussions but every single one can be useful in developing who you are as a feminist. You don’t have to shout people down or even convince them— you mainly need to make people aware that there are others who care about these matters and are willing to have the kind of constructive discussion to develop further.

3. You’ll be in great company.

Feminism has a history that seems to be dominated by white upper class suffragettes and whilst I am glad that they got stuck in in beginning to change the way society viewed women, you cannot build feminism on cis white women alone. We know about the Pankhursts but we do not often hear about suffragettes such as Sophia Duleep Singh, an Indian Princess who would lead demonstrations as much as her white associates. Unfortunately, I am still uncovering suffragettes and feminists who are not taught and talked about because of their gender and race, but with every single one that I do learn about I can see more clearly that feminism is not just for the few, but benefits everybody standing together.

4. There are so many ways to get involved.

The FXU has the Feminist Society who holds regular meetings that would be great to attend if you want to start to learn. There are, of course, nationwide organisations such as Fawcett (named after Millicent Garrett Fawcett who was part of the suffrage movement in the UK) and activist groups such as Sisters Uncut (who you might remember from when they protested cuts to domestic rights services at the premiere of the film Suffragette). If you don’t fancy jumping straight into protesting and meetings you can start by signing up to newsletters and reading up online to get yourself educated and uncovering the power of feminism.

5. Respect.

The main reason I believe in feminism is because I believe in respect. I believe in giving people the rights they deserve and need. I believe that regardless of gender, sexuality, race, ability, age (and all the other variables), that we all should have an equal chance; I believe that that is the respect we all deserve. It is about levelling the playing field, smashing those glass ceilings, and proving that we can achieve what we want. 

I know that believing in things like equal rights and pay can seem difficult in the politically turbulent times we live in, but if things can change for the worse then I wholeheartedly believe that they can certainly get better too.