Let's talk about feminism

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm a big and proud feminist. I talk about it all the time, whether that's in my daily life or in posts on social media as it's something close to my heart, and something that we all need to embrace more so we can change the injustice and the lack of equality in the world - and smash the patriarchy together.

Feminist quote Maya Angelou

Feminism to this day is a taboo topic and I still get dirty looks, especially from men when I say I'm a feminist but I believe that's because there is a lack of education to what it actually is, what it means, and how the movement is there to help everyone, especially minority groups.

What is feminism?

Feminism is a broad term but to put it simply, the word feminism means the equality of women and men, and for women to have the same rights and privileges that men do in society. It's a term that is often branded as 'man hating', which isn't true in the slightest. The feminist movement was put in place to liberate women and give them the freedom, options, and choices that men already have in society.

Why is feminism so important?

I really wish writing this in 2021 that feminism wasn't needed anymore as by now, I would have expected the issues to be less and for women to have more equality across the world but sadly, that's not the case. And this is the main reason why feminism is so important.

The movement of feminism is important today as women are still oppressed and seen as second-class citizens all over the world, including the UK. When you look at things like healthcare, sexual assault stats, the education system, reproductive rights, the expectations put on women, the gender pay gap, arranged marriages, and even the lack of diversity in top organisations, then it becomes apparent how important it is to fight for the rights of women and other minority groups.

Feminism is so important because it's the fighting force and a movement working towards women becoming equal to their male counterparts. It's important so women can have full control over their bodies. It's important so women have the choice for their future and to follow their goals. It's important so women can get the justice they deserve. It's important so young and impressional girls/teens have role models like themselves in power as representation matters. It's important so women can be exactly who they want to be.

Examples of misogynistic behaviour in society:

Everyone should be a feminist and if you're not, you're sexist, it's as simple as that. If you don't believe women and men deserve to be viewed as equals then you're a complete misogynist. However, a lot of misogynistic behaviour isn't just lary and sexist men harassing women on the streets and only seeing them as sexual objects, it's also internalised misogyny that society has taught us from a young age.

Like all the things we've been conditioned to growing up, unlearning misogynistic behaviour and thoughts is so important so we don't project those views on our female counterparts, even if we don't realise we're doing it. Here are a few examples of misogynistic behaviour:

  • Sexual harassment and violence against women - This goes without saying, but misogynistic men will control women when in a relationship as they see them as less than themselves. They'll put their sexual pleasure first, they'll put them down in any situation possible and make them feel less. Sexual harassment is hugely misogynistic as men or those performing it will only see women as sexual objects, hence their actions.
  • Mildly misogynistic language - The language we use every day may seem meaningless but it's impactful in the long run. For instance when we say things like 'man up', it promotes the idea that men are strong and women are weak. Or when things are deemed as 'girly', it's always made out to be a bad or weak thing just because it's associated with women.
  • Overly sexualised language towards women - Sexualised language is never okay but women always seem to get the brunt of it being branded as 'sluts' or 'whore', and it paints us in a shameful manner.
  • Objectification of women based on how they look - Women are always blamed for what we are wearing, we can never dress right as we'll still be objectified. Whether it's by being catcalled in the street when we're in jeans or photos being taken of us when we're in a bikini, our bodies can never just be viewed as bodies but always as sexual objects. Everywhere we look, women's bodies are objectified from headlines to teenage girls being told to not 'show their shoulders as it distracts boys' at school.
  • Criticism of women's sex lives but not men's - This one has become more apparent as I've gotten older. But men are always praised by how many people they've slept with, whereas women are seen as less and shamed for it - and it makes us 'undesirable'.
  • 'Feminism' considered a negative term - How many times have you said I'm a feminist and you receive negative comments or looks? It has happened to me way too many times as standing up for women's rights is still seen as a bad thing, and an unnecessary thing, as a lot of misogynists don't want women to have their place in society. They would rather we stayed in the background than let our voices be heard.
  • Jokes about sexual abuse towards women - Rape jokes make me feel sick and are not okay in any instance, yet in lad culture, they are normalised. These types of jokes are what stop women from coming forward for the sexual abuse they've experienced.
  •  Pink tax - A more systematic problem is pink tax, gender-based pricing, which is an upcharge for products intended for women. This can be across any cosmetic style product including razors - that's why women's razors always cost more than men's.

How can we be better feminists?

I'm not a perfect feminist in any way and every day I learn something new on how I can do better and how I can continue to be an activist. Nobody is the perfect feminist but there are many things we can do to grow as people and strive to reach towards the goal of equality and dismantling the patriarchy. 

Read feminist literature 

There are two things I mean by this. Firstly, read feminist literature that teaches us about feminism, what there is to know, and how we can do better as a society by standing up for the rights of others and being an ally. There are many books that I love for this including Invisible Women (a mind-blowing read), The Guilty Feminist, Women Don't Owe You Pretty and Feminist's Don't Wear Pink and Other lies.

I also mean to read more books by minority authors including women, people of colour, those from the LGBTQ+ community, and generally support their work, to learn more about their perspective, through their words.

Educate yourself further

Education is key to being a better feminist as there is always something new to learn. Other than books, there are many ways to educate yourself further with being a better feminist including podcasts like The Guilty Feminist (my favourite), reading blogs, scrolling through social media, and listening/reading about women's stories. Social media especially has become a prime source of knowledge these days with most people gravitating towards it to find out information - so I would suggest following relevant accounts that work towards helping women's rights and fighting the patriarchy.

Be an ally

This is mainly directed towards the men, but being an ally towards women and helping them reach the goal of equality is what we need. Most men don't listen to women and that's why it's up to men to make other men listen and aid us in giving women a voice more. It's also up to women, those more of privilege, whether that's your status in society and race to be an ally in giving more minority groups the opportunity to amplify their voices.

We all need to support each other on the journey to equality and being an ally is the first step to that.

Spread awareness

Continuing with education and being an ally, spreading awareness is key. It's important to share women's issues in any way we can to normalise, destigmatise and help women  - so all the negative and horrid things that are happening towards women on a daily basis can lessen, and be stopped in the long run. 97% of women have been sexually harassed and that needs to change.

Start a conversation with your family and friends

One way to spread awareness is by talking to the people you have around you and starting that conversation with feminism. It's those awkward and hard conversations that can really help change people's views and help them understand what feminism is all about and why it's needed.

Unlearn misogynistic language

Unfortunately, misogynistic language is used far too often, from mild terms to full-on objectification of women. The mild terms I would say are something ingrained in a lot of us as we've been conditioned to that way of thinking our whole lives and it's that we need to unlearn. When you notice yourself using or thinking about it, make a mental note. And, when you're around others doing it, point out an explanation why it shouldn't be said.

Be inclusive

Feminism is a movement to liberate women, that's what it has always been about. However, feminism is a fight against the patriarchy, which is a system generally build in favour of men but that doesn't mean it only has a negative effect on women. Be inclusive in how you think, how you act, trying to push forward the voices and storied of minority groups including women. But, also consider that the patriarchy can affect what men do and what it does for them. 

The thing about feminism it isn't about hating on all men, it's about stopping men from treating women how they do and that's all a result of the patriarchy. If we all come together and see it for what it is and treat each other like equals then the world will be a better place. 

Amplify women's voices

If you see a woman sharing her story on social media, share it on yours, it's that simple. Every chance you get to see where a woman wants to be heard, try and help her by amplifying her voice. The only way to make women's voices heard and to give us a voice in society is to create noise and push them forward.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

I've also written posts about consent, diet culture, sustainability and privilege, and thin privilege if you'd like to read more about those topics.

Thank you for reading <3

55 comments

  1. yes to all this! I always find your posts to be one of the places where I can learn more about feminisms and have the books you mentioned already on my reading list! As you said there's so much we can do and so much that still needs to be done, but education and being inclusive are keys to it x

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    1. Thank you so much, that means a lot!! I hope you like the books x

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  2. Yes to all of this! We have come so far in our fight for equality but there is still so much more to be done. There are still so many micro aggressions that women face and especially in African communities ! But we will get there as long as we are continuing the conversations, learning and keeping each other and those around us accountable to being allies !

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  3. Completely agree with everything here! I also get odd looks when telling people that I'm a feminist, that's why I've started using the term 'equalist' to explain what feminism is. It seems to really help people understand before jumping to conclusions x

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  4. This is so nice, I find it very hard to talk about feminism for some reason. I love the term equality, I feel like people are much more comfortable with this wording and that helps understand feminism much better. You literally said it all!

    I don't know how much time it took you to put your thoughts into these words but this post is very inspiring and I absolutely love it. Thank you for writing this, you wrote for all of us.

    Inna | https://thedaiilysunlight.blogspot.com/

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  5. Love this! I really recommend reading some Gloria Steinem for a really inspiring insight into feminism of the past :) thank you for sharing your thoughts x

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    1. Thank you! Oooh I'll look into her, thanks for the recommendation x

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  6. I'll never understand why some people think "feminism" is a negative term. And don't even get me started on the people who say it should be called "humanism." If we had a more equal society to begin with, we wouldn't need to specify fighting for women's rights!

    Great post xx

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  7. Feminism is never a negative term and I hate people who judge for saying that we're feminists! A great read Della x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

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  8. This is such a good post! It's insane how many people think being a feminist means hating men!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  9. Great post! Feminism is so misunderstood. I agree; you would think we wouldn't still have to talk about this in 2021, but I feel like it's never going away. I would like to think it will, but I don't know. It's hard to undo thousands of years of oppression in only 50 years or so. I do hope that my daughter and others of her generation aren't seen as extreme or man-haters for being feminists.
    Heidi
    www.reallifeoflulu.com

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  10. THIS THIS THIS! I love this post SO MUCH Della. The first thing that jumped to mind was Sarah Everard's case - it's a prime example of how even in the UK even in big ole 2021, feminism is still JUST as important x

    mia // https://beautiful-inspiring-creative-life.com/

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  11. Hi Della, WHAT an incredible post!! I loved reading every minute of it! I totally agree about sharing other woman's stories! It's so important. Thanks for sharing such a great read, Alicia

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  12. YES DELLA!!! This post is everything! I try to be an ally to all females and to those males who support feminism. In my experience, it's still rife to be anti-women and derogatory in the work place. My previous job was like a big boy's playground, I was in the minority and my God was I made to feel like it. I proved myself and earned my stripes but I also worked my butt off!

    Rosie

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    1. Thank you so much lovely! Oh my god, that sounds awful - go on you xx

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  13. It can be a bit frustrating when some people get upset at the idea of feminism because they clearly don't understand what it actually means. This is a great breakdown of how we can all get involved with feminism -- thanks for sharing!

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  14. I have had people get made at me for talking about feminism and I had people just don’t agree with it. It’s interesting when someone may be intimidated or don’t understand sometimes they will immediately talk bad about it. Thank for sharing this great information about feminism.

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  15. Such a great post, Della! Feminism, I think, should be talked about more at a primary age level. It's such an important topic that gets brushed off. Thanks so much for sharing x

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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    1. Thank you so much and I completely agree with you xx

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  16. Such a great post. It's easy to forget or not realise how many sexist things happen every single day, even if it's just a comment here and there about sex life etc. Feminism is such an important issue that should definitely be talked about at a young age x

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  17. I have never heard of Pink Tax but I am appalled by it! Such things ought not exist, so I love that you take your own advice and are speaking out. Unlearning misogynistic language has been the hardest part for me; it is embedded in my system. Being aware of it has helped me start catching it and use different expressions.
    Thanks so much for sharing a powerful read!

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    1. Thank you lovely! I agree unlearning language is so hard xx

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  18. love this so much! Simply inequalities that everyone takes for granted is the issue! A discussion definitely needs to be had for anything to change!

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  19. Great post! I really enjoyed reading this, and completely agree with everything you've said here. Thanks for sharing!

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  20. Love this post so much! Spreading awareness is so important so this post is amaze!

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  21. Love this! I completely agree with all of this - there's still such a long way to go and spreading awareness is so important! Thanks so much for writing about it, this really needed to be said xx

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  22. It grinds my gears that Feminism is STILL taboo. There's far too many "jokes" made still, we are still looked at like there's something wrong with us, like the word Feminism is "dirty". Thank you for sharing and speaking up about this.

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  23. Feminists have such a bad reputation, like anything the minority of man haters or people using feminism as a front for their own agenda are what is being seen as representing all feminists, I have always been wary to identify myself as a feminist because of the negatives that are associated with it, thanks for sharing x

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    1. Literally that! Embrace your feminist status and be proud xx

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  24. I love that you have posted this and how you have exlained feminism! It gets so much misconception of what it is really about. Great tips in this post too.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

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  25. Amazing post, as always Della! I've just reserved a few feminist books from the library and can't wait to read. Love the tips too xx

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  26. I really enjoyed this post and agree that some don’t understand the meaning of feminism. I even get push back from other women we are speaking about it. Thank you for your detailed post on the subject.

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  27. As soon as I read the title, I knew it was going to be a post I would love. You've mentioned some great points and helpful tips. We all learn from our upbringing and I feel its down to us to change things so the future generation don't believe that there is any difference between men and women in society.

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  28. I completely agree with everything you've said here! Fantastic post! As you say, it's sad in this day and age that it's still a taboo topic, but you've given some great tips here.

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  29. Thank you for sharing this it's so important to understand what feminism means in the 21st century and now how to deal with people that don't understand it, I'm fed up of people been rude about it all :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

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  30. Thank you for sharing this! I'm a proud feminist but also get negative reactions when I say it and it's due to extremists that focus on hating men.
    Feminism is needed across the globe, we've made strides but we still have a far way to go

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