I choose choice

2014-07-31-womensrights

Feminism is a very loaded word of late and has caused great controversy. Not within the labour force or in a political capacity, but between women from different supposed fractions. When I think of the word ‘Feminism’, I don’t think about burning bras and not shaving my legs, I think about how lucky we are to be so ‘free’ in the 21st century, liberated from our second wave chrysalises. I, along with many other women, am striving for equality for everyone. Men and women. Whilst second and third world countries unfortunately still have a long way to come (as sadly do some cultural sects within the UK), to be allowed freedom to be educated and the freedom to not only vote, but have a voice. It is a stark contrast from the UK, and other western countries, where we are in the privileged position to be able to have a voice and ask the world to be treated equally. Feminism is debated every day in our normal lives without anyone even realising it, it is in our conversations about being promoted in a masculine heavy company, asking for a pay rise, discussing the cost of childcare and deciding what to wear in the morning. I consider myself a neo-feminist, a feminist in the 21st century who has a certain amount of affinity for men and what both sexes are good and bad at. Although I am a huge believer that anyone can do anything they want if they try hard enough, biology cannot be denied. Men are generally (not always) physically stronger than women, therefore they may (or may not) be suited to roles in society that require physical strength. Women on the other hand generally speaking (and again, not always) are able to multi-task more than men and have an innate capacity to empathise with people. Just because I am aware of the strengths and limits of each sex, does not mean that I am sexist. I strongly support any woman who wants to be a firefighter and any man who would like to be a nurse. Both jobs are usually stereotyped as a male and female role respectively. My point being that in our fabulously liberated society, we all have a choice. We have a choice, if and when we marry due to no longer having to have a husband to allow us a position in society, we have the choice to choose whether to be educated to degree level and whether or not we return to work after maternity leave. I think there is a real problem within the feminist sphere today where women are being judged for choosing to stay at home with their children. There are angry feminists who believe that if a woman does this, that they are the living embodiment of a pre-second wave housewife. But what everyone (including hard core feminists) need to remember is that all of our previous feminist sisters fought for our choice, they liberated us from a world that defined a woman’s role as a trophy to a husband and apron strings tied to the home.

Other feminist thoughts of concern to me are the rude comments made mostly through social media on the aesthetics of specific women; their weight, make-up and the clothes one wears. Whilst I understand the backlash to Miley Cyrus twerking in little to nothing covering up her bits, however a woman choosing to wear a leather skirt with over-the-knee boots is not something to be judged for. I am a feminist and I love dressing up. I don’t do it for men (I am a married woman) but for other women. The women in my office completely agree with me, it is like a mini fashion show every day in my office and I love it. When I get up in the morning, it is deciding what to wear that gets me through the mundane drudge of one’s morning journey to work in London (a bus, a train and 2 tubes). My day to day job is working as a PA in the city, and while it is a perfectly enjoyable job to pay the bills, it is writing and fashion that are my life’s passions. I write a blog on many varying topics from fashion and politics to business and feminism. It is possible to merge these worlds that some feminists believe should be kept distinct from one and other. But I think these feminists are doing women a disservice. Intelligent women are capable of holding a conversation about the lack of women in parliament and the phenomenon of women dropping out of the labour force, whilst at the same time rocking a red lipstick and killer heels. I ask that ALL women and men remember what the original feminist movement were fighting for. They fought for the right for everyone to be able to have a say in society via the vote and more recently the media sphere, they fought for the liberation of women, giving us choices in life and we should support all women whatever their life choice is.

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