Saturday, 25 October 2014

Myself, My Brother and Feminism

NB: For this particular post I will be using the following Cambridge Dictionary definition of feminism;
"The belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power and opportunities as men, and be treated the same way."

Since writing about my opinion of the reaction that incurred after last week's Zoella Article, I've felt like a little bit of a cop out. It's not because that wasn't my honest opinion, as it was, it's just that I felt like I'd somehow managed to write an entire post on feminism without actually giving much of an opinion at all. For the last few days, I feel like all I've really done is read articles and watch videos, varying from Laci Green, to FckH8, to Matt Walsh. I've asked for countless opinions and answers over on twitter and to my friends, I've googled definitions and I've formed a view based on all of this and one other important fact - I have a brother that I love and respect, and I want him to have every right in life that I do, and vice versa.

A lot of you were very forthcoming with your feminist views, and they generally amounted to the idea that men and women should have the same rights, privileges and chances as their opposite genders counterparts. Although it's an increasingly dirty word, I definitely consider myself a feminist and, in my view, this includes men achieving the same privileges that we hold over them as well as us, as women, achieving the privileges that they hold over us. It's because that seems like basic human right to me that I'm a feminist. I mentioned earlier that I have a brother, a fact that I feel contributes to my view; let me explain.

My Brother and I

I am a feminist because, as awful as it is that (according to Rape Crisis) 1 in 5 women aged 16-59 has experienced some sort of sexual violence since the age of 16, it is just as appalling that if my brother ever experiences being sexually assaulted then it will be up for debate between many as to whether that can be considered a legitimate crime. I am a feminist because my Christian name being Sam puts me and my brother on an equal plain applying for jobs that don't include disclosing gender; however had my parents called me Samantha, then my chances of achieving a job over him in career areas such as engineering, plumbing or gas fitting could be considerably higher, even if we possess the same skills. I am a feminist because as much as calling my brother a pussy is offensive due to the connotations it holds, telling me to grow some balls is in the exact same group of insult. I am a feminist because although I'm less likely to get a higher position job due to my reproductive organs, my brother will only get 2 weeks paid paternity leave. I am a feminist because if someone punched me it would be a police matter, but if someone punched my brother he would all too often be expected to endure it and move on. I am a feminist because I can wear pants, but even if he wanted to my brother couldn't wear a skirt without ridicule. I am a feminist because bodies making decisions about my body are too often predominantly made up of men, because my brother was made to feel embarrassed for crying at My Sister's Keeper whereas I was comforted, because me speaking about politics is taken much less seriously than my brother doing so, and because him speaking about fashion is taken much less seriously than me doing so. I am a feminist because non-binary genders and non-traditional sexual orientations still aren't taught in schools, because there are still countries where I can't vote or drive, but my brother could be conscripted into war. I am a feminist because all of this needs to change.

In my eyes, feminism and equality are one in the same and, as much as I hope that I achieve the same rights as my brother, I also hope that he achieves the same rights as me. Feminism has become a dirty word for the much greater idealism that every single person irregardless of gender, binary or otherwise, should have the same rights as the next man (or woman, or otherwise.) and I think we can all agree that that's something worth fighting for.

What are your views on feminism?

Sammy xo.

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