In view of it being in the news currently in the UK, I’d like to address a subject I feel very passionate about. Feminism. I’m talking about straight up, no messin’ respect for women. I’m talking about women loving themselves and being allowed to be themselves without judgement, prejudice and the pressures of the modern media and society. I’m talking about the next generation being confident and comfortable with their bodies, having high aspirations, dreams and goals. A world where women can be unafraid and free to walk the streets without fear of harassment, danger or violence. A world where domestic violence is eradicated. A place where we are judged and perceptions made by our actions and not our gender, sexual orientation or preference.
As someone who works in the mental health sector, it saddens me to say just how often I meet women with issues that we in the counselling and psychotherapy world, would call feminist issues. Body confidence. Low self-esteem. Feeling pressured or torn between family and career. Rape survivors. Victims of domestic abuse. And it’s not just women who are affected by feminist issues. The pressure on boys and men these days to be, provide and behave a certain way are intensifying. Men who are being abused who feel unable to speak out due to the society accepted norm that men are the stronger sex and therefore cannot possibly be abused? That’s absurd.
My biggest concern and fear, however, is the number of young people I have walk into my office, week in, week out. The level of harassment, pressure to look a certain way and fit within the accepted norm that society dictates, is horrendous. I have had girls as young as 13 with eating disorders. Girls telling me they are fat, ugly, stupid…who has the authority to decide these things? The media? Their peers? It seems in many cases that it is the opinions of females and males around them that influences this sort of body discontent.
But how can things change, when society and the media are breeding more and more unrealistic and shameful images of women and men? Rap songs and their videos that degrade and label women as hoe’s and b@*ches. SOME males are adopting this as the norm. And SOME females are accepting it as such also. I find this very worrying.
I am sick to the back teeth of this LAD culture sweeping the western world. It’s a joke. Sexism, misogyny and avocation of violence toward women is being labelled “banter” because of a new trend known as LAD culture. I shall give you examples in the form of pictures I obtained from a site encouraging LAD behavior. This is not the sort of thing I want my son to be seeing every day from other males.
Pretty grim, I’m sure many will think. There appears to be a growing number of people, both male and female, who seem to think that feminism is something that radical lesbians believe in. They say things like “you need to get laid,” or “It’s just banter. A joke.” Well, it’s not funny. Feminism is the reason I have facebook. It’s the reason I am allowed to wear trousers. It’s why I can publish a book, go to school, have a job, voice an opinion and vote. And yet, I hear people say “Women have equal rights. Stop bleating on.” Oh, they do huh? Is that why in courts the question is still asked “what was she wearing?” during a rape trial?
Or why I am criticized for being a working mother and equally for wanting to be a stay at home mother? Is that why the media shower us with magazine covers of smartly dressed men in suits and scantily clad females?
But we have our equal rights so that’s what matters huh? Today a 16 year old girl told me she is ugly. Three 18 year old boys told her that she was better off wearing a paper bag on her head. While her friend informed me that she was made to feel uncomfortable by being cat called at and told “hey baby, you’re a ten for sure. Wanna hook up and make 20?” When confronted, they called it ‘harmless banter.’
Doesn’t seem harmless. This HAS to stop. I see Facebook news feeds covered in this drivel. Sexist remarks about looks, intelligence and don’t even get me started on the ‘make me a sandwich’ s@*t! Women are not defined by the genitals they possess and should not, therefore, be pre-judged, subjected to disrespectful cat calling and inappropriate contact.
A great quote comes to mind from a friend I had in highschool – “I am a woman. I was not placed on this earth for your sexual gratification. I have all the physical qualities your mother does. Would you treat her that way or let anyone else do so? Then don’t treat me like a second class citizen either!”
I know, I go on a bit but I have experienced this ‘sense of entitlement’ that SOME males express first hand. Cat calling. Being groped or grabbed in a night club. Having my way blocked by men as I try to walk down a street and being called frigid, a b@*ch and a c@*k tease when I reject their advances. I’ve been labelled as nagging, bossy, a b@*ch and ‘on her period’ when being assertive at work or school.
How many of you can cross of a label on this list? How many can cross of more than one? I can.
High – Maintenance
Just like the rest
But we don’t need feminism. Right?
It HAS to stop. Period. Women are unique, beautiful and exquisite in all their shapes, sizes, colours, abilities and are worth far more than the value placed on them by others.
I also want to stand up and APPLAUD all of the wonderful, caring, sensitive, respectful and AMAZING men that empower women every day! You guys rock. hard.
I Am Woman, Hear Me ROAR!
Song – Roar by Katy Perry
Thanks to all the wonderful women who submitted their pictures for the purpose of this video.