Feminism is dead. And if not, in its current form, I really think it should be.
Let me give you a little context. If I had been born in the days where women weren’t entitled to the vote I would have been the first to complain. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in women’s rights in their entirety, and am first in line to show how much I am the equivalent to my male counterparts across the board. Underestimate me because I am female and the joke will be on you because I am competent, diligent and able, yet this has nothing to do with which chromosomes my body is made up of. It’s to do with me.
I wholeheartedly believe that feminism, although coming from a well meant place, is dead. Its something that I believe there is no need for anymore, and in my day to day life, I find that the girls that are campaigning for this stuffy idea are actually skewing the balance for the rest of us. What we should be fighting for is equality. The chance to be recognised for what we bring to the table, not for what we bring to the table as women.
This train of thought comes from a meeting I had this week. It was a brilliant idea; to promote National Women’s Day in a workplace that has a strong male workforce. Fantastic – we need to be ensuring that young and influential women starting their career recognise that being a woman isn’t going to hold you back. The idea came from a really good place; it just didn’t stay that way for very long.
The ideas bouncing around started to grate. I ignored them, for the sake of trying to not come across really opinionated, but then I had to say my piece. Someone suggested that to promote the event, we should get the women and the men to switch. So getting the guys to do a bake sale, and giving the girls an afternoon to go rock climbing, for example.
It hit me that in trying to promote a fantastic day, we were actually polarising the problem. By suggesting that we do this, we were reinforcing the negative (and downright wrong) opinion that as opposite sexes, our skills and abilities were always going to be totally different, and completely stereotypical.
OK, I don’t come from a place of out and out feminism. I actually like it when I have had a hard day at work and a man on the Tube offers me his seat. I like it when, every now and then, my boyfriend offers to pay for dinner. I see it as chivalry for these things to happen, rather than being completely affronted that they would even dare to suggest it. And I know that the term feminism covers a broad spectrum, but organising girls clubs and events is the wrong way to go about addressing the issue of equality. In the United States even as recently as a couple of years ago, women were, on average (and its wildly different between states) still getting paid 11% less than men in direct comparison roles.
A conversation with my Uncle while I was away highlighted the issue with businesses employing women “of that age” which in reference to this conversation was 28 – 35. Marriage and kid’s age, in case you were wondering. A women, “at that age” (my age) is less employable than her male counterpart from a business point of view, as she is more likely to get married, have children, and take maternity leave, which in turn costs a business money.
Sure, this is the case, and empowering women is the way forward, but rather than putting us as women in a box, why don’t we try to highlight our individual differences?
We shouldn’t be celebrating our successes because we are women.
We should simply be celebrating our successes. Isn’t that what equality is?
What are your thoughts?