Ahead of my talk at International Women’s Day on Saturday I got thinking about what the day stands for. Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. It’s a celebration of women. A day when we can all come out and blow our vuvuzellas, join together in strength, feel good, celebrate being women, a day of recognition of women and solidarity. A day of feminism.
But are we all feminists?
“Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and socialrights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.”
Yet feminism is sometimes seen as a dirty word, there comes a sly snigger and talk of hairy armpits and lesbians when conversation turns to feminism. People fearing to identity themselves with the word lest is taints them, makes them seem aggressive, political or in some way trouble.
Here are some (quite astonishing) quotes from celebrity women regarding feminism.
Geri Halliwell, she of “girl power” said this
“It’s about labelling. For me feminism is bra-burning lesbianism. It’s very unglamorous. I’d like to see it rebranded. We need to see a celebration of our femininity and softness.”
When Bjork was asked if she were a feminist, she replied
“No, because I think it would isolate me. I think it’s important to do positive stuff. It’s more important to be asking than complaining.”
“I’m not a feminist – I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, and beer, and bars and muscle cars….”
“I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist.”
Let’s go back to that definition – “A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women”
So what makes Madonna et al so afraid of being a proud, badge wearing, card carrying feminist? Are the negative connotations so strong that the word stokes fear into the heart of some of the most famous women in the world?
Luckily there are many who will proudly speak out.
I am a feminist, my husband is a feminist, my three children are feminists. I would go as far as to say that I really wouldn’t want to talk to anyone who doesn’t identify themselves as feminists.
If you are questioning now whether you are a feminist or not, luckily there is a online quiz for that, take the test and come back to me…
Clear now? Good.
I read this quote from an article by Laurie Penny in the Guardian and it really struck a chord with me.
“The stereotype of the ugly, unfuckable feminist exists for a reason – because it’s still the last, best line of defence against any woman who is a little too loud, a little too political. Just tell her that if she goes on as she is, nobody will love her.”
I am a strong, bold woman. Im a married mother of three. I am many things and one of them is a feminist. I have no fear in saying that loud and proud. What about you?
People who shout down feminists, who mock, berate or fear them need to realise that feminism isn’t about that stereotype, its about your daughter, your sister, your mother, your female friends. It is about every person in this world having equal opportunities whatever their gender. If you honestly do not believe that women deserve equal rights to men then you are, well, I can’t even think of the words. Ill just suggest you go and educate yourself. Or perhaps go and explain your beliefs to your mother or daughter, that you don’t believe they are worth as much as a man…
If you DO believe in equality for women then identify yourself as a feminist. Be proud that you are a good and decent person and don’t be afraid to speak out.
We’ll end this sermon with a picture of pretty much my favourite celebrity fella, Patrick Stewart
Love Sam x