Niamh C is a durty feminist
Are you a feminist? If you’re reading this blog I’m guessing you are. Have you ever been slagged off for being a feminist? I’m guessing you have. The dreaded F word. Shaved heads. Bras burning. Aggressive lesbians who hate men (the HORROR!). All the images that I would get if I asked randomers on the street to describe a feminist for me. Maybe, I don’t know, perhaps I’m underestimating people, I hope!
Nevertheless an interesting debate about feminism between two female contributors is taking place on the huffingtonpost. So let’s discuss the question “Is feminism relevant to young women in their twenties?”
Now before I dissect the arguments outlined, I’ll give you my two cents. I’m female and I’m in my twenties and before reading the arguments, I disagreed with the statement that feminism is irrelevant for young women. Here are my reasons why. I currently work in a profession, teaching, which is predominantly female. Despite the fact that male teachers are a minority, which is a cause for concern, they are actually earning on average €7,400 more than the average female teacher.
As we were told in college by one lecturer, the males in the room will probably be principals and deputy principals in about four or five years, basically good luck girls. Women in their twenties are faced with incredibly difficult choices with regards to relationships and starting a family. If they are newlywed you can be sure the bigwig behind the interview table will be thinking “when is this girl going to go on maternity leave and leave me in the lurch”?
Where are the women?
Even though some girls are outperforming boys in secondary schools and there are more women in university, it is still quite obvious to me that we live in a unequal society. For me the biggest challenges lie in political and “board room” representation and development and respect for women’s sports.
I also have a big interest in sport, and the amount of blatant sexism I have experienced in this part of my life is shocking really. Not enough time and space to go into it now, and while some of it has been very hurtful I haven’t given up fighting for what I believe in and calling myself a feminist.
But that’s just my background and my opinion. Moving on to the debate…
Lucy Sherriff doesn’t consider herself a feminist and doesn’t believe that it is relevant anymore. She doesn’t believe that “self-proclaimed” feminists and protests do anything for women. She also knows for a ‘fact’ that politics won’t change the inherent sexism in our society.
And here lies the problem with her argument. The politics of today hasn’t changed anything because women are not being represented within the political sphere. Therefore we must continue to combat the institutional sexism that prevails by engaging the public in debate and contesting the system.
Feminism is a dirty word
Sherriff also believes that we “should ditch the f-word because it’s not doing us any favours”. Apparently feminists are just the ‘punchline of a joke’ and are basically sneered at by men.
To me that’s not a good enough reason to say you’re not a feminist. If other people have a problem with feminists, due to an incorrect stereotype, then as an educated person, you should be able to move past that and to continue to fight for what you believe in.
She also feels that projects like Everydaysexismare useless because men aren’t going to read them or aren’t going to change. But then I’m pretty sure that right wing homophobic conservatives aren’t going to change if they watch an ‘t Gets Better video but that doesn’t make the project redundant, it does however make her argument redundant.
Weild that placard, sister!
Brogan Driscoll, on the opposing side, has experienced similar abuse for identifying as a feminist but she still believes in the relevance of feminism.
She dismisses the stereotype of feminists as angry, placard-waving (but I do love a good old witty placard) extremist women, Driscoll puts it much more eloquently than I could
As long as gender inequality rears its ugly head, the feminist movement is both relevant and a necessity
In my opinion not much more needs to be said.
Needless to say my mind wasn’t changed after reading the two arguments, but Sherriff is winning the debate, 6% more agree at this stage. So what do you think, is feminism still relevant to women in their twenties?