Over the last few months I’ve read a lot of articles debating the idea of modern day feminism, so today I’ve decided to throw my two pennies into the mix.
To start with, in the past I’ve never really considered myself a ‘feminist’ as such; the word often conjures up an image of dreadlock clad, unwashed woman – someone who hates men and hates any woman who dare to bear in public even more. It’s this ridiculous stereotype that causes so many young women to remove themselves from the idea of feminism – but in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As I’ve got older I’ve realised that you don’t have to put yourself in a rigid box and hold specific views in order to consider yourself a feminist. So today I thought I’d give my opinion on the three main causes of debate in the world of feminism…
The makeup & beauty debate
Bizarrely, some people seem to believe that wearing makeup and doing your hair automatically expels you from being a feminist. What utter rubbish. One of the most important ‘feminist’ points for me, is that women should have the choice to look and dress however the hell they want. Taking pride in your appearance doesn’t make you a bimbo, wearing skimpy outfits doesn’t mean your ‘asking to be raped’ and wearing no make up at all doesn’t make you scruffy.
Personally I wouldn’t dream of going to work or to a job interview without my slap on – not because I’m trying to seduce my male boss or potential employer, but because wearing makeup makes me feel more confident, more professional. Quite frankly, I wear makeup because I like to feel pretty – and I absolutely applaud any woman who feels confident enough to take on the world barefaced, that’s just not my choice.
The same goes for cosmetic surgery. I would never recommend to any of my readers that going under the knife is a quick fix to feeling better about yourself. But if cosmetic surgery is something that you’ve thought long and hard about, and something that you believe will give you the confidence you need to make your life better, then by all means go for it, girl. Companies like ABSAMC and other well-known cosmetic surgeries give their clients full consultations before any decisions are made, and no surgeon worth his salt would ever do work on a woman who they felt were not mentally or emotionally adept to make the decision.
The glamour debate
Probably the biggest debate when discussing feminism is the one that suggests the likes of FHM, Playboy and other lad’s mags objectify women. I, personally, don’t agree that it does. Now, I’d like to clarify here that I’m talking strictly about glamour models who have chosen to enter into the industry are being paid handsomely for it – I’m not talking about these underground porn rings who take young, vulnerable women in dire circumstances – women who feel like they don’t have any other option – and force them to do degrading things for little to no money. The two are very, very different things and the latter is a topic for another day.
But back to the former; every month Playboy receives thousands of applications from women desperate to become playmates. These women are making a career choice, they aren’t exploited. Exploitation is treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work – so, in reality, the real exploitation of women is by employers who pay their female employers less than their male counterparts despite both doing the same job.
The stay-at-home-Mum debate
Finally, another argument that seems to pop up is that, if your husband goes out to work while you stay at home and take care of the kids, you can’t be a feminist – and I can’t begin to tell you how much this infuriates me.
Childcare is one of the most expensive outgoings for young families these days, and for many it actually works out cheaper for one parent to stay at home and not work, rather than fork out up to £11,700 a year on childcare. Furthermore, some woman (or men) make the decision to stay at home purely because, god forbid, they want to!
The flip side of this is, of course, the argument that going out and working rather than staying with your kids makes you bad mother. This is also complete bullshit. My mum worked full time throughout my childhood and yet she never once missed anything that I, as a kid, held as important. I know it wasn’t easy for her, and I know for a fact that there were occasions where she’d have to feign illness to skip meetings just so she could catch my school play, or work long nights and weekends just so she could have the day off when I wasn’t well – but not once did I ever find myself waiting at the school gates, wondering if someone would show up.
Juggling a career and a family can be difficult for both men and women alike – but, I believe, it’s finding a balance and making sure the time you do have with your kids counts that makes you a good or bad parent.
In summary, feminism, for me, is about two things:
Supporting women having the choice to go after whatever they want in life; be that owning their own business, a career in the glamour industry or staying at home with your children. Jesus, do all three if you can, girls.
And the second is respect. Employers respecting their female employees enough to pay them the same wage as their male counterparts, and also respecting the choices of other women. Not looking down on women who don’t choose to work, not slut-shaming those who choose to be more sexually active than ourselves and not judging other women before we know their circumstances.
As I said these are just my opinions, whether you agree or disagree is up to you – but either way here’s to you, queen – cheers!