This blog post is inspired by a recent conversation I had at work. While I was marking some kids scrawly handwriting, one of the guys I work with asked me ‘Are you a feminist?!’, to which I happily replied with ‘Yes, I am’.
But what really interested me was what he said next which was ‘But are you like a FEMINIST feminist?’. I stopped for a minute to consider both this question and the mocking tone in his voice when he said this and replied with ‘I believe in equal rights for men and women, so yes I am’. All I could think was why did he say the word ‘feminist’ in the same tone that I use for the word ‘homework’?
It then seemed as if the conversation was over so I returned to my marking but he then said a few minutes later ‘But men and women aren’t equal, like if there was a men vs women football match, we would thrash them mate’ *high fives other guy working with us*. Thoughts ran through my mind about things that women could do that would beat men, anything that wouldn’t make me sound really stereotypical like shopping or bitching. Deep in thought I realised there was no point even saying anything because they were now talking about whose favourite football team was the best so the conversation was actually over.
When I got home, I had a think about this conversation and realised that what the guy was talking about with the football match ‘point’ was not equality whatsoever and not what feminism is really about. It is however what the media, and unfortunately that means most men and some women, believe feminism to be, the idea that feminists hate men and want to be better than them. IT’S ABOUT BEING EQUAL NOT WINNING! We don’t need to win the match, AT THE MOMENT WE WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO PLAY GUYS IN THE DAMN MATCH. Even if we lost 100-0, we still got the EQUAL opportunity to play the match. When two people take a test, one might pass and one might fail but the point is that they both get the exact same opportunity to take the same test. And that wasn’t always the case, men and women haven’t always had the same educational opportunities. But thanks to some truly amazing women, we do. And one day men and women will have completely equal opportunities, doesn’t mean women will always beat men, but they get to play the game. We need to make sure feminism doesn’t become a dirty word in order to achieve equality. For me that means, if this conversation ever comes up again, I’m going to, as a feminist, tell these boys what I think (and quickly), and be proud of the fact that I’m campaigning for equal rights for men and women. Because, in a nutshell that’s all that feminism is, nothing to be scared of or disgusted by.