The true meaning of feminism

Women all over the world are still in the dark about the truth of feminism: when labeling a person, do we ever take into account their definition of feminism or our own personal, distorted sense of it? Instead of assuming that feminists are all women who hold grudges against all men, we should assume that any person who labels themselves as a feminist are sick of the much too frequent gender pay gap, inconsistency in respect and pure discrimination because of their gender. Although as a nation we are very aware of feminism, there still isn’t enough being done to support those who fight for equal rights and then are constantly derided for it.

As a young person living in Grimsby, I am already aware of the ignorance that feminists face daily as they try promote equality and maintain respect. More recently my female friends have told me they refuse to label themselves as feminists in fear they will be thought any less of by the boys around them because they are opinionated and that can be seen as an “unattractive” quality. Both men and women are making fun of those who identify as feminists because they think that they hate men and are too isolating and too opinionated; these views can be attributed to lack of education of the term. These beliefs need to be put to bed and people need to open their eyes to the truth of feminism. It is simply the desire and right to be treated equally with the same opportunities, regardless of gender.

The gender pay gap is increasingly kept a secret: in Grimsby alone it has been revealed that male GPs in the NHS out earn their female colleagues by a third. The women in the NHS represent two thirds of trainee doctors yet the gender pay gap means that for every £1 a female doctor makes, a male doctor will be earning £1.17.  These women work tirelessly, as do the men, yet are earning less for the same hours. Female doctors take care of you and family, as do male doctors. They are not on the same pay despite doing the same job. This lack of parity demonstrates a lack of respect. Feminists would argue that men and women living in a fair society should be paid an equal salary.

It is not only in the workplace where feminism is ignored. People can judge a person who calls themselves a feminist before they even know their name. They are instantly branded with the stereotypes that they are dramatic, sexist and isolating. This negative stigma around feminism needs to be erased and ended instead of passing these views onto future generations, poisoning them with the toxic ideas that feminists are irrational and man-hating misandrists. It is important to spread the word that pink isn’t a girl’s colour and blue isn’t a boy’s colour, crying doesn’t make men any less of a man or indicate a lack of masculinity, and the burden of housework doesn’t have to fall on the woman’s shoulders within a household. Everyone, regardless of gender, should have the freedom and right to explore any path, and feel and express any emotion.  It is pure ignorance of the meaning of feminism which is infecting the feminist movement, making it into an insult as opposed to making it a logical, egalitarian ideology to be proud of.

I proudly identify as a feminist, yet people always have the same reaction upon finding out: they laugh and tell me it’s pointless because nothing will ever change. The whole point of promoting feminism is to prove that we can make a statement and change and to make us realise that women have already deserved their right to have a voice and have more than earned their right to voting, working and living equally as a man can.

Article written by Hannah Wilson
First published in the Grimsby Telegraph 13th August 2019