Sunday, 2 November 2014

Why I Need Feminism

The plethora of feminist related issues are still as prominent as they were in the 1960s. In those days, for example, women were sick and tired of being housewives. These days we are, for example, fighting to receive equal pay. For me, Feminism is an important perspective, as it not only fighting for the right of women, but also men. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it this way.
Last month, I watched a video of a lady walking around New York which demonstrated the well documented issue surrounded women's bodies being 'public property'. She was cat-called, stalked, as well as whistled at. After watching the video, I looked at the comments section- a lot of them didn't see a problem with it with comments such as:
Female's Comment
Woman with enormous breasts and skin-tight T-shirt, complains about receiving the attention she deliberately went out to attract.

The majority of women, it seemed, were defending the video, who understood what the woman in the video was highlighting, many commented on having experienced something similar out on the streets. What made me feel sad was comments from other women who made similar comments like above, and many men who also failed to understand why it was an issue. This comment below summed up my feelings, it also happily surprised me that it came from a man, yet there was a clear presence in the comments section from men who were defending the video:
Male's comment:
People should stop saying that saying "Hi","Hey Honey" or "How you doing today" isn't harassment... It is the way these men said it. It is harassment and very creepy for someone to say "hello" or "god bless you" to a stranger walking by. They have their intentions, and they are all clearly hitting on her. In a city so big like NYC, where most people don't know each other, it is very peculiar and scary for a stranger to talk to you. Therefore, this video clearly shows the problems of harassment and the female vulnerabilities.

Video link:

My own feelings pretty much sum up what the comment above is conveying. It is about the way those men said/ made those comments towards her. I have felt the other side of this, in fact only last week I experienced something similar to this twice in one week, I was made to feel uncomfortable due to the actions of two men, once at university, and another time by someone in another car in the queue next to ours.The first time was on last Monday at uni, while walking past the International Office, on my way to a lecture, a young man was waiting outside in the corridor. He looked at me as I walked past and made the most disgusting noise equivalent to- 'oh yeah'. This immediately made me feel naked, I was wearing a coat, which in no way was figure hugging. At that moment, I felt dirty, and the rest of the day, I felt disturbed by the encounter. The second time, I was a passenger in a car, we were waiting in the queue when a car pulled up to my left. I noticed while looking around that the male driver was staring at me. I felt uncomfortable, so looked away immediately. I was relieved when his lane's lights had gone green and now was moving, but realised that he had remained static. He kept staring at me, holding the traffic behind him. He knew what he was doing, I'm sure of it. It made me feel terrified. 

I had hoped that now being in my late 20s would mean this would stop, yet it hasn't. But the thought in itself, that it would have stopped by now sums up what is still wrong with the society we live in. This sort of thing happens to many women. It's not nice and nor is it a compliment. It is the worst kind of attention to be given. It is unwanted, unneeded. It terrifies the victim. It makes the victim uncomfortable. It doesn't matter how someone is dressed. So when I see comments such as below, it saddens me that people are ignoring the very important issues that still need to be overcome. For me, only feminism can fix these issues.

A male's Review of the Guardian on it's Facebook Page:
There are at least two feminist articles a day popping up on my wall. The Guardian has seriously lost its direction and been hijacked by a feminist agenda. Remember when it was good unbias leftwing paper that wrote thought-provoking articles? A pity we have to remember them instead of reading that sort of quality at present. I am unsubscribing from The Guardian on facebook because of this

As I said earlier, Feminism stands up for all of us. It doesn't just benefit women, and most of the feminists do not hate men, just as not all English people love tea. Men can be, and many are, feminists. But this post isn't about why feminism is good for all of us, and nor is it about trying to persuade anyone into becoming one. It is about the very real experiences that half of the population is this country is facing. Of course, women are facing a lot worse situations in other parts of the world, namely the kidnapped girls in Nigeria, or the women raped in Somalia but if we can't even get past our own problems, we cannot even begin to look at others.

Sen x

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