Sunday 15 August 2010
The F Word (No, Not That F Word! Not THAT F Word Either! I'm Talking About The F WORD... Yes, That One.)
There are basically three F words that people complain about. The first one that comes to mind is basically harmless compared to the others. The second F word, Fat, is only dangerous because of the third F word, which is FEMINISM.
ARRRGH!!! FEMINISM!!! RUN!!!
People think that if you are a feminist, you are either a lesbian, an nagging woman, boring, stupid, someone who can't take a joke! These views of feminists are ignorant, stupid, and downright insulting. A feminist is someone who believes in equality for women. That's it. There's no need to burn your bras, or chain yourselves to railings to be a feminist. Good thing too, because a lot of men are feminists now, and the burning your bras thing would just be really awkward.
I was at a feminist seminar last night for the Kilkenny Arts Festival with four speakers, one of which was Nell McCafferty (famous in Ireland for starting the Contraceptive Train to Belfast to get contraceptives from the UK when they were illegal in Ireland thirty years ago), and another was a University College Dublin student, Bridget Fitzsimons, who is studying the media's perceptions of the female body next year for her Masters. She was the one I most identified with, because she only turned twenty-one that night and had grown up with the same media I have. She dissed Twilight and said that the main character has to change her entire body - no, species - for the man she loves, and in one of the other couples in the series the man is a werewolf and mauls his human girlfriend, but it's alright! He loves her! And Bridget pointed out that that is not really a nice message in that, and even if you're a bona fide Twi-hard, you have to agree that she does have a point.
When the discussion was thrown to the floor, I got the mic and told a story, which I will repeat to you now...
Before the summer, during a Religion class, the teacher left us for a while, but instead of talking about boys, (which is what most of us usually talk about...) we started talking about what we were going to be when we left school. A lot of the girls said they wanted to be teachers, nurses, make-up artists, but no less than seven girls said they wanted to get a footballer, marry him, and then spend the rest of their lives being rich and doing rich things. I was disgusted. Women in the Fifties, for example, like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, were famous because they had a talent, like singing or dancing or acting, and that was celebrated. We are constantly being told that being famous is the same as being happy, but it isn't! It really isn't!
That is why I will proudly say that I am a feminist, because I want to change things for women and girls. And I don't see why any other woman would not want that. Do you want it?