I am a recently self discovered feminist. And as soon as I looked at the world the way it actually is, I saw that it is filled with sexism every single day. From adverts (yes asda right now I am talking to you), to just chatting to people in general, women are very much treated like second class citizens. I am yet to go a day where I see absolute equality. I watch people I know make excuses for why their husbands don’t help around the house i.e. “it is just quicker if I do it myself”,well he is hardly going to argue is he? Although he should argue. He should know he has to do half of everything.
Feminisim is often mistaken as a battle women face. It isn’t. It is a battle society faces. If men have an air of superiority or believe it is “womens’ work” then they have as much changing to do as the women who “justify” and enable them.
Everday we hear about a “single mother” or a “girl at work”. Where are the men in the case of single mothers? Why do they get of the proverbial media hook? And “girls”? Please. I stopped being a girl at 16, when legally I became a woman. I am capable of anything I want to do. A friend told me the other day that she “plays the silly girl card” to make her husband do things. WHY!! Why would you do this? Can you actually not do something, or just ask for help? Why do gender roles still exist? It is not a “mans job” to change plugs and cut grass or a “womens work” in the home and all things child related.
I live with a woman. We each have very different life skills and we both do everything in the house together. If I don’t know how to do something and she does, I just ask her. I don’t think of it as her “job” because we each have the capacity to learn more.
Sexism has become so normalised, I really believe most people do not see it. Things like being whistled at by a man, and thinking you should feel flattered. Or people assuming a male co-worker is your boss. Normal does not equal right. It is certainly not equal.
The scary thing is that it doesn’t just happen to grown women. Men toot their horns at school girls. These are children and some men think that makes them fair game to harass. Well, hey, she was wearing a short skirt, so she must want the attention right? WRONG. No one has the right to harass someone because of the clothes they wear. What it does achieve is letting young girls know how society as a whole values them, it keeps them in their “place”. Women should fear men, they have ‘rights” over us. I wish I could say it was wrong to say this. But the figures speak for themselves in terms of rape convictions and domestic abuse. The law favours men over women. And it is reinforced every day. This attitude that we should just accept it. Women “need” to be validated by men. Of course we need to change this, and we cannot change it by standing still.
All these small things add up to one big picture. That men earn on average 10% more than women in a similar job, that men outnumber women in most jobs. Why we see more men in senior positions to women, that men think it is acceptable to talk to your cleavage. A lot of small things make a big thing. And everyday sexism IS a big deal, so lets change it.
Check out www.everydaysexism.com for more stories of women and what they face every day. If you think it doesn’t happen to you,read these stories and see if you change your mind.
I took the photo as week 3 of my 52 project. I thought it was/is relevant as we seem to be in a constant struggle for equality. And we are in it together, and need to help each other out.