It still takes me by surprise when people hear the word “feminist” and take it to mean a bad thing.

There was a moment, a few years back, when I proudly declared myself as a feminist and my friends reaction was to quickly say that she was not.

“Why not?” I asked.

“It’s weird,” she responded. “It makes you sound crazy.”

“Wanting equal rights makes me crazy?” I asked. No response.

Because I always assumed that was all it was. Wanting to be respected on the same level as men, wanting the rights to make choices for my life, about my body, my career. I want control and freedom. I want equality.

And yet, somehow this gets lost in translation, and feminism becomes a dirty word. I read a book about it actually, about how being a feminist was a double standard on it’s own, that feminists believe they are superior to men, that we only want some rights (like equal pay) but don’t want others (like men being the ones to hold open doors etc,), that feminism was the new way of justifying dressing in ‘slutty’ clothing.

I want to set the record straight and say this is completely wrong.

As a feminist, I don’t think I’m superior to men. I think I’m an equal.

As a feminist, I want equal pay, AND I want to hold open a door for my male friends without getting weird looks.

As a feminist, I want the right to wear what I want and not be belittled for it.

If I go out wearing a short dress, that doesn’t give anyone the right, should they be a man or a woman, to assume I’m easy.
I used to work in a shop that sold clothes. Amongst our summer range were short shorts and little dresses, midriff tops and see through shirts designed to be worn with layers. I saw girls come and go who showed off a lot of flesh, but I saw an equal amount of guys showing off even more bare skin. Board shorts cut above the knee and no shirt at all. And yet, this double standard exists where one can be considered acceptable, and the other makes you a whore.

It’s that kind of thing I have a problem with.

Wear what you want, judge how you will, but degrading someone for whatever reason is NEVER acceptable. That’s what I’m fighting against. That’s why I’m a feminist. (For a longer blog post on the subject of comments from strangers, click here!)

It’s a fine line. On one hand, if I’m tired and loaded up with bags and a guy offers to help me carry it, I’m going to say yes. Not because I’m a female and I want to be ‘looked after’, but because if our positions were swapped around and he was the one struggling, I would offer my help too.

I don’t want to be treated a certain way because I am a female. I want to be treated as an equal. As an individual. As a PERSON.

Feminism is NOT the new ‘F-Word’, people are just stupid.

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