Why we still need to call ourselves feminists

Kirsty Dowdall

“For most of history, anonymous was a woman,” an adaptation of words said by writer and journalist Virginia Woolf, a pioneer of early twentieth century feminism.

A focal point in the movement for women’s rights, International Women’s day is celebrated every year on the 8th of March all around the world.

In sharp contrast to Woolf’s observation of a woman’s role in history, women now have the ability to vote, voice their thoughts, follow their career goals and live as equals to their male counterparts more than ever before. But in spite of all of these things women are still very often subjected to double standards and expectations still looming from Woolf’s time.

Emily Blunt, star of The Girl on the Train spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about stereotypes and connotations around her character who struggles with alcoholism.

A woman is a drunk, a whore, whereas the guy’s like a partyer, a player” she said. “maybe she doesn’t want to settle down, and that’s OK. And maybe she doesn’t want a kid, and that’s OK. And she’s just happy playing the field. There’s so much judgment with women.”

This judgement and unrealistic expectations set out for women was encapsulated in a video released by Girls,Girls.Girls magazine this year entitled ‘Be a lady they said’. 

“Be a lady, they said. Your skirt is very short. Your blouse is very small. Don’t show so much skin. Get covered. Leave something to the imagination. Don’t be a temptress. Men cannot behave. Men have needs,”

The copy was taken from 22 year old undergraduate student Camille Rainville’s blog Writings of a Furious Woman and narrated by Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role as Miranda Hobbes from Sex and the City.

The wake of the Harvey Weinstein trial verdict should be the beginning of a new day for sexual assault victims.

But the victim-blaming narrative that women know all too well was prominent throughout the Weinstein trial and will continue to be problematic in sexual assault cases as long as society entertains the idea that rape is not black or white.

Feminism was a radical idea in the old days due to a widespread idea that women shouldn’t think or speak and existed to be mothers and wives. Over time a stigma has developed in that feminists believe women are somehow better than men.

This is not the case. Jane Fonda summarises feminism’s continuous fight for equality for women in her personal essay for Lenny Letter.

 “But this is not about replacing one ‘-archy’ with another,” she said. 

It’s about transforming social and cultural norms and institutions so that power, violence, and greed are not the primary operating principles. It’s not about moving from patriarchy to matriarchy, but from patriarchy to democracy. Feminism means real democracy.”

Kirsty Dowdall

Image Credit: Isabella Finn