Friday, 25 May 2012

What makes a good feminist? #FeministFriday

I hadn't heard about Feminist Friday until I saw tweets about Transatlantic Blonde at Cybher:

 Using my power for good means "not shutting up" I couldn't agree more 

and then the re-introduction of the linky:

I've never really been a fan of the 'feminist' tag, I'm not sure why, I think it was something I didn't really think about in my youth or uni days, and for the last eleven years my job means I try to avoid stereotypes, and the 'feminist' tag is one of the most feared.

When I started this job in 2001 I was responsible for Equal Opportunities and Diversity, directly for seven years, integrated in my role since.
Did I mention I work in the construction sector? Any ideas of how well women are represented?

Women in construction - the vital statistics
13% of total workforce
80% in support roles
20% of RIBA (Architects) members.
15% of RICS (Chartered Surveyors) members
5% of CIOB (Building) members
1.2% of site workers

It's absolutely pants. And one of the biggest stigmas of course relates to the fear of positive action, and a clear appreciation of positive discrimination.

The Equalities Review (2007) says it best:

“An equal society recognises the diverse needs, situations and goals of individuals. It removes discrimination and prejudice, and tackles the economic, political, legal, social and physical barriers that limit what people can do and be” 

But this isn't a university thesis, this is life, and it is the need to be treated equally that has been my priority for so long that I have disregarded being a feminist.

Then, I was fortunate to receive "How to be a Woman" by Caitlin Moran as a Christmas gift from a good friend and something in it held true:

" What is feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy and smug they might be."

I realised that it there is no stigma, that as Caitlin says, this is simply about being polite.

It rang true with another Cybher quote from Louise from Sprinkle of Glitter:
"It's nice to be important;
It's important to be nice."

There are so many things this year that have made me realise that it's important to represent yourself and not to try and fit in to be accepted, but to be accepted for who you are.

It rang true again the other night when I was watching 'The Secret Millionaire' a guy with a disability who had tried so much to fit in with society he stopped seeing himself as disabled, and realised how this was the very thing he should be supporting.

I also realised that whether or not I tagged myself as a feminist, it's probably more about the company you keep, and that gifts from friends not only include the aforementioned book, but also Linda Wirth's "Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling". And that my friends do read Germaine Greer.

And, maybe, just maybe, all the hopes that I have for my family do mean respecting feminism, that only by respecting each other can equality truly exist.
That for the time being, and probably for a very long time, can things only really change by people understanding the values of feminism.

And that I do want my daughter to have the freedom of choice.
And for my sons to respect these freedoms.

So, thank you for reading my first post for #FeministFriday

My name's Debbie, I'm a feminist.


  1. I think for any woman that wants to enjoy freedom and equality, feminism is the only option. We need to get away from it being viewed as some sort of dirty word. It is, after all, only the not particularly radical notion that women should have the same rights, respect, and opportunities as men.

  2. It's strange that so much hangs around the word "feminist". It should be quite straightforward. Yet I've had friends male and female who recoil when I say: "You're a feminist, you know." It really is as simple as you say. Thanks for taking part in #FeministFriday!

  3. I think other people's stereotypes about feminism are the biggest barrier to women claiming their feminist identity. I'm so very glad you've decided to claim yours. Welcome to the Feminist Fold :)

  4. Fabulous post. I'm not keen on any type of label but it was Caitlin Moran's book that made me realise that I, too am a feminist. It's not about not shaving your armpits or being "prickly" (to quote a family member). It's about realising that women and men are equal and should have the same rights and opportunities. Seems obvious really.

  5. I love this post! I've considered myself a feminist for a long time - it is a term a lot of women struggle with.
    I think the Caitlin Moran book has made a huge difference to many women - she puts it all so simply.
    I loved her book!

    We met at Action Aid and I didn't really have the chance to catch up properly.
    I've been pottering around your blog this morning and really enjoyed it.


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