Sunday, 9 March 2014

Let's Talk About SEX(ism)

Image Source: Madison Reid

Things are getting serious on the blog today, but please do not see that as a reason to not read on. However, if you are triggered by mentions of sexual assault or sexism then discretion is advised.
I have something really important to share to you all.

I wanted to write an absolutely fantastic piece for International Women's Day which was celebrated this week. The truth is that there are no words that can adequately sum up the international plight of the female sex. Domestic abuse, forced marriage, sexual abuse; these are just a select few of the atrocities that women are faced with. Now before you say anything, I recognise that these are hardships that any gender can encounter, and that is disgusting. The sad truth, however, is that women have been oppressed in a way that men haven't. Though I do realise that this often adds a stigma to men expressing that they have been a victim of sexism, which can be extremely difficult.

It's tough to sum up both the international struggles of women alongside the ones that are closer to home, which both still exist today (for some more examples I encourage you to check out Everyday Sexism). Many people fail to recognise that despite legislation in the UK, people who experience sexism are often not as protected as we would like to think. For example, if a woman is raped she is often asked about what she was wearing, drinking or doing and if it warranted the attack, even by the police. Plus, laws regarding rape do not legally recognise that the attacker could be any gender other than male, which of course is not true.

I like to think that in the future we will reach gender equality; look at the achievements of the last century. Women in the UK now have the right to vote, the right to fight for their country and the right to equal pay. As I keep mentioning though, I do not believe that this is solely a woman's battle. I believe that to reach gender equality we need to stop seeing gender as a 'man vs woman' affair. Men can be victims as well as women, and genders besides male/female exist too (e.g. transgender). Personally, I have found that feminism is the best way to sum up my beliefs.

Feminists come in all shapes and sizes with a range of beliefs, but this is the definition of feminism in its simplest form. I personally believe in a feminism where nobody is excluded, regardless of their gender. I do not hate men. I have been in a happy relationship with one of them for the past year and a half. However I do wear a bra and I do shave my legs, but if I meet somebody that chooses not to, that's OK too because it's their choice.

As far as I'm concerned that's what it really comes down to; we should all have the right to a choice. You can choose to wear a burka, bikini or basketball shorts. You can choose to be a housewife/husband, a high-flying businessperson or a fast-food server. You can have safe. consentual sex with a hundred people or remain a virgin until your death.
Everybody should have the ability to make that choice themselves. I know it's idealistic, but nobody ever got anywhere without an ideology.

This post hasn't been easy to write, but I think it's the most important one that I've written so far. I suppose I thought that it was time to use my voice for something that can really change the world. I don't know exactly how, and I don't have the answers, but if you have something worth saying then I think that it's important to shout it from the rooftops. Or computer screen.

What are your personal views on gender equality?
Please be kind to each other in the comments.

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