Strathclyde Telegraph

The gender inequality taboo

By Bethany Tourish

 

In light of recent blatantly sexist comments made on social media and in the press during International Women’s Day – people asking the need for it and why there was not a male equivalent – I felt it was important to address a few issues regarding gender inequality. Firstly, I would like to point out that there is an International Men’s Day on the 19th of November. Secondly, if having a specific day is not enough, the remaining 363 days can also be regarded as International Men’s day.

Now that is cleared up I need to move over to a subject of taboo. The mention of the word sends shivers down the spine of many. Nobody wants to be one. Or know one.

A feminist. Someone who hates men, burns bras and has long armpit hair.

This image of feminism is one that many still cannot seem to get their head around. Declaring oneself as a ‘feminist’ makes the individual, and those around them, feel awkward and uncomfortable. With the risk of sounding ironically sexist, this, in my humble experience, mostly comes from, but not limited to, men.

Do I blame them? Feminism comes with so many negative connotations and the classic men-bashing image is so closely associated with what it means to be a feminist. Is it any wonder that so many people are uncomfortable with this concept? I’m not so sure. Why? Because we are living in 2016. Gender liberation is not a new concept – there has been plenty of time to grasp it and adjust accordingly.

However, I intend to give those of you who are still unsure the benefit of the doubt. The image of a feminist can be frightening and therefore difficult to shift. With that in mind I have drafted a questionnaire to help you decipher whether you are a feminist or not. It is a short survey so please take the time to complete.

Questionnaire:

  1. Do you believe that men and women should be treated equally?*

YES NO

If you answered no then I suggest you run. Run to the nearest DIY shop and find a spade. A spade large enough to re-dig that hole that you have so clearly emerged from.

For the rest of you — congratulations! If you did not already know then you are a feminist! It really is that simple. Tell your friends, update your Facebook profile and shout it from the rooftops — you are a feminist. A modern day feminist.

You believe that, regardless of what’s between your legs, you should be taken at face value and treated equally and with given respect. You believe that men and women doing the same job should be paid the same wage. You believe that men should have fair treatment in family courts and that women should not be given custody just ‘because she is a women’. You believe that women should be able to walk down the street without fear of sexual harassment. You believe that the stigma around male mental health has to be tackled. You believe it is wrong that young girls are sent abroad to undergo genital mutilation.

You question why women make up 51% of the population but only 30% of the elected members of parliament are women. You question why girls consistently outperform boys in school but are, on average, paid less than their male counterparts in later life. You question why we brush over these issues.

You will no longer ignore these issues because you believe in fairness, equality and justice. You are a feminist after all.

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