Feminism has been all over the news lately and if you haven’t heard about it, then you’ve most likely been living under a rock for your entire life as feminism as existed since before the suffragettes, even before Queen Elizabeth I, the most renowned feminist. However, very few understand what feminism actually is and there are many misconceptions that I feel need to be cleared. 

Do you believe in equality? Do you believe that people should not be afraid to go outside because of their fear of other? If so, you are a feminist. Many people seem to be afraid to admit that they are indeed a feminist due to the connotations that have arisen from it. Feminism was created so that all women and all girls would no longer be forced to live in the fear of being harassed and also for there to be equality in the workplace as there is no reason as to why women should be paid less than men for the exact same job, position and role. However, some men started worrying about women having ‘too much control’ and couldn’t lose control of their ‘inferiors’, so they decided to invent this new idea of ‘manism’, an unilateral which states that men are superior to women. On hearing this, many were aggravated as it showed that misconceptions has arisen from feminism and caused some to work in the opposite direction to the way they desired.

Too many girls live in constant fear of being harassed if they go out, either due to something that happened to them or from something they’ve heard. We are told to believe not everything that we hear, but at the same time you can’t help be listen to things that are so common: Girls getting catcalled and harassed, getting stared at uncomfortably, getting offers of being picked up in the car by strangers- those examples being the least bad of all that happens to the vast majority of women around the world. Additionally, in the news there seems to be a new sexual assault cases and more and more women are going to court to address an incident that may have happened years ago but only just gained the confidence to speak up. It is always encouraging to see the support given to the complainants and to the victims, but there is still very little being done about it.

Sexism is everywhere and you may not even realise it. In schools on mufti days , girls are told to not to wear anything that may ‘distract’ male students, including (but not limited to) shoulders and thighs, but why should this be? It’s understandable that during normal school days in sixth form why that is the case, as the purpose of the uniform is to look smart and be something one may wear to an interview, when girls do violate the dress code, the may be told that it’s too revealing or distracting for other students, which is not the correct way to deal with a matter such as this. Males should  also be taught not to harass girls when they are wearing something revealing as harassment is a choice- it can be helped, but instead the fault is put onto the girls for wearing something so ‘distracting’. How can we ever live in a just society when girls are being scrutinised for what they wear and blamed for sexual harassment? Would you blame a bee for stinging someone after the person kept trying to kill it and the bee had to use a defence mechanism that would kill itself anyway? Would you blame a toddler for crying? If you wouldn’t, then why blame girls for being harassed? Men should be taught to control themselves, rather than restrict girls.

Around the world there is still belief that the ‘woman’s place’ is not in the kitchen, it’s not doing the cleaning, it’s not staying at home having to ensure that their partner is looked after; it’s wherever she chooses to be. She can be a construction worker, a hairdresser, a lawyer or even an astronaut and if she wants to be a stay-at-home mum, then she can be- she can be anything, so long as it’s not forced upon her.

We now live in a world where almost anything is possible, so why should ones opportunities be limited based on gender?