Guest writer Jodie Stone

It’s no secret that we live in a male dominated society, and it’s perhaps as a result of this that the word “feminist” is so often hissed out as a dirty word…

But, the people who view feminism in such a negative light simply misunderstand the feminist objective. We strive to acheive gender equality, and the step we must take to reach this end is to liberate women and validate their continual contribution to a socitey that has continually failed them.

The sad reality is that women have always been the underdogs of the human race, working twice as hard to get half as far, and getting considerably less pay for equal work, for no logical reason at all. Too long we’ve allowed this backwards thinking to dominate society, and we let it continue, heedless of the fact that each and every one of us is here as a direct result of a woman’s strength.

There are most likely many mysogynist men and  – to a lesser extent – women out there who abide by the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality. But it’s a poor, out-dated excuse, and does them no favours when you look at the larger picture. That way of thinking merely implies that men are slaves to their baser instincts, and are nothing more than primal urges and cave-man tendencies. It’s a dehumanizing and insulting way to think of the male populace, but it’s undoubtedly the impression people give when they insist that ‘boys will be boys’ in their attempt to dismiss shows of chauvinistic behaviour.

Women’s opinions are constantly dismissed and undermined. If a woman is self-assured and assertive, she’s a bitch. Yet, if a man is self-assured and assertive then he’s authorative or a go-getter. If a woman enjoys a full, healthy sex-life she’s a slut or a whore, but if a man enjoys the same, then he’s a stud.

If a man shows vulnerabilities he’s considered “weak” or “girly”, and these things are viewed as synonymous. Regardless of musical taste, no one can deny that One Direction have taken the world by storm, they’ve broken multiple records, and have earned more money than most of us could dream of, yet because their fanbase is predominately comprised of teenage girls, people view their success as somehow lesser.  We need feminism so that men can be free to enjoy rom-coms and the colour pink without ridicule. We need feminism so that women’s opinions are validated.

Women have atrosciously been viewed as conquests and prizes, and this way of thinking has resulted in the perverse reality that is ‘rape culture’, in which, if a young girl is sexually assaulted what she was wearing is considered more valid than her age, but if a man is sexually assaulted by a woman he is told he should be ‘glad he got laid’. We need feminism so that victims can step forward and speak out, and trust that they will receive justice. The existence of rape culture, especially in regards to female victims who don’t see justice, also results in men being painted in a bad light. For if even a few men can get away with such heinous crimes, then many women will become wary of any advances, regardless of how innocent the intent. We need feminism so that women can feel safe and open themselves up to new friendships and partners. We need feminism so that good men can say or do nice things without being second-guessed, without their motives being questioned or their intentions doubted.

We need feminism because on average a woman goes through 240 tampons/sanitary towels annually, and they cost £3 for a pack of 16, whilst contraception is free (or at the very least considerably cheaper). Sex is a choice, the menstrual cycle is biology. We need feminism because when I brought this point up to my mother she responded with “but men have troubles too, they have to wear shirts and ties in stuffy offices on hot days and women can wear skirts”, and she considered these dilemmas in equal measure.

We need feminism because when a man three times my age groped my backside at a bar, my friend insisted he was “only joking”, and I was told I’d be thrown out if I followed through on my threat to throw my beer over him, yet no one felt the need to scold him, and remind him that I’m not his property.

We need feminism because when a man cheats, the women turn on each other, instead of realising that neither of them need him to complete them, and he’s not worth fighting for, because for some reason too many women think they’re only worth something if they have a man.

We need feminism because we know that “not all men are the same”, but enough of them are. This way of thinking did not manifest itself over night, but is rather the eventual result of so many wrong-doings against women that we’ve become collectively cautious. It’s not fair for women to have to fight to be validated, and it’s not fair for good men to have to fight to prove that they’re good, when they’ve done nothing wrong.

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