Gender identity and equality have been raising their ugly heads again lately so I feel compelled to revisit the subject. I recently bought a necklace that displays the word “Feminist”. It’s one of those dainty gold appearance, handwritten-type necklaces. I’ve had a couple of my young male friends squint at it and lean in to figure out what it says. Then come the eye rolls and condescending grins. It’s written all over their faces:
“Here she goes again, banging on about Feminism, hating men, playing the victim, burning her bra…”
No matter how many times I explain that feminism is just equality, these young men don’t seem to get it. Like literally dude, that’s it. It’s not man-hating, it’s not that I want to be treated better than you. I don’t want positive discrimination, I just want equality. When I try and talk about feminism, I think they feel like it’s a personal attack. It’s really not. I’m not blaming you as an individual for centuries of oppression. You aren’t the root cause. BUT and this is a big but, you do enjoy a better quality of life because of the inequality that exists. However, up to a point, so do I. I am white, I am able bodied, I live in a developed, liberal, country. I know that I have an easier ride than women in different countries or women of colour or women with a disability. It’s a fact, I accept it but I don’t take it personally. I haven’t created this system but I do want it to change.
Can we talk about gender identity for a second?
Lifehack: gender identity is socially constructed.
Like literally, it blows my mind that we’re still even debating this.
“Oh but my daughter chooses the pink pony over the blue car every time. That’s just her natural choice, I give her both options and I don’t influence her. She’s been that way since she was a baby.”
Sorry hun, you do influence her and so does the rest of society. A recent BBC programme, No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? showed just that. Subconscious and conscious messages are being fed to children from day one about what society deems to be acceptable for their sex.
Just before anyone gets it twisted, I am fully aware that women and men’s bodies are different. Trust me, I’m bisexual, I’ve explored both. Biology and gender are two different things. Biology is: I have a vagina. Gender is: society thinks I will be more emotional than a man because I have a vagina.
Being a woman isn’t one thing, in the same way being a man isn’t one thing. Being female it isn’t defined as looking and acting like the girls on Love Island*, but it also isn’t defined as looking and acting exactly like me. That’s the point, everyone is different and there is space in the world for the Love Island version of womanhood, in the same way, there is space for me. Also, neither is better or worse than the other.
How is it that there are more varieties of ice cream than there are humans? I know right, brain explosion time.
So can we please, for the love of Stephen Fry*, stop trying to categorize the 7.2 billion people on the planet into just two categories? THAT WE TOTALLY MADE UP. Seriously, it’s 2018.
For readers outside of the UK, who may need a little help with this week’s blog:
*Love Island: Popular British reality dating show where young, beautiful, single people move to a luxury paradise in the hope of finding love. What most of them are actually looking for is fame rather than love. It’s trash TV but I kinda love it.
*Stephen Fry: Popular British actor, comedian, writer, presenter, activist and national treasure. A suitable substitute for “God”. #justsayin