‘Isms are so emotive. Nobody wants to be seen as being prejudiced against a section of society. Discrimination is simply not cool.
Call someone a racist and they will leap to their own defence, profusely spouting anecdotal evidence backing up their colour-blind attitude to skin colour.
Similarly, suggest that someone is homophobic and they will start listing off all the friends that they have had over the years whose sexual orientation proves that this is simply not the case.
Elitist, fatist, ageist, classist, religion-ist, heightist, – it’s not fair, or openminded, or ‘modern’ to think that anyone is better than anyone else. And most people, as we have already suggested, would bend over backwards to prove that they do not have these prejudices running through their minds.
However, call someone a feminist – which, in contrast, does not mean you are prejudiced against females, but that you are pro-equality – and they will, perversely, often react in the same rejecting way.
So let’s get this straight. You believe people from different races should be treated equally. You are unracist and proud of it.
And you are very against fatism – you believe at job interviews people should not be judged on the size of their thighs, but meritocractically – on their personality, character and skills.
And you are strongly unclassist. After all, it’s not only the rich who are hugely talented – you’ve seen The X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent, and Champ of the Camp. There are gifted people everywhere and it is a tragedy if people’s talents and gifts lie undiscovered simply because of their family’s financial/social status. People should have the same crack at the whip, no matter where they are from. It is what is wrong with the world – that where a person is born largely dictates their opportunity to be successful. Hopefully in the future that will change.
But you are not a feminist?
Why is it that the word that means ‘pro-gender equality’ is as distasteful and shameful as the word that means ‘pro-racial discrimination’?
What is it about gender equality exactly that you don’t like?
Shall we bring back the social shackles that restricted your grandmother and great-grandmother, and their great-grandmothers before them, from achieving their potential or having the freedom to create a life path of their own?
Shall we stop the campaigns against female genital mutilation and bring back corsets and feet-binding?
Shall we start taking our young daughters out of school – stop wasting money on their education, and train them on how to be good wives?
Shall we tell them that they are less? That everyone in the world is equally important and special, except for her? That her reason for being is to create more men?
Well, by all means go ahead. But that’s not the message I want to pass on to my children. I believe women and men are as good as each other and deserve the same respect and opportunities in life. It’s not about being pro-women, or anti-men. It’s about appreciating both sexes in their own right.
I’m a feminist. Because I have a daughter and a son. And because I love them both equally.