FEMINISM HAS BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD FOR MANY YEARS AROUND THE WORLD. SAYING YOU ARE NOT FEMINIST BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE IN EQUALITY IS NONSENSE.
By Aliénor Godefroy and Laura Camila Ruiz (exchange & 4th semester undergraduate FIGRI student, Media Analysis elective)
As Emma Watson, the famous actress from the Harry Potter films, said in her UN Women’s speech “If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier”. The beginning of the feminist movement is considered to be in the 19th and 20th centuries with the political movement of suffrage: those women who were fighting for their right to vote. Feminism has also had other important periods, for example in the 60s when women were fighting for their sexual freedom. All of these liberation movements tried to fight against masculine domination (which does not mean being anti-men) and give us the equality that we deserve.
Even though her reasons were right for us because she talked about how she felt as it reopened the feminist debate in many countries, many people criticized Watson’s speech because of her “bourgeois” comments. To speak about the fact that you have to stop playing sport because of the fear that you’ll become too muscly seems a little ironic when you think about all the women who are not, for religious, economic or other reasons, free to practice any sport. When you’re French and you come here to speak about feminism, you may feel that your French feminist problems are light in comparison to those here. Nevertheless, it does not mean that the issues that French feminists have to face are superficial issues. It is only that every society has to face its own issues. There are issues that only concern some countries, like access to education for girls in developing countries, or all countries, like the gap between the average male and female salaries.
Living in a country where, even if you work more than men, your salary will be 20 percent less is not the only machismo problem that we have. We are raising women to believe in Disney World lifestyle goals. Nowadays, many girls want to find their ideal prince instead of finding themselves as successful businesswomen. We are forgetting our women’s history. Not all women have received the same rights but people keep thinking that being feminist is “too strong” and “too anti-men.”
We are not trying to make you change the way you think and the way you live your life. It is okay to expect to have the same job opportunities. It is okay to decide with whom you will have sex. It is okay to try to make your life better as women and expand the possibilities (for men as well). Feel free to speak out when somebody is violating your rights and feel free to express your opinion. Remember, feminism is about equality for both genders. This is about freedom.