“Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who’s confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now.” – Joss Shedon
Everyday, I wake up and I am comfortable. Maybe not always in my own skin, but I am comfortable in knowing that I have a chance for a career, for children, for happiness ahead of me. I am privileged, lucky, fortunate, to live where I do and to know the people that I do. I am permitted an education, I exercise the right to choose whom I have relationships with, and I am also permitted to leave these relationships when I feel that it is necessary to do so. I am not forced to obey men, I can leave the house without a male relative present, I can drive, I can teach, I can be a doctor or lawyer, a politician or police woman, I can wear my own clothes (although these days what I can and cannot wear seems to be becoming strictly tailored by institutions around me) or choose to wear make up without asking a man. I can drink, go to parties, to festivals, and although I fear being raped, I do not fear it every moment of every single day.
Needless to say, I am very privileged… (and grateful for it) but what if I wasn’t?
What if I could not do all these things without a moment’s thought about doing them? What if my parents told me my marriage had already been arranged, to someone I had never met, who lives thousands of miles away from here, and is most likely much, much older than I am? How would I feel? How would any woman feel, if this was her reality?
The question is, how do these women feel? These women who everyday are subjected to violence, abuse, prejudice, oppression, misogyny, pain, sorrow, neglect, unhappiness? These women, who cannot speak for themselves because their voice has been shouted down so many times they can no longer use it? These women who sit and watch us privileged others in our large homes with the freedom to love and be loved and do as we please, yet choose that we don’t need feminism because we do not consider ourselves victims?
I cannot imagine how they feel. I cannot imagine the depths of their anger or frustration towards their situation, towards those who have instigated it, and others like me who sit idly by because we are not directly affected in the way that they are. I am extremely lucky, and I’ll never forget it.
So, to all the women who believe they that do not need feminism because they are strong, and independent, and they do not identify as victims, I say, I am glad for you. I am glad that you wake up each morning and you do not live in fear. I am happy that you have not been denied a life because you are a woman. But I do not stand with you. Let me ask you, if I have a functioning car that I do not need anymore because I don’t feel that I need a car, should I begrudge someone else from having this car, simply because I don’t want it? No. To you, that would seem like a waste, wouldn’t it?
So why do you feel that just because you don’t need feminism, it isn’t a valid and important movement? That it isn’t worth discussing? That isn’t worth fighting for? Wars have been started over less important causes. Because you, comfortable and independent woman, have decided that you don’t need feminism, the whole movement should stop in it’s tracks, and we should let male domination roll over us like a car over a raccoon on a main road?
Feminism is important. The feminist movement is a lifeline to women out there who cannot rely on those around them to make their lives less of a struggle. What we, the comfortable, free, privileged women do, will help those women who are not as fortunate as we are. It is us that they need to be their human rights campaigners. It is us who they need to show the world why women are not second class citizens. I hear your cries of “I don’t need feminism because it is a hate movement,” and I reply, please google the definition of feminism and see that you are wrong. Please open your mind, and you will see that feminism is not a hate movement, it has merely been grossly misconstrued and twisted by those few feminists who have extremely harmful and corrupting views, and believe me when I say it is the minority of feminists who promote these values. Believing that just because you are a feminist you promote hateful views of men and attack all women who don’t act like ‘proper feminists’ is like believing that all Muslims are terrorists. We both know that those stereotypes are ridiculous and disgusting. I admire the fact that you do not feel like victims and that you are empowered. I only wish all women could feel that way, and they will someday be able to, I hope, if only every woman on this earth would fight for what she deserves; the right to the kind of life of freedom that men currently enjoy.
In conclusion, and in answer to my title question, we need feminism because we demand, deserve, need, crave and slave for equality. Equality, as my chosen quote states, is not a concept; it is not a precious thing idealistic singers warble about whilst they get rewarded for having such radical thinking. It is not a gimmick used for successful advertising. It is the utmost thing we crave. Without equality or liberation, there will never be peace or happiness. I cannot imagine a world that does not have at least one voice that screams for all these things, and in the classic turn of phrase, there need only be one voice that speaks righteously amongst thousands of others that don’t, to bring about change. However, I still believe that change would come sooner, if only those thousands of other voices could learn to echo justice.