Phoebe Radford chats to Elliot Sparrow, a third-year student with a fashion labelWritten by Phoebe Radford on 22nd November 2017
Issue: New Feminism – and you don’t have to burn your bra to believe in it
IN a recent seminar, my tutor asked us if we thought feminism was still relevant for the way we live today
IN a recent seminar, my tutor asked us if we thought feminism was still relevant for the way we live today. She explained that 'in her day' the feminist voice could be heard loud and clear, whether it was in terms of arguing for equal pay in the workplace, or in education, or just for the right for society to be generally more of a level playing field.
These days, the voice of women seems to have been quelled a little. Is it because we have achieved the equality campaigned for by previous generations? Well, kind of. I mean, universities now have pretty much equal statistics in terms of the girl/boy ratio (in fact Birmingham University is slightly over dominated by girls 56/44 – good news for the guys) and plenty of us girls will go on to graduate and enjoy good careers. Later in life we will probably have the choice, (what a privilege), to work or to become a stay-at-home family woman. We are, apparently, the generation of women who 'have it all.' Have we become complacent?
Because there's more to the meaning of 'sexual equality' than just some statistics about the working world, realistically there is still a lot of difference socially in the ways it is 'acceptable' for boys and girls to act; something that is hard to imagine will ever change. It's a cliché, but girls will always be slandered for acts boys are praised for; the most obvious example of this is promiscuity. In freshers, a guy who has a one night stand on the first night of arriving has immediately established himself as 'having game', and gained some serious man points. A girl who does that? Ooh. I'm afraid you're going to have to spend the rest of the term, at least, in complete celibacy in order to lose the tag of 'resident slag' you immediately gained.
The whole point of the feminist movement originally was the right to act and be treated the same as our male counterparts, and this has not been achieved. I won't hold my breath for change though; at the end of the day these are standards we've all been brought up to believe, and I remain satisfied in the knowledge that no guys could put up with the general hassles and pain that girls do. (Waxing, childbirth... not a nice idea, is it?)
In my opinion, being a feminist doesn't have to mean hating men, burning your bras and refusing to make an effort to look nice so as to not be sexually objectified. It just means believing there should be the same set of rights and rules for both sexes, and that a girl shouldn't have to be so worried about the perception of her behaviour, when a guy wouldn't think twice about it.