You might not associate a feminist with a woman dancing at a bar in a bikini for cash.
But hold your bras because that scantily clad dancer is me and, I am also a huge feminist.
To me feminism is about women being treated equal to men, it is about having the same rights as men, whilst still giving me the choice of how I live my life.
It is not about hating men, it is about loving women and celebrating their strength in such adversity.
Why should there be an International Women’s Day?
I hear it every year: “Well if you have a women’s day, we want a men’s day.” (It reminds me of the argument of when my family and I celebrate Pride, the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Trans Gender festival), “why isn’t there a straight pride?”
I wish I didn’t have to explain, but here is WHY WE NEED WOMEN’S DAY (from my own personal experience):
- We need it more than ever as it is a very dark time for equality at the moment. We pass off sexism, misogyny and abuse as “locker room chat.” But those words do lead to actions. Believe me, I know.
- When I first tried to ‘make it in the media’ I was told that my voice was “too high pitch.” And don’t get me started on the casting couch.
- I attended a feminist conference on sexual abuse and I took my newborn baby in a sling as she was exclusively breastfeeding. I was kicked out of that event by the male organiser in case I “put off” any of the speakers.
- As a dancer, I have endured a whole load of abuse.
- As a businesswoman, c0-running my own media company we often get passed off by men as just “girls playing” with technology, until they see the results.
- Now being a mum, I have faced yet more barriers, as society doesn’t quite know what to do at the moment with pregnant women and mums.
- I am the mother of two daughters, aged 2 and 5, and I want them to be able to fulfil their dreams rather than what their gender allows.
And the situation is even worse in many parts of the globe with women being denied basic human rights.
So hell yes, I am supporting International Women’s Day 2017 and beyond. And this year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange.
I was lucky enough to speak at one of the many events being put on to celebrate such a day, with keynote speaker Mary Creagh MP who described how just last week she was called “hysterical” in parliament by Chancellor Philip Hammond (hysterical/hysteria dates back to women’s bodies).
Here are some of the highlights from the event held at the National Coal Mining Museum of England, organised by Ali Bullivent. The video was made totally by females – my best friend Daria Nitsche and I (we run evokemediagroup.co.uk):
Jen of LennaRose.com, says: “It’s a day which is close to my heart as I feel so close to the struggles facing women in modern day.
The objectification of women and everyday sexism comes to mind so easily. I can reel off a long list of inappropriate behaviour by men towards myself and those I care about including sexual violence, harassment and everyday throwaway remarks and actions from people who otherwise don’t think that they are remotely sexist.”
Jenna Newell of devonmama.com says:
“I think it’s important to have a day to focus on empowering women and equality but I also find the idea grates on me slightly. Why if we’re all for equality isn’t there an International Man’s Day? Surely if men were to go around promoting that, there’d be outrage (maybe there is and I’ve just missed it!). It raises awareness for women’s rights issues so clearly is needed but it’s when it gets to things like ‘send a card to women you love this International Women’s Day’ that I think it’s all a bit… off.”
Heather Sweeney of Wakefield Mumbler says:
“International woman’s day is important to me because there are women all over the world that are still fighting a losing a battle against gender inequalities. When I hear my daughter saying things like “I can’t do that because I’m a girl” or “girls don’t do that” It makes my blood boil, I know she hasn’t learned that from us as parents. I genuinely believe that within the media and television programs for children there are so many subliminal messages about what girls and boys should be like.
Whenever I hear her say these things I make a real effort to explain why that’s not true. So I celebrate any day when the media and the world around us send out the message to girls that they have as much right to do what they want as boys. It’s just such a shame that we still have to!”