Tuesday, 26 August 2014

This thing about feminism

Sometimes I feel like I'm blind when this subject is raised. There's a lot that I still don't notice and a lot that I take for granted. The things I take for granted are usually the reason why I feel blind, because I haven't seen any of that growing up, not in Sweden, and for some reason I expect other Swedes to have had the same experience as me. Although, I know they won't have and expecting so is against my better judgement.

So what are my own experiences?

I grew up with parents who shared every chore. They shared cleaning, cooking, gardening, laundry, and serviceing the car(s). My dad usually cooked during our special Friday night dinners, cause Mum thought he did it better. Both of them worked even when my sister and I were really young. My dad used vacation days to extend his parental leave so that he could be home with baby me and baby sister as much as my mum could. My mum worked part-time and studied while my sister and I were young. A few years back she was the parent who earned the most money. They shared picking us up after daycare or school and taking us to after school activities. Basically I've grown up with very equal parents. Grandparents then? Both of my maternal grandparents worked, even when my mum was little. And although I can see some of the classic dividing of chores between them, I still consider them pretty equal for their time. I don't know how my paternal grandparents worked together since my pat. grandfather died before I was born. But I do know that my pat. grandmother worked. No housewives here.

Growing up I could play just as much with Lego as I could with dolls. I got both kinds for birthday presents and Christmas gifts. I've wanted my hair long for as long as I can remember, but it still wasn't a disaster those times I got my hair cut short. I had both boy and girl friends, and I spent a lot of time both running around with sticks pretending they were guns, and dressing up my Barbies. I still have more guy friends than girl friends. But I've already talked about how I don't really fit into the girl stereotype. 
 Tokyo 2010: Both pictures are of me

So you can see that I never thought about anything like feminism until I was in my 20's. But talking to other girls about feminism I've learned a lot and started to notice things I didn't before. I'm not completely blind anymore, and I've realised that although Sweden is one of the most equalised countries in the world, we still have some ways to go. We still need feminism.

So why do I need it?

I've never considered myself to be pretty until later years and thus I never noticed if guys looked at me in a certain way, because I was so sure they wouldn't. But now I can notice guys eyeing me. I'm going to keep this Swedish, otherwise I would've told you about all the little things that happened at the jam-packed trains of Tokyo underground. I've met guys at the bar who just couldn't take no for an answer when I tell them I'm not interested. Lucky for me I never go out without my bf and the only way to shut most of them up is if he snogs me. That gets the message across. A simple 'no' should do it. But it doesn't. That's why I need feminism.

  • I need feminism because although I'm not expected to stay at home after I'm married in this country, I'm still not expected to do as well as if I were a man. Some of the mentality that a man is a failure if his wife does better than him also lingers here. 
  • I need feminism because I want my future husband to be able to have the right to as much parental leave as I do. 
  • I need feminism because I don't want it to be an insult to do something "like a girl". I don't want degrading words for 'vagina' to be the most common insults thrown at people. 
  • I need feminism because I want every girl to own her own body. That goes for men too. I want everyone to have the right to own their own bodies. Girls shouldn't have to shave or wear make-up or have long hair to be considered pretty. And guys should be able to wear make-up, long hair and skirts without being considered weak. "Feminine" and "gay" aren't insults. 
  • I need feminism because I want gay couples and single women to be able to adopt children more easily. It's easy for (most) straight couples to have babies whenever they like, but if you're not straight and not a couple, then it's a trial. The concept of 'family' has changed. This is 2014, not 1914. 
  • I need feminism because, although I can exploit it, I don't want there to be any need for gender quotation in businesses. There should be a sort of equal amount of men and women in every business. Male nurses or kindergarten teachers shouldn't be laughed at, and female fire fighters or construction workers shouldn't be laughed at either. 
  • I need feminism because Sweden is yet to have a female prime minister, and because it's almost 300 years since Sweden had a queen as head of state. 
  • I need feminism because the gaming industry is way to sexualised and female armour takes the prize in non-functionality. 
  • I also need feminism because the sizes of clothes are crazy. I can wear my bf's t-shirts in size M and they fit perfectly, sometimes they even are a bit too big. But my own t-shirts has to be size L or XL for them to fit. No wonder it's usually girls who have trouble with their bodies and get eating disorders if their clothes trick them into thinking they're big.

Hello, I'm size XL
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There's a deep misunderstanding what feminism is and what it stands for. Feminism stands for equality of all. It's not about women wanting women to be better than men. It's not about women wanting to turn the patriarchy into a matriarchy. It's about people (both men and women and in-between) who want everyone to be equal and have equal rights, responsibilities and expectations. It's about people wanting women to have as loud a voice as men, it's about people wanting LGBT+ to have the same rights as straight people.

Feminism doesn't ignore the fact that men sometimes are repressed too, but it's far more common that women are repressed and that fact takes a bigger role.

I play games like a girl. Because I am a girl.

4 comments:

  1. Good thoughts and comments! I could´t have said it better myself. :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my! jättebra och peppig lista och tal!
    Blev rätt sugen på att göra min lista nu D: Men a, pepp jag blev! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hihi, tack :)
      Bara säger vad jag tycker. Det mesta skrapar bara på ytan av vad feminismen behöver göra. Men jag anser att det är lättare att börja på de stora grejerna och sen jobba sig ner till detaljerna :)

      Delete

What's the first thought in your head after reading this? Let me know!