Every week, I seem to encounter something that niggles at my inner feminist, so I’ve decided that this sort of thing probably deserves a regular spot on my blog. Either it’s something infuriating which illustrates people’s misunderstanding of feminism, strong women who say they are definitely not a feminist, or simply another reason why feminism is still relevant in 2011. Whatever your understanding of the finer points of the feminist movement, surely most rational intelligent human beings agree that, ideally, all people should be able to go through life without their gender having a negative effect on their day-to-day life and experiences? Whether or not you believe that gender differences are often down to nurture rather than nature, it is difficult to ignore all the evidence that shows women getting a bit of a rough deal. However, what is mentioned less often is that much of this also has a great effect on men too.
Take societal expectations of childcare responsibilities which affect women’s career progression and pay, for example. This also has an affect on men who would like to care for their children but feel unable to, due to the fact that they are the higher earner or because many things – from maternity leave to baby changing facilities – are set up for mothers to be the primary care givers. At first glance, it looks like only women get a raw deal there, but the negative gender stereotypes can have effects in both directions. In my opinion, feminism’s point is that everyone should be treated the same way, regardless of gender. You many not like the name, but the idea’s a good one, right?
Image via natashalcd‘s Flickr photostream.