Not All Feminists Wear Birkenstocks

Thank god for Emma Watson! Finally the myth of Birkenstock wearing lesbian hippy man-hating feminists has been dispelled.

For the record it shouldn’t matter who the speaker is and most certainly it should not matter what shoes they wear nor what their sexual orientation is. The message should be enough, but sometimes is just isn’t and I for one feel that until now there has not been a speaker to whom I can relate, which is a real issue for the feminist movement.

I didn’t realise I was a feminist until many heated debates with my other half Mr Mac. He ‘generally’ doesn’t like feminists but does agree that gender inequality is wrong. And I can definitely see where his dislike stems from as some extreme feminists take the point a little too far, and in a world where political correctness is steadily going nuts, I think prioritising battles is important.

In London I tried to climb the corporate ladder eventually working in Finance in London and I experienced gender inequality and sexism first hand. In my client facing roles my female form was used many times by my management to woo new business and win contracts. It was made very clear what my role was and the male management capitalised on my inexperience and inferior role to make the most out of me. I was doing the same work as my male counterparts but was being paid substantially less. Man was I spitting feathers when I found out! This happens all over the world and is quite simply bloody ludicrous.

But then on the other end of the scale I hear that a woman has refused to continue working in the civil construction industry until the plumbing term ‘man-hole’ is changed to be gender equal. Really?
Yes there are many small inequalities that are important to the bigger picture, however some are bore from historical context rather than chauvinism and is such a drastic offensive taken by this woman hindering the feminist movement? I think so.

If feminists want to win this war they need to be smart, not extreme. Intelligence is a far superior weapon than a brazen affront. I’m sure many people are reading this thinking sometimes extreme measures are necessary but I guess my point is not hostile ones. Think big, yes, but be smart.

Speeches such as that delivered by Emma Watson at the UN Campaign #HeForShe in New York, breaks down the fundamental principals of feminism but more importantly educated people by showing them how it affects them – specifically how feminism impacts men and how men can be feminists. Education is key!

Mr Mac and I often discuss our future family plans and how we will raise them – it is important to us that not only will our girls be strong but our boys will be sensitive. As a strong woman myself I feel confident to raise any girls we may be fortunate to have but I think boys are something we will really need to work at. Our families unfortunately preach that age old crap that boys must be macho men that aren’t afraid to fight. Literally. I want our boys to be free from this pressure, so that they grow into themselves – whether that’s sensitive, strong, sensory or even bolshy! If my son wants to be a ballet dancer or a boxer we will both be behind him 100%.

In the world we live in today is it not more important to raise respectful, kind caring and responsible children? Who cares if my little girl wants to be a mechanic. As long as she is happy and she is loved. Who cares if my little boy wants to be a make up artist? Who has the right to tell him that that is wrong? No-one.

The backlash Emma Watson has received, following her speech, from Internet trolls threatening to hack her accounts and publish nude photos just shows how society is failing on these core qualities. The world needs to refocus on what makes a person good and especially in the workforce it should be hard work that deserves recognition and reward, not gender or image.

Wake up everyone and start being mindful of how you treat others. Get educated and follow the #HeForShe campaign, as gender inequality affects us all. If you can’t do it for strangers, do it for yourself, for your family and for your parents. And in the words of Emma Watson ask yourself:

“If not me, who? If not now, when?”

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  1. That Emma Watson is a feminist is bad enough. That women are brainwashed into thinking they need feminism for “equality” is even worse. Pay gap is a myth, women have affirmative action on their side, and they already control he narrative of oppression. Women aren’t equal, they’re transcendent above men in rights and priviliged. Ms. Watson is rich, smart, beautiful, and hugely successful. Nobody oppressed her in her rise to stardom, and she is neither oppressed nor able to be oppressed now. Feminism for her is like adding sugar to a triple-shot caramel macchiato – she gets to promote a useless social cause to people who already agree with her.

    You can be like every internet feminist out there, getting irate at all the “microaggressions” and “misogyny” that allegedly permeates the Western world, getting hung up on stupid image stereotypes like clog-stomping Birkenstock feminists (though the stereotype exists for a reason – those people exist). Or do something really novel, advocate greater equality for women in the world who don’t have it.

    The Middle Easy is particularly rife there. If feminists stopped grinding on about mansplaining or manspreading or scientists wearing distasteful shirts long enough..hell, think of all that wasted energy directed into something useful!

    1. As I pointed out in my article I do not necessarily label myself as a feminist, in fact it was my husband that labelled me so. Just because I relate to the equality issues through my experiences in the work force in my ‘Western’ upbringing, does not mean I do not advocate women’s rights elsewhere – you shouldn’t make that assumption. And quite frankly if I feel I want to fight for what I consider to be unfair or unjust, who is anyone else to tell me that it is not a worthy cause?

      I saw merit in Ms Watson’s use of her fame to shed light on a GLOBAL issue, using a GLOBAL platform that is the United Nations – I do not feel her oppression would legitimise her message and if that were the criteria for campaigning for the oppressed I don’t think the cause would get too far, do you? Every time a celebrity campaigns for something, people are so quick to ignore the positives and jump straight to the negatives. Yes they may be in a privileged position but would you be happier if they didn’t do anything to help at all? Or more to the point why are we shifting focus away from the message to dispute the motivations of the speaker? It didn’t cheapen the message, it made it common discourse, which is often the catalyst for change in society.

      I understand your point of view and appreciate you taking the time to share it. Thank you

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