Isn’t it amazing that women are still needing to ask to be recognised as equals in this modern world when supposedly we’ve made progress in leaps and bounds over the past century. Feminism is still current. Feminism isn’t a dirty word. Feminism simply means to champion for gender equality. It’s not just for women – it’s a word with meaning for men also.
I was prompted to write this post after reading an article in the The Telegraph written by Gaby Wood commenting on the famed Gloria Steinem and an interview conducted by Emma Watson in London. Emma I’ve decided is a young woman to watch. Her recent choices to front the United Nations He for She campaign illustrates intelligence behind how she wants to be perceived in the world – or more importantly how she’s chosen to use her public persona to educate and influence change for women, taking the enlightened blokes along with her.
Gloria, on the other hand is a lauded Journalist, Author and Activist truly in her prime beyond her 70’s. Some of the interesting aspects from Gloria’s interview reached out to me, quite glaringly, in that I have faced in my later life inequality, sexism, the boys club and downright misogynistic bullying. I’m quite shocked to find myself in this modern day defending my position, opinions and actions. How can this be?
It seems far more prevalent today than when I was in my 20’s in a career in the fashion and textiles game which was predominantly ruled by men. Gloria sheds light on why potentially I didn’t notice it so much in my mid-twenties. She suggests it has a lot to do with a lack of life experience at that age and as you get older you get more radicalised as you recognise the inequity of it all and start to use that maturity to agitate for change. So that’s the head space I find myself. Raging against what is simply unfair putting my voice to the cause for education. The more I learn the more I can see how sexism has been so subtle most of us continue to shrug it off but then how does change take affect if we do this? The dictionary meaning of sexism: prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. It goes on to say “sexism in language is an offensive reminder of the way the culture sees women”. You won’t be surprised to know one of the synonyms is Chauvanism.
Gloria assists us to notice these differences in equality in a basic way. To quote Gloria from Gaby’s story:
Do you, as a woman, feel as safe in the street as a man would? Do you feel your body is okay in the same way a man would, without alteration? These are simplistic notions but we all know they make us well aware things are not as good for women even in our glorious NZ back yard.
If the United Nations felt compelled to launch a He for She for gender equality targeting the supposedly educated modern world and organisations like www.soul.kiwi are popping up we need to agree there is a problem and get on with educating all our lovely blokes and women in our own backyards. It’s education of both sexes that will gain us gender equality.
I’m excited that Gloria Steinem is coming to Auckland for the Writers Festival. Here’s to us women, we are the start point for change. We don’t rage against our men, but we do need to be more aware of achieving equality in our daily lives as well as in the work place. If Hugh Hefner can dispose of the nudity in Playboy, then change can certainly happen.
Image: Gloria Steinem in 1965 CREDIT: GETTY/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION
Category: Inspiring Women