'Oh god, are you one of those man-hating feminist bitches?'
Most women with a career have faced this question at some point, I get it quite often in its various forms. Whether it's a taxi-driver spending 40 minutes telling me how I better hurry up and have children before I get too old, or a man at Starbucks refusing to let me hold the door open for him, the social role I am expected to fulfill has been made startlingly clear, and any attempt to shirk this has been met with raised eyebrows.
So what does being a feminist mean?
I thought i'd compile a list of answers to some of the questions that've been thrown at me over the years.
1) No, I don't hate men. They are people and judged as such, rather than on the binary qualities of their genitalia.
2) I don't know if I want a family. But, for now, I do know my career comes first. This doesn't mean they're incompatible, I believe I could be both a great mother and a great actress at the same time (I know, the epitome of multi-tasking), but for now, I'm not really fancying it.
3) Marriage is a possibility, again, if/when I feel like it, but no, I won't be taking my partner's last name because I am not his property. Also, anyone that comes out of my vagina will be taking MY last name; I think it's only fair for the undue pain and money they will cost me.
4) My ideas around 'chivalry' and 'romance' are not tied inextricably to gender or sex. I'm bisexual, so the idea that a man has to open a door/pay the cheque is not only outdated but impractical. I don't need a knight in shining armour, I need a supportive and loving partner who values themselves and our life together.
5) Female objectification is NOT okay, but neither is male objectification. Nobody should be defined solely by the way they look, we all have more value than that.
Feminism is about equality between the sexes, not about one sex taking priority over the other. I don't believe myself to be any better than anyone else, but I do try to recognize and account for the privileges inherent in being a white queer feminist. In a world that is slowly being torn apart by right-wing nationalists, it's important that we stand up and speak out, not just on our own behalf, but on behalf of all those we believe we can help. For me, being a feminist is not about aggression or social destruction, but empowerment.
Check out my article for 52 feminists here!