Of Course I'm a Bloody Feminist

Some things should be so obvious as to never need an explanation. Like wanting to eat everything in sight when you're hungover, or deciding if you want to watch a film starring Will Smith.

If anybody asked me whether I was a feminist, I'd say the same thing. Of course I eat my bodyweight in McDonald's after a heavy night out. Of course I've seen Wild Wild West more times than I care to remember. And of course I'm a bloody feminist.

To me, the fact that there even has to be a movement by that name is cause for dismay. I can't imagine anybody not identifying with its underlying principles.

Still, I'd be lying if I said I didn't think feminism had an image problem, becoming a cause du jour of sorts among the intelligentsia and the chattering classes. When asked to describe a typical feminist,most people on the street (if you allow me to make such a general presumption) would probably (and wrongly) imagine a perpetually angry, man-hating young student with a nose-ring and multi-colored hair barraging you with a megaphone.

And these stereotypes are a real shame, because there is just as much reason for feminism today as there was when the Equal Franchise Act was passed in 1928. We have come a long way on paper, but it seems our mindsets are slow for turning.

Female university graduates are, on average, paid £8,000 less than their male counterparts. 15 million girls were forced into marriage throughout the world in the last year alone. Recent statistics found that there were less women (seven, in fact) chairmen of FTSE 100 companies than men named John (seventeen). I could write a whole article on the statistics alone, but hopefully you get the point.

When I hear people disparage feminism, I think of my mum who works two jobs every day and hasn't stopped since getting a job in a stitching factory when she was 16 (whilst managing to feed and clothe 4 kids in the the same time, although dad did a fair bit to help out with that of course). I think of my girlfriend, one of the most dedicated and intelligent women I've ever met, working her fingers to the bone and making strides in her career. I think of my sister qualifying as a teacher, going on to shape the future of thousands of young people in what I have no doubt will be a rewarding and fruitful service to her community. I think of the mothers, daughters, aunts and nieces who want nothing more than just to be on an equal footing, who demand nothing more than to be treated equitably with their male counterparts.

And I think then of those who believe feminists are nothing more than a bunch of sour-faced, humourless whiners. There is always room for debate, of course. I enjoyed this thought-provoking piece by Janet Broomfield, for instance.

But I can't understand why anybody wouldn't want equal rights irrespective of gender, or equal pay, or equal treatment. For our mums, our daughters, our sisters -- it's time to nail your colors to the mast. So of course I'm a bloody feminist. And of course you bloody well should be too.