This is what a feminist looks like

I’m quite well known as a feminist in my office.  Mostly as a bit funny – I’m not dreaming of a white wedding or going gooey over every baby, and don’t like being called a “girl”.

But recently, a couple of comments firstly made me question myself, and then realise that no, this is what a feminist looks like.

The night before our work Christmas party, I was madly rushing to leave the office at 5pm, and said “I have to leave on time tonight, I’ve promised to get home to finish the decorating so that I can party tomorrow”.  And someone said this was really funny – I say I’m a feminist, but then have to get home or get in trouble.
And then other anecdotes started being brought up – that I was wistuflly admiring a colleagues new short hair cut but wouldn’t do it myself as OH really loves my long hair. 
That I love ironing (I know, this is weird, but I find it very zen) and so my OH hasn’t used the iron since we moved in together.
That I often take my OH’s breakfast cereal up to him in bed.
That I do the Christmas cards for his family as well as mine.

So am I a bad feminist – talking the talk but not walking the walk?

I really don’t think so – I think this is what a feminist looks like.

A feminist doesn’t need to be single.  The fact that I’m in a heterosexual relationship, based on give and take really shouldn’t stop be being a feminist. 
Making our own deals over how we split the housework doesn’t make me less feminist. 
I like that he likes my hair.  So what?
I like sending Christmas cards, and I know they’re appreciated by his great aunts and grandma.  So why wouldn’t I send them?
I’m up early, and know he finds it tough to get going in the morning.  Does this make me not feminist?

A feminist doesn’t need to be dungaree-wearing, shaven-headed and living in a woman-only commune. 

I was reminded of the This is What a Feminist Looks Like campaign  from the Fawcett Society.  Feminism isn’t some wacky idea that makes me a little odd.  Feminism is about equality – something that we all should be fighting for.

I am living my life in a feminist way – this is what a feminist looks like.

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8 Comments on “This is what a feminist looks like”

  1. Vicky Brewster says:

    Absolutely agree. Being a feminist doesn’t mean that you abdicate the responsibility of taking an active and loving role in your relationship. Why on earth should it? Feminism is about being a woman and able to do whatever you want. If this includes writing and not cutting your hair, I really don’t see what effect this has on anyone but you and your partner 🙂

  2. Emm says:

    Great post! I’ve always appreciated your posts on feminism as they are inclusive in nature. We receive so many messages, from both feminists and the greater population, on what feminism isn’t that it is good to read an account and go “hey, me too!”

  3. Marly says:

    I agree. A feminist is a woman who looks and acts like a female while striving for equality between the sexes. In the past, feminists had to do some radical things just to be heard. The modern day feminist doesn’t have to give up what she loves about being female just to be heard. We women are the majority in the workplace now. We can be heard by the vast majority of us.

  4. jenniesue says:

    Thanks for your comments all of you, I’m really pleased this struck a chord and it’s not just me!

  5. Molly says:

    This is a case of your colleagues not understanding feminism, not you performing “feminist” badly. Being a feminist doesn’t exempt you from household chores. It doesn’t mean you don’t take care of your partner. It doesn’t mean you can’t like traditionally feminine things such as long hair, makeup or high heels. It *does* mean there is an equal give and take in a relationship. I’m sure there are things your partner does for you that you didn’t mention here. It also means thinking critically about how society expects us to perform gender and making decisions based on what *we* want, not a mold we’re supposed to fit into.

  6. Mandy Mitchell says:

    Great Post. I hope your colleagues learn from it. It brought to mind the family wife in Mary Poppins, (and then, more seriously, the sufferagettes) who left the house looking dressed up and neat, off to march the streets, as soon as Banker husband was home from work.

    Living feminism, noy just talking about it!

  7. Yeah. This is a good post. I feel like the difference between a 50s housewife and a feminist lady who looks and acts exactly like a 50s housewife is that the feminist is making a choice (and, in most cases, would quite like to be paid for the choice she made). The 50s housewife is just doing what she feels she has to do because society doesn’t offer her any other option, whether she wants to be a mountain climber or not. I’m sure if you asked your man to do the ironing, he would. 50s husband would drop his shot glass/pipe/Philanderer’s Monthly/the horn rimmed glasses he was cleaning.

  8. Jamie says:

    I look like a feminist and I have a penis.

    For me, feminism is simply the belief that men and women should be equal. It sounds like you do what makes you happy rather than doing something you don’t want to because of social stigma about gender. That sounds pretty feminist to me.

    Feminism is not anti-love. Feminism is not anti-sex. Feminism is not anti-men. Feminism is about freedom, not conformity. Feminism helps both men and women.


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