pink

I’m tired of fighting.

I’m a 20-year-old woman in her final semester of university, and in my spare time I write and edit for this website that I started almost a year ago. I haven’t posted much recently for two reasons: firstly, I’ve been working on a dissertation among a few other deadlines at university, and secondly, I’m exhausted.

My friends all like to wind me up for being a feminist. They like to tell me about stupid things people have said who claim to be feminist but aren’t (if you hate men, you’re not a feminist, so if you would kindly stop dragging the rest of us down, I’d be grateful). I have colleagues too, everyone enjoys telling me about stupid things ‘feminists’ have done, or how they enjoy taking them down online. Obviously, for them, it’s very funny, but for me, it’s wearing. I always clarify what feminism is and why I believe in it, but it doesn’t stop it. 

“Power to the Girls”

When I see girls, particularly younger girls and teens wearing t-shirts that say anything feminist, I smile. I’m so glad that the work of previous generations won’t end, and I’m hopeful that the future will be better. But I’m also not an idiot. I know full well that some minds won’t be changed. I know that Trump isn’t going to come out tomorrow and say ‘Gee those feminists are on to something’, nor are the Daily Mail going to cover female politicians saying ‘aren’t these women smart and powerful’ instead of talking about their legs (don’t get me started).

I know we aren’t equal. We don’t think equal. And I can’t help but agree with Emma Watson in thinking that we won’t be equal. I don’t see equality in my lifetime. I’d love to, but if it took a woman getting crushed by a horse to get us the bloody vote, I dare not ask what it would take to get where we want to be. 

I’m a feminist. I don’t really care about my personal equal pay because I’m paid the same as my male colleagues, but I care about the statistics suggesting black women lose out on almost 40% of white men’s wages1234. It’s not about me, but I still care about it. I raise an issue with men’s pressure to be manly and unemotional as it leads to dangerous numbers of suicides and mental health issues. I struggle with the international treatment of women such as FGM, truancy because of periods, rape, child marriage, and so on. It’s not something I will experience in this country, so should I just turn a blind eye? No, because I’m not an arsehole. This is deathly important and we’re all just making out like it’s not our problem.

The skirt in question…

I face issues in this country that anger me on a daily basis. It was the hottest weekend of the year so far recently so naturally, I wore a skirt, but with trainers and a long sleeve top. That didn’t matter though, legs were visible, so three different men in cars slowed to shout things or whistle. You can bet that made me feel horrible. I wanted to put my jeans back on and suffer in the heat because I felt so uncomfortable that 3 different cars of men felt perfectly comfortable to make comments on my appearance and sexualise me. It’s absolutely disgusting. It is not a compliment to make someone feel unsafe. I don’t need to excuse myself, that is not a compliment.  

I’m really sick of being called girly for liking pink, watching a lot of Julia Roberts films, and shopping excessively. These things make me happy (plus I walk double my normal steps a day when I shop so at least I’m exercising), but it’s stupid because I’m a girl and girls are stupid. I’m just so fed up. I could honestly just curse for hours and throw things because I’m so damn sick of all of it.

Why should I get stressed out because I care about something that is inherently right? It is moral, and just. It is not that we are asking a lot, we are asking for life as it should be. I should not be less than a man, nor treated less than, because I am not less than a man. I am equal. I am equal to a man. 

The necklace I now wear on a daily basis

I’m so tired of doing this. Sometimes I don’t want to do it anymore. Sometimes I think, like right now, that I don’t want to be a feminist anymore because it’s so much hard work and no one cares in the slightest what I think. I feel as though I’m wasting my time, and annoying my friends. It’s ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to fight in the first place, let alone be questioned for doing the right thing. I know I’ll post this and someone will either question a point I have made, or people will continue to joke about being a woman or a feminist and how I am lesser.

As someone who struggles to keep her head up a great deal of the time, I don’t really need the extra negative emotion that comes with pushing the way I do. I’m constantly down, or humiliated, or angered, or panicked, or uncomfortable and I could cry just thinking about how bad I am made to feel. I just want it to stop.

I’m doing the right thing. So either join me or leave me alone because I can’t leave this fight. I made a commitment, I started a platform to help, and I can’t quit. It’s so exhausting and even if I don’t want to do it anymore, I have to. If you have no support to offer, I’d kindly ask you to leave off, and save everyone the unnecessary negative emotion; there’s enough going around as it is. 

The Guardian: ‘Gender wage gap costs minority women more than $1m in some states
2 National Women’s Law Centre: ‘The Lifetime Wage Gap by State for Black Women
Bustle: ‘8 Startling Statistics That Show How The Pay Gap Affects Women Of Color Differently
4 American Association of University Women: ‘The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

Words and images by Briony Brake

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Playlist: Noughties Anthems

“I made this a long time ago and forgot about it. I found it recently and have been dancing around my room listening to my childhood in the form of Sugababes, Rihanna, Nelly Furtado and Christina Aguilera. I know I made it, but I love it.

These women made grunge and punk cool and normal, they have become staples of the decade and their style and music inspired thousands of girls who still listen to Crazy in Love at pre-drinks ten years later. Icons of girl power in the making.”

noughties

Click here to listen: Noughties Anthems

Playlist: Maxene’s Anthems

“I came to uni with about as much music knowledge as your average snail, and so this playlist almost entirely consists of some pretty amazing recommendations by some pretty fabulous people.

Whatever your music taste I’d say I’ve got you covered here with a wonderfully random assortment of songs sung by equally wonderful women. Take this opportunity to sing and dance along to your heart’s content, because really, how else are you going to truly appreciate the epic-ness of these songs and their creators”

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Click on the image, or here to listen: Maxene’s Anthems

Not For Girls: Why Gendered Marketing Is Ridiculous

I was eating poached eggs and watching Sunday brunch. I know. What am I like. In the break there was a new advert for Maltesers. I took particular notice because it had Beattie Edmondson in, who was very good in the sitcom Josh. It was quite a good advert. Well done Maltesers.

But it got me thinking – why are there always women in the Maltesers advert? Fair enough, they quite often get female comedians, who tend to look relatively like real women. But why are Maltesers synonymous with a ‘naughty’ but ‘light’ treat? Hardly any calories, dainty little chocolate to pop in to your dainty little mouth so you don’t look too greedy! But still buy our product please! It’s aimed at you after all – we’ve gone to all this effort, so you better buy our product. Whereas chocolate that’s aimed more towards men – Snickers for example – is promoted like it’s an imperative, a must have, a necessity. ‘Get some nuts’ or ‘you’re not you when you’re hungry’ push absolutely no guilt whatsoever on men for eating chocolate. For them, it’s encouraged as a staple, not a naughty little treat.

It might not seem important how chocolate advertises itself. It might not seem important that food is gendered, when there’s so many other problems going on in the world. It’s how advertising works, you might say, looking at specific groups of people as a target audience, and selling to them.

But it’s just tiring. I am tired of being made to feel a certain way because I am a woman. I am tired of feeling guilty for doing things that a man is encouraged to do, of my gender seemingly dictating what I should eat, what I should drink, what I should buy.

dcoke

Diet coke is not a drink for women. It is a carbonated cola drink. It is genderless. (Secret I got told by Briony – while coke zero and diet coke are both caffeine and sugar free, they are marketed and packaged differently because apparently men wouldn’t buy diet coke.)

Women can eat Yorkie bars. Women can do whatever they choose, thank you very fucking much.

Yoghurt is not a female food. It is not a male food. Food doesn’t have a gender so help me god. why would it even be a female food? Because it’s… runny? Pink when it’s strawberry flavoured? Has the whole world gone mad and I am the only one who has noticed?

While we’re on the topic of packaging and marketing dear friends, let’s discuss the fact that female razors are more expensive than male razors. Women are told by society that we should be hairless. That we should literally alter the way our bodies work to conform to a societal norm. Now, if you want to shave your legs, because you prefer the way it looks and feels, then very good, absolutely fine. But you shouldn’t have to pay more than a man for that privilege.

Men also make the decision whether to shave their faces. But for some reason we’re paying more for something which is, across society and culture, impressed upon us as not our own choice, but the way it should be. Plus, making them pink is a very bizarre choice. Do you know what a razor is? It is blades. Which will cut you. Every time I shave my legs I cut them, somewhere, at least once. It does not help me that the razor is pink.

ladyrazors

On the plus side, there is hope on the horizon. Bodyform’s new advert is rather wonderful. It shows women running, fighting, falling, getting back up again. They get cut, and scraped, and bruised, and all of this shows just how alive they are. Isn’t that wonderful? Bodyform make the point that blood should not stop our ability to do anything. When we’re on our periods we’re not skipping around in white jeans with perfect hair. We’re probably, like a lot of the times during the rest of the month, sweaty, trying, working, doing.

A woman’s ability is in no way impeded by her gender. We can eat Maltesers and drink beer and go nowhere near yoghurt because it is disgusting.

And none of it has to be sodding pink.

 

 

Words by Sian Brett
Images/Videos courtesy of Maltesers, Snickers, Diet Coke, Yorkie, Gillette, Bic & Bodyform