Feminism has taken a giant leap in society this past year, the wave of the #metoo movement has reached incredible heights, and as a woman, I couldn’t be more proud of the achievements of some of these amazing women and remarkable men.
However, it would be an understatement to say that as a society we still have a long way to go.
After talking to my sister about how backwards the story of Kannagi is (the lead female of a Tamil folklore, who burns downs Madurai because her adulterous husband was wrongly accused of stealing), I did some reflective thinking; what is society and why are we so judgemental of women’s choices?
See, the idea of feminism is for equal rights, yet Emma Watson was still heavily criticised and questioned on her ideologies and morals as a feminist after her “topless” photo shoot on vanity fair got some negative attention. This included the likes of journalist Giles Coren who commented: "That dim-witted, attention-seeking hoyden doesn't just give feminists a bad name, she gives THE HUMAN RACE a bad name.”
Now that is a comment.
As a society, we need to understand that feminism is about freedom of choice and expression, imagine having your ideologies belittled because your choice of clothing doesn’t fit the criteria of some “dim-witted hoydens”. Yet, the most heartbreaking thing about the Emma Watson controversy is that the same judgement comes from women - women who are supposed to empathise and understand that clothing is just a form of expression and dressing the way you want to doesn’t make you an attention seeker or a “hoe”.
The judgement doesn’t stop there, attacking girls for their choices during a night out, or because they’re more sexually active than the next person all fit into the criteria of harassment. Because harassment isn’t always sexual, they can take the form of snide remarks or judgemental bitching sessions.
I’ve seen a girl cut ties with her best friend for cheating, but the same girl defend a guy when he made the same mistake; but can we really blame her? As her double standards are entrenched, from the decades of sexism in which men are much more easily forgiven for their actions as opposed to women. Now, had Kannagi had an illicit relationship the way Kovalan did, would Silapathikaram still be the epic novel that it is today? Or would it be ridiculed for its distasteful storyline?
If Cardi B or Khloe Kardashian cheated on their spouses would the internet still stay “I still ship it?"
I've used the word society a lot, but it's easy to forget we make up society, so surely change should begin from within.
Women comprise over 50% of the world's population, so when we start to make the choice not to be judgmental of our gender, then everyone else will catch on. Feminism doesn’t start with #metoo; it starts with not putting down other girls to make yourself look and feel better, it starts with not complaining about a girl because a guy you're interested in likes her, and it starts with not being judgemental, because you never know the whole story.
I've fallen into the above traps, which is why I know that feminism isn’t a goal to be attained, but an everyday choice and that choice starts today.