Call yourself a feminist in the UK and, unless you’re chatting to Jeremy Corbyn (moment to appreciate 72% youth voting turnout!!) and the Spice Girls, you’re going to be met with at least some hostility. The most common criticism is that there’s legally nothing a man can do that a woman can’t, proving how we have gender equality aka you can shut up now love and get back in the kitchen instead. The key word of the opposition is legally. This argument reminds me of how when the Civil Rights Act was passed in America this was a de jure change, which meant segregation was illegal; however this couldn’t cause de facto change as socially people had become so accustomed to racism that no law could translate into their realities. In the UK, feminism isn’t needed to overcome sweeping legislative inequalities (from what I’m aware, but hit me up if I’m wrong) we need to focus on All The Small Things, Blink-182 style.
Often we view social changes as insignificant. Catcalling bothers you? Stop whining. You don’t like it when guys approach you in bars? Then start dressing like a homeless barrel. Want a career? Keep your legs closed. But humans are sociable creatures and so if our everyday lives are riddled with, put bluntly, people being shits, then it’s going to have a pretty big impact. I’ve compiled a list to show some of the ways my life would be different in a de facto feminist society.
I wouldn’t dumb myself down: I don’t even know how this happens. I just finished my International Baccalaureate exams, my IQ qualified me for Mensa and I’m 50,000 words into a novel- I’m a smart cookie. Why then do I feel compelled to let men mansplain words I already know or say stuff like *sharp intake of breath* *clutches cheeks* *Disney princess voice* ‘What book was Titanic based on?’ to make them laugh? Is masculinity so fragile that I round off the corners of my brain to make sure it doesn’t damage them? In feminist utopia, I’m shamelessly smart, full stop.
I might look different: Might being the key word here. I don’t always know how much of what I do is choice and how much is me wanting to look like Kendall Jenner so everyone instantly falls in love with me, but I presume the absence of a patriarchy would leave my appearance at least slightly altered. No BS Emma Willis Veet adverts where she shaves an already shaven leg or pressure to wear makeup to the gym. I might even embrace the tracksuit. Who knows.
I would be able to enjoy nights out: Hey I just met you and this is crazy but… please go away and stop harassing me and my friends because life isn’t like a Carly Rae Jepsen song and I don’t want you to keep gyrating on meeee. (Especially when it’s Shit Pop at The Haunt because I just want to rap to American Boy in peace.)
I wouldn’t be holding my keys 15 minutes away from my door after a night out: I didn’t even realise that this was problematic until I read about the occasions when women’s internal panic buttons went off and saw that this was on the list. You hold your keys because you want to indicate that you’re going home, that your destination is near, that you’re uninterested in distractions because you have a target in sight- or perhaps more sinister- so that you have a weapon in case anyone attacks you. I’ve been doing this since I was 16. How is it okay for a child to feel like that? In any society violence is unavoidable but in a feminist one there will be a level of respect for women that means they don’t have to walk home at night fearing for their lives every time they see a car with its headlights on.
Kids could play with toys: None of this Mothercare BS where the girls’ toys are on one side of the shop and contain pink plastic iron, pink pushchair, pink dollhouse, pink fairy figurines and then the boys’ side is like military uniform, toolkit, water guns, Puzzleball. Children, not genders, play with toys.
A woman’s career and family could be separate: You spend your 20s working your way to the top only to find that the second you go on maternity leave, your boss is finding the easiest way to get rid of you and get a man in instead. Childcare would be split evenly and therefore both parents would have an equal chance to have their careers ruined.
Men would get custody of their kids: They often forget this when they’re calling us fat, hairy lesbians. If women weren’t seen as natural homemakers then men would get an equal opportunity to gain custody of their children. Care would be based on ability and capacity, not whether you have a vagina.
Women wouldn’t be praised for rejecting femininity: In a way, I do admire women who don’t shave, wear makeup or let living in a patriarchal society pressure them into anything, but I also feel like sometimes these women look down on the people that do, shall we say, let themselves be oppressed. It’s as if they believe one type of woman is better. In a fully feminist society, no ‘type’ of woman will valued more than another because they’d all be appreciated and accepted as individuals rather than representing all of womankind.
Teamales, how would your lives be different in a Feminist Utopia? I’m in Germany at the moment so hopefully this scheduled post has made it to you, but if I don’t reply to comments straight away it’s because I’m probably fighting with a man called Franz over whose turn it is in the hostel shower. Wish me luck.