Tag Archives: women

Why are we shaming women for being human?

Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. That’s the take-home message of the latest photo leak after fansite The Beyoncé World published photos purportedly from Beyonce’s 2013 L’Oréal campaign. The internet subsequently exploded, and a flurry of social media activity focussed on the fashion and beauty industry’s use of Photoshop, and its role in disseminating unrealistic beauty standards. These discussions are important, and we should continue to question the false ideals propounded by such images. However, the comments did not stop there. A barrage of negative and downright nasty comments about the singer’s appearance ensued in what can only be described as an exploitation of the image for nefarious purposes.

The Beyoncé World removed the photograph as a result of the denigration, and released a statement condemning the attack: “Some of the things we have seen posted were just horrible, and we don’t want any part of it. We were just posting the photos to share the fact that our queen is naturally beautiful, at the same time she is just a regular woman.” The photo raised important questions about the endemic Photoshop culture at the heart of the fashion and beauty industry, yet this positive conversation evolved into an excuse to vilify a woman for committing the crime of being a regular human being. This behaviour, rather than lifting the veil on the major culprits in this culture, perpetuates the cycle of unattainable beauty standards, and defeats the very object of any discussion thereof. These scathing and abusive comments when publicly expressed via social media are a pervasive and destructive tool in the reinforcement of disgust for women in their natural state. Instead of condemning the industry’s use of Photoshop, we underpin the necessity for its existence and render women increasingly reluctant to show their real selves.

This is not the first time, however, that a case of Photoshop shaming has crossed the line into unhealthy territories and transformed into an excuse to attack women for being human. Last year, Jezebel offered a $10,000 bounty for un-retouched imaged of Lena Dunham’s Vogue cover. Juno writer Diablo Cody tweeted: “This is total mean-girl sh-t masquerading as feminism. I’m disgusted.” The decision to offer such a handsome reward was a flagrant attempt to dethrone Lena Dunham as an ambassador for women’s rights. I, too, am disgusted that the act of calling out the industries responsible for disseminating unrealistic beauty standards has mutated into the abhorrent and indefensible act of shaming an individual whose image has been retouched. However, in this digital age of social media, selfies and smartphones, how realistic is it to expect to see a true and un-retouched representation of natural female beauty?

Yes, we should embrace the need for realistic reflections of natural female beauty that do not set unattainable beauty standards and place further pressure on women to achieve perfection. But where do we draw the line? If I filter the sh-t out of my selfies on Instagram, am I misrepresenting female beauty? Why stop there? Should we ban makeup, spanx, push-up bras and false eyelashes too, while we’re at it? There comes a point where we should question whether the harm caused by Photoshop shaming doesn’t equate to the same damage caused by the industries setting these beauty standards.

The recent leak of an un-retouched photo of Cindy Crawford elicited a mixed response on social media. Broadcaster Charlene White tweeted the image to “encourage a bit of a Friday feeling amongst [her] female followers”. The photo provoked a Twitter storm, and many praised the supermodel for her bravery, despite the fact that the image was published without her consent. In an article for the Guardian, Charlene White described the response to the photo:

Some commenters who have tweeted me have talked of Cindy being proud of her “flaws”. Flaws? Seriously? How did not having a six-pack suddenly become a flaw? And why are we okay with that?

In the same week, the Daily Mail defended their front-page story on the Duchess of Cambridge’s grey hair, stating: “There can’t be a single woman who, after seeing the pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge’s grey hairs yesterday, felt anything but sympathy for her.” Well, as a woman, I can categorically say that I feel no sympathy whatsoever for her; she is a beautiful and intelligent woman. Surely everyone’s hair goes grey at some point; or is grey hair also a big no-no for women?

The message we can glean from the cumulative reactions to these photos is that a woman’s natural human body is disgusting, whether it’s the middle-aged body of a former supermodel after she’s had a couple of kids, the un-dyed roots of a pregnant woman, or a few blemishes on the face of a pop star.

Our obsession with the before/after diptych only serves to show the un-retouched ‘before’ in an unflattering light, highlighting the so-called flaws that the ‘after’ shot has removed. At no point should our distaste for airbrushed and retouched images translate into disrespect for a human being, and disgust for human features. When we cross the line into “mean-girl territory” we lose sight of the original objective to defend womankind from additional pressures. What’s the incentive to stop Photoshopping women, when it’s made patently clear that our un-retouched bodies are not good enough?

Women: it’s time to stop judging one another

January is a time of new beginnings, self-improvement and the recalibration of goals, but it is also a time of contemplation of the year that’s passed and the events, actions and achievements that defined it. With the habitual rush to set New Year’s resolutions for our bodies and minds, we assess the areas most in need of improvement. One of the things I’ve been considering during this annual debrief is my propensity to apologise incessantly – even when I’m not to blame – and my inability to say no. At what point did I become so hell-bent on people pleasing? I’d love to say that my only resolution was a minor adjustment to my vocabulary, but these flaws are but a few of the ever-burgeoning list that I mentally keep all year round. You may well be thinking I have a bad case of low self esteem, or perhaps a spot of anxiety. The diagnosis is far simpler, however: I am a woman.

I feel a suffocating pressure to perform at 110% in every aspect of my life, and a debilitating guilt if I do not succeed. I am not alone in this. As women, this constant need to succeed and to please is indelibly engraved onto our collective consciousness. On any given day, my thoughts flit from admonishing myself for falling short in maintaining my weight and wellbeing, to telling myself to work harder, to balance my life, to be on trend, to be BETTER. But, is that really realistic? And, when will we ever be satisfied with our own achievements?

Girls star, Zosia Mamet hit the nail right on the head in her column for GLAMOUR in May 2014:

As women we have internalized the idea that every morning we wake up, we have to go for the f–king gold. You can’t just jog; you have to run a triathlon. Having a cup of coffee, reading the paper, and heading to work isn’t enough–that’s settling, that’s giving in, that’s letting them win. You have to wake up, have a cup of coffee, conquer France, bake a perfect cake, take a boxing class, and figure out how you are going to get that corner office or become district supervisor, while also looking damn sexy–but not too sexy, because cleavage is degrading–all before lunchtime.

We live by a universal standard of success; we are fed rigid ideas that dictate the “norm” – whatever that means. We live not by standards we set for ourselves, but instead trammel a path carved by others. The existence of powerful female role models – a positive and empowering by-product of feminism – fuels the notion of a one-track road to female success. We see only one way to be a woman, blind to the kaleidoscope of shades of womanhood and myriad nuances of success. We judge ourselves unfavourably against these role models, and we compare ourselves to other women.

Feminism was meant to empower us as women, to build us up for fighting on male-dominated battlefields. It did that, but it did some other things as well. It gave us female role models like Hillary and Oprah and Beyoncé and in the process implied that mogul-hood should be every woman’s goal. We kept the old male ideas of success: power and money. We need new ones!

It doesn’t end there, unfortunately. Women are not just unkind to themselves in this quest for perfection; they can also be extremely unkind to other women. This unkindness comes in many guises; in passive aggression; in bitching; in judgement; and in straight-up nastiness. The only consequence of these actions – aside from the ephemeral illusion of superiority – is the addition of even more pressure on women, and on ourselves. Amy Poehler, in her book Yes Please, aptly named this type of behaviour “woman-on-woman violence”. It begins in adolescence with bodies and beauty, and continues well into pregnancy, then motherhood, and beyond. If it’s not women telling pregnant women that they’re doing it all wrong, then it’s the subject of working mothers versus stay-at-home mothers. Breast-feeding, birth plans, parenting methods, nannies; the list of “supposed tos” for mothers is never-ending. Poehler speaks of her experience of being guilt-tripped as a working mother:

The “I don’t know how you do it” statement used to get my blood boiling. When I heard those words I didn’t hear “I don’t know HOW you do it.” I just heard “I don’t know how you COULD do it.” I would be feeling overworked and guilty and overwhelmed and suddenly I would be struck on the head by what felt like someone else’s bulls–t. It was an emotional drive-by. A random act of woman-on-woman violence.

As an advocate of the rights of women, I am saddened by the knowledge that the nastiest comments I’ve ever received have been from other women. Whether it’s our sartorial choices, our appearance, our sex life, our weight, our choice of partner (or lack thereof), or even whether we identify as a feminist; every aspect of a woman’s life is fair game is this intra-gender battle. Here’s the thing, though: other women aren’t the enemy. Whether you are a teenage girl, a mother, or just a woman trying to live her best life, these unsolicited judgements and comments do untold damage to a woman’s sense of self.

Women’s comments often focus on the physical traits that are most likely to attract men. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in her seminal Ted talk, talks about the misdirected competition that exists between women: “We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men.” By indulging in this behaviour, we buy into an outdated model of objectification where a woman’s ultimate goal is to attract a mate. We need to realise that the moment we make a pejorative comment about a woman’s life decisions, or her appearance, we invite that same level of judgement on ourselves.

Imagine a world where women unite instead of divide, where barbed comments are replaced with words of support, where we listen without judging and talk without prescribing. Surely if we were all in this together, we would all feel less alone. Reflect on the goals you want to achieve and refuse to let anyone else define your ambitions. Celebrate the victories of our fellow females, and admire the strength of the women in our lives.

It’s time to end woman-on-woman violence. In short, be kind to yourself, and to others.

What They Expect When You’re Expecting

So when I first found out I was pregnant, or rather when I first decided to stay pregnant, I went through what I would call the normal stages. The ‘Jesus Christ!’ stage, the ‘WHAT DO WE DO?!?!’ stage, and the ‘Okay, really, what do we do?’ stage. Foolishly, I was under the impression that the ‘we’ here in question, was my boyfriend and I. As it turned out, there was a third parent that I was leaving out and being pregnant means you’re required to listen to the opinion of every other woman who has ever had a baby, seen a baby, or heard of babies.

To clarify, in this little rant, I am mostly talking about other women, a group that I’m not used to criticising much. There seems to be an embarrassing element to ‘baby stuff’ for men, and they are far less likely to comment on it, lest they trap themselves in some sort of lady bits conversation or accidentally unleash the wrath of a hormonal preggo, enraged by his audacity to presume to know more about the beauty of baby-forming. Far too many women, however, don’t have the same social graces, and have no qualms about telling you exactly what kind of mother you need to be, how you’re doing pregnancy wrong, how your ideas on parenting are wrong and how you’re generally a fat failure who should be lynched for drinking a cup of coffee. It doesn’t matter how rude they sound: I’m young and this is my first baby, so they’re right and I’m an idiot

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I could never be described as the maternal type. I’m also clumsy, untidy and generally not very good at anything. I’ve come to regard these characteristics as fun little quirks that only mildly bother those around me. I can’t change these traits in the slightest, and to do so would be to change myself entirely. The thing is, you’re not allowed to be clumsy or scatter-brained when you’re going to be a mother, and you’re certainly supposed to enjoy the company of children. My plea that I could just love my child and continue silently hating everyone else’s doesn’t seem to fly.

To a lot of women I’m going to be a bad mother because I can’t keep up with all of these suppose to-s. These supposed to-s put a tremendous amount of pressure on women, for example on issues such as breast-feeding (which is often out of the mother’s control) and attachment parenting. Am I the only one who thinks that there’s something deeply wrong with women telling other women how they’re supposed to be? Would we let men away with it?

I suppose when you break it down, it’s about identity. There is a certain loss of identity that comes along with pregnancy. It’s a stressful time. My body doesn’t look like my body, my hormones mean I have no control over my own emotions and strangers suddenly think its okay to touch my stomach in the street. This experience, one that has always been regarded as the ultimate female experience, has almost taken away my womanhood altogether and left me as a temporary incubator. ‘I am vessel, hear me roar!’ hardly has the same ring to it and honestly, I could really live without other women telling me that I’m not living up to their expectations and trying to change me even further. If I can’t be Carol Brady, can I at least gestate in peace without feeling like there’s some sort of mould that I should be trying to squeeze myself into like an ill-fitting maternity bra? Can’t I do what women have been doing since the dawn of time and figure out this whole matriarch thing without taking on everyone else’s conflicting views and losing all command on the situation? Or is it a ‘no birth control, no control at all‘ sort of situation?

I guess what I’m saying, ladies, is that as long as we’re the ones that have to fire humans out of our genitals, can we accept that there are different types of mothers? I mean, there has to be because there are different types of women. Not every woman who hasn’t won an award for their organic baby food recipes is endangering their baby. I would like to propose a little wiggle room, so that all women have the right to experience motherhood whether they are the ‘type’ or not. Just give us a little room to breathe: we’ll call it a social episiotomy.

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The rising epidemic of homelessness in women

Homelessness in the UK is an increasing contagion.  It is something that is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore as the demand for homeless shelters rise.  According to the homeless charity St Mungo’s, one in ten people have been homeless at some point in their lives.  Perhaps surprisingly, 20% of these people are women. What must be stressed is that sleeping rough is not the only instance of homelessness, since by definition, the word ‘homeless’ refers to a person without a home.  Therefore, a homeless man or woman could, in fact, be “sofa surfing”, or in temporary accommodation, but these places are certainly no place they can call home.

It is perhaps because women are less likely to be seen on the streets than men that they are falling through the net of homeless services.  However, this does not mean that they are any less susceptible to homelessness than their male counterparts.   Frighteningly, St Mungo’s have reported that women are far more reluctant to enter homeless services than men, which is an issue I feel must be addressed.  The crux of the issue appears to be that many of these women have experienced domestic abuse, which may incite a fear of entering a mixed hostel where such maltreatment could recur.  It cannot be ignored that many homeless shelters are designed for men, since there are a higher percentage of homeless males in the UK.  As a consequence of this, members of staff seem to be less trained in dealing with issues which are often more prevalent in women, such as self harm and eating disorders.  Although many homeless services are now beginning to address this by introducing women-only spaces in hostels, it is an issue that certainly needs more attention if we are to tackle homelessness.

One of the most infuriating issues for me is that many people perceive homelessness as a ‘choice’.  I struggle to understand how people still believe this amidst the current housing crisis that is beleaguering Britain.  This crisis is the result of housing benefit caps and increasing rent prices, and it is absolutely not a choice.  There are no alternatives for those who cannot afford to recompense the surging demands of our government.  Although Local Authorities have an obligation to give temporary accommodation to those without a home, many people are rejected for not exploring all opportunities of support, such as hostels, or because they are not deemed a priority.  Why should this be the case when there are thousands of landlords who have spare rooms to rent across Britain? Russell Brand has recently brought this to light in his recent campaign, which calls for more affordable housing in the UK.

Brand’s support of tenants of the New Era Estate in Hoxton, London garnered considerable support after US investment company Westbrook Partners planned to evict and double the rents of dozens of residents. Thankfully, the tireless efforts of campaigners were not in vain, and a reversal of fortunes was brought about, resulting in New Era being sold to Dolphin Square Charitable Foundation, an affordable housing group which has promised to keep rents at current levels for the next year. Such reversals of fate, however, are not commonplace and similar corporate developments and subsequent evictions often pass beneath public radar. Only last week, Manchester City Council announced their decision to cut a daunting £3.4 million worth of grants from its voluntary sector, which includes homeless shelters and housing advice services.  This is audacious, given that the voluntary sector is one that needs our help the most.  To add insult to injury, many councils are also inaugurating anti-homeless devices such as benches that are divided by arm rests, and anti-homeless spikes to their streets, in an attempt to reduce the number of rough sleepers.   As well as being incredibly inhumane, this scheme is preposterous because it does not tackle the root of the issue, it simply prolongs it.  Eventually, this quandary will become harder to ignore, as unemployment and extortionate rent charges seem unlikely to subside any time soon.

So what can we do? Firstly, we need to face up to this issue before it is too late, since it is an issue that many people choose to disregard, either out of fear or ignorance.  Petitions such as this one are particularly useful, since they require little exertion and are an effective way of bringing issues into the public domain.  We can also facilitate the system that already exists by donating to homeless charities such as Shelter and Barnardo’s.  It is likely that there are many homeless shelters providing an excellent service in your local area, so why not contact them to see how you can get involved?  Soup kitchens and Rucksack Projects are particularly important at this time of year, given that Christmas is fast approaching, so your help would be greatly appreciated.  Most importantly, we merely need to recognise and acknowledge the homeless.  So, if you pass a homeless person in the street, whether male or female, please do not pretend that you haven’t seen them, even if you have no money or food to give, simply smiling or saying hello lets a homeless person know that they are a valued member of society. For these are people who deserve to be helped.

 

US reproductive rights: employers can now deny you birth control benefit

In early July of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers can deny birth control to their employees. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby set off a new level to this issue that’s been debated on since the recession of 2008. The Scholars Strategy Network highlight the struggles regarding women and birth control where the Guttmacher Institute tallied about “36 million women in need of contraceptive care in 2008” and that number has increased as more and more women discontinue contraceptive use simply because they cannot afford this. However, according to Planned Parenthood, these two companies were granted a religious exemption to The Affordable Care Act [ACA] that covers birth control without co-pay after a 5-4 ruling. For those of you who are not aware, The Affordable Care Act is a federal healthcare reform bill passed by Congress and President Obama in 2010, where private health insurance plans will offer birth control [among other preventative services] without co-pays or deductibles. Now, it seems as if many others are following suit and at least “82 for–profit employers are challenging the ACA’s birth control mandate so that they, too, can deny the benefit to their employees.”

Birth control in the U.S. has become a controversial issue that somehow has given employers the opportunity to take a standpoint on whether it’s morally right or wrong to provide such coverage. This ruling is rather laughable to me as I’ve witnessed and read of women being laid off or not getting hired due to pregnancy or maternity leave. I wonder if these employers are considering the alternative side to this issue. I currently work for a non-profit organization but it’s only a matter of time before this matter hits home. Americans are treating birth control as if it’s a revolutionary idea when in fact it’s part of basic health care, and these mind numbing debates only set off more ignorance amongst the population.

Pulling the morality card on this issue only makes me think of the women in my culture who become pregnant and choose to keep the baby more often than women from other backgrounds. “Spanish girls get pregnant just by one looking at them,” said one male colleague of mine in the midst of a heated debate regarding women and birth control. His chuckle was followed by another slurp of Lo Mein and a satisfied sigh to his arrogant rhetoric. While scarfing down my General Tso chicken, I filtered out the many things I could’ve said when the idea dawned on me. Gulping my frustration down with water, I cleared my throat and said, “It’s not that Spanish women become pregnant more easily than others. Spanish women are less likely to have an abortion given our religious background, i.e. the Catholic Church.” His eyes almost sparkled to this perspective. “That makes total sense! I never thought of it that way!” Nodding his head in agreement he pulled at his Smartphone. Perhaps he was eager to share his newfound knowledge.

I often get into these topics with the opposite sex and I cannot always recall why exactly. I suppose it’s because I can ultimately acknowledge how men and women don’t (and probably won’t ever) see eye to eye in areas that are primarily grey in the midst of countless divergent views. Yet it seems as if the lack of coverage and education about birth control in America leads people, like my co-worker, to make and believe such insensitive and foolish statements. Though, reflecting on his whole rendition of women and birth control, however short sighted, he brought up a good point. Statistically speaking, minorities in the US are most likely to bear children before the age of 20.

I’ve considered the many single mothers in my family and countless young women I’ve come across who have struggled through abortions, broken condoms, failing contraceptives and the most popular, withdrawal method (that almost never works.) These inconsistencies in birth control mainly happened throughout my college years and, unlike my many female counterparts, thankfully I didn’t deal with any consequences. I suppose being an innocent bystander was lesson enough for me to become extremely careful. But coming from a Dominican-American family, I’ve learned that a large number of Hispanic women, more often than not, do become pregnant and keep the baby before graduating college. I’ve gathered that this is perhaps due to religion, moral beliefs and overall cultural background.

It seems like most employers are dealing with the same moral issue and I feel for them. Granting coverage for a basic need that affects us all is unimaginable to some and shame on the women who dare to ask for it. How could they sleep at night?

I am being deliberately facetious but you get the gist.

Limiting the resources for vital reproductive health care is what’s inconceivable and this sort of negligence only feeds into further ignorance. Learning that the United Kingdom grants free birth control for all astonished me and even with the ACA [thank God for small favors] we must wait “until [our] coverage has been verified, co-pays will continue to be collected, so [we] will not have to be billed later.” However, this is only if your employer will grant you such coverage and if they don’t, the number of working to middle class women putting off visits with health care providers for birth control will only increase and the misinformation about this will continue to float.

Ladies, let’s break the statistics and remind them that this reform benefits us all as Americans and ensure “birth control be available at no cost to every woman, no matter where she works.”

[Plannedparenthood]

Postmodern Girl and the dating hiatus: why I chose to take a time out

Forget what Pharrell says. I’m pretty sure I’ve never felt like a room without a roof, but I do know what it feels like to be happy. When you’re a child, you might not know how to spell it, but happiness is always within reach, even if you do have to eat vegetables and go to bed early. When you’re a teenager, happiness is something your parents and teachers have brutally purloined from you and you’re pretty sure it’s gone for good. After graduating from university, you realise that happiness isn’t dependent on how many times you go clubbing per week, or whether you’re hanging with the right social subset; it’s something you will spend your life trying to achieve.

A few months back, during a spectacularly average working day, I was called up to the CEO’s office. Unsure as to whether I was about to be fired, I made my way up to top floor. Feeling like I’d just been sent to the headmistress’s office, I sat and awaited my fate. Much to my surprise – and relief, for that matter — I did not get fired, but was instead asked to help out at a meeting the following day. Snore. But, wait. Just as I stopped listening to my exceptionally-coiffed boss, in walked the most beautiful man I’d ever seen, wearing tan brogues and carrying a battered vintage satchel. Hawt. We spent the rest of the afternoon together in preparation for the meeting the next day. Needless to say, I was feeling really rather warm as I finished work, armed with a brand new crush. This infatuation, however, was short-lived, as I bumped into a colleague the next day while heading out for a skinny chai latte, who informed me that my crush was, in fact, gay. To make matters even worse, this was the third time this had happened to me, not to mention the kaleidoscope of fuckwits, douchebags and monumental losers I had dated in recent months. I was at a dating nadir and it did not feel good. It occurred to me that perhaps it was time to recalibrate my taste in the opposite sex.

I began my dating hiatus with immediate effect, and soon realised I had a surprising amount of time on my hands. Within two weeks, I’d had a personal style renaissance, joined the gym and booked a trip to visit a friend in Hamburg. After a dearth of creative activity, I began to write again; I had ideas; I felt motivated. Yes, my dating retrospective – comprised uniquely of commitment phobic playas — did resemble a house of horrors, but I was cool with that. It was a formative exercise in the lesson of how-not-to-date. It didn’t take long for me to acknowledge that this was the happiest I’d been in years and it felt fucking fantastic. I figured, if it’s good enough for Lady Mary and Mindy Lahiri then it’s good enough for me. Who knows, maybe I will start dating again, but right now I’m oh so happy as a party of one.

Are we all bad feminists?

The release of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist got me thinking. Aside from my concerns that yet another great book title has been taken, I think it’s really interesting to see the ‘bad feminist’ epithet being turned on its head. The label has gone from being a pejorative term bandied around by holier-than-thou feminist purists to something positive, something to be embraced. This speaks volumes about where we’re at in 2014 in terms of feminism — are we beginning to cut women some slack?

The recent Women Against Feminism Tumblr movement raised an important issue: that people don’t understand what feminism is. The movement suggested that individuals believe that feminism is a bunch of rigid rules that must be strictly adhered too, and that aren’t open to interpretation. With such a false misconception of feminism, is it any wonder they don’t want to be a part of it? I was horrified at yet another anti-feminist social media campaign, but I couldn’t help but think that — hidden deep inside this well of misunderstanding — there was a clear message about feminism: pressure. What do I mean by this? That we women have put so much pressure on themselves to be ‘good feminists’ that we’ve lost sight of what feminism really means. Have we tried so hard to be good feminists that we’ve become bad?

Zosia Mamet’s essay for Glamour magazine really resonates here:

As women we have internalized the idea that every morning we wake up, we have to go for the f–king gold. You can’t just jog; you have to run a triathlon. Having a cup of coffee, reading the paper, and heading to work isn’t enough—that’s settling, that’s giving in, that’s letting them win. You have to wake up, have a cup of coffee, conquer France, bake a perfect cake, take a boxing class, and figure out how you are going to get that corner office or become district supervisor, while also looking damn sexy—but not too sexy, because cleavage is degrading—all before lunchtime. Who in her right mind would want to do that? And who would even be able to?

When I read this, I am reminded of myself a few years ago. I had become so caught up in the idea of being a good feminist, I had forgotten to have fun. At parties I would roll my eyes when boys would chat me up, and I placed so much pressure on myself to succeed that became a recluse. Looking back, I find this totally crazy. Perhaps it’s a strange thing to say, but I’ve become more relaxed about feminism. I take it just as seriously as before, but I now know that being a ‘good feminist’ 100% of the time is just not sustainable. I also acknowledge that I had mistakenly interpreted feminism as being a rigid life model; one to be adhered to at all times.

I think it’s wonderful that women can now publicly admit to being bad feminists. This is certainly a progressive step, and symptomatic of fourth wave feminism, which places choice and the freedom to choose at its heart. Assuaging the pressure on women is now another wonderful addition to the feminist agenda.