Friday 30 October 2015

Bookish Spinsters: What Is Feminism?

Bookish Spinsters

Bookish Spinsters starts today, and I'm so excited for us all to get talking about feminism!

Bookish Spinsters is a weekly link-up where we discuss feminism based on a topic/question/prompt, and other feminist book bloggers and book tubers join in with their response. Feel free to join in at any time, I just ask that you link back to Bookish Spinsters. For more info and the list of future Bookish Spinsters topics, go to the Bookish Spinsters page.

This week's topic is What is Feminism?

What is Feminism?

For me, feminism is equality. There's a misconception that feminists hate men, and want a world where women have the power. This is just not the case. Feminism is all about equality; it's about men and women being on equal footing. It's about losing the sexism and the double standards. It's not about women being valued more highly than men, but being valued just as much as men, and having the same opportunities as men.

Feminism is helpful to men as well as women. Sexism works both ways; while women are seen as fragile, soft, and emotional, men are expected to be tough, macho, and emotionless. This is obviously seriously problematic, but a topic for another day!

What Feminism Means to Me

I'm fairly new to feminism, it's only been in the past year or so that I've discovered what feminism actually is. I was one of those people who used to think feminists just didn't like men, and I just couldn't get on board with that. But once I discovered what feminism was really about, it really got me thinking, and agreeing.

So for me, at the moment feminism means learning, opening my eyes to the sexism and misogyny I didn't notice before. I was already starting to become aware of feminist issues before I read Louise O'Neill's Only Ever Yours, but once I did, it really cemented things for me - as did following Louise on Twitter, where she speaks up about feminist issues. It was like something clicked into place, and I suddenly got it. I wanted to learn more, and that's pretty much still where I'm at. I don't want to be shut in the dark, and not be aware of the inherent sexism going on around me. I want to be aware of it.

With this in mind, I asked my Twitter followers for feminist recommendations to learn more, and a number of people got back to me with quite a few titles to read (if you're interested, you can find them on my feminism Goodreads shelf), and I started with Girls Will Be Girls by Emer O'Toole, which really got me thinking about how I allow society's idea of what a woman should be, what femininity is affect how I present myself, something I've been thinking about and trying to change. I also have Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay and Be Awesome by Hadley Freeman waiting to be read.

And of course there was Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne, which inspired Bookish Spinsters. The Spinster Club made me so passionate - passionately angry, and passionate about talking about these topics and learning more. Learning about the Bechdel test, Manic Pixie Dream Girls and benevolent sexism in such an accessible way within a really awesome YA story was just wonderful.

I have also found Free the Period, Bye Felipe and Sexist Headlines on Intsagram really awesome accounts to follow.

As I said, I'm still learning. There are still sexist things I'm surprised about almost daily, or a new perspective to look at things from to see just how screwed up our society. And I want to keep on being made aware of these things. I'm passionate about it.

What Feminism Does For Me/Why I'm a Feminist

Before I'd be aware that something wasn't right on TV or in magazines, for example, but wouldn't quite know what. Having learned and had my eyes open to gender inequality and sexism through the feminist books, posts and tweets I've read, feminism has given me a way to use my voice. I'm still learning, still a newbie feminist, but I can speak up at least.

This is one of the reasons I started Bookish Spinsters: this is a platform to use my voice. Our voices together on these issues, with all the regular readers of our blogs we'll reach combined, maybe we'll educate more people. Perhaps by discussing gender inequality, sexism, misogyny, we'll make people think, and perhaps change their behaviour. It's not a huge campaign to overthrow the Patriachy, but I'm hoping us all talking together, learning from each other, hearing about each other's experiences, we'll be moving in the right direction.

"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi.

And now it's time for you to share your responses to this week's topic! Join the link-up below with the URL to your Bookish Spinsters post/video, along with your name and your email address. Then check out other people's posts and let's get talking!


  1. Eeep! This is such a great topic and I loved your post about it! :D I've been kind of flapping about feminism for....a few years now. What I particularly hate is subtle sexism though. >_> Like the fact that if my niece wants to play Lego, it's all pink and girly and horsey if she buys the "girl lego". Wut. And maybe that's more equality than feminism, but it's all on the same strain of thought right?!? I also hate the off-handed comments like boys can drive better, or the boy is the automatic leader and all that. *sigh* It's endlessly wonderful when people start speaking up about it!! YAY.

    1. Eee, thank you, Cait! :D Noo, that's still feminism! Feminism is for equality, so it's all the same :) But yeah, I really hate gendered toys. It's so unnecessary! Oh my god, yes! The whole "boys are better than girls" thing is so juvenile... and yet that's basically what it comes down to, when we have men running most of the corporations instead of women! Ugh, so wrong!