Being a feminist is hot right now. Here’s a quick guide to the biggest, baddest craze of 2k14.
1) Get a pair of dungarees; they’re a fashion must. Or don’t if you don’t fancy it. They can be from a thrift shop if you’re keen on the Dworkin aestetic, but they don’t have to be. Wear them every day, or just to parties, or realize your mistake straight away and make sure they never leave your wardrobe. Wear them with your bikini, or your massive jumper your gran knitted you, or your vegan doc martens. Wear them to Park End and then instantly regret it. Wear your clubbing gear to your women-only peace circle instead.
2) Stop shaving your legs. Or start. Or do funny patterns. Start plaiting the hair? Maybe go the whole hog and shave your pubes as well. Or don’t – I’m sure that’s plaitable too. Shave it for special occasions, or every day, or not at all. The important thing is that if anyone tries to tell you that your choice about your hair sucks, pour some hot tea on them and pretend it was an accident.
3) Run to be OUSU VP (Women) and get the glamour of doing feminism every day. It’s like a real job except you’re automatically fired after a year. If that’s not for you, there’s always consulting.
4) Feminists are celebrated in popular culture for being really fucking funny all the time. We’re the life and soul of any party. Continue in this rich history and start carrying round winning jokes like these to please your crowds of adoring fans:
How many women does it take to change a lightbulb?
“Still? Ugh why don’t you take the hint and leave me alone”
Alternatively, make up your own jokes (though I doubt you could do better than my ones.) Or just steal them from comedians/comediennes you saw on tv. Or if you’re the more quiet member of your group, don’t tell any at all. Or try and tell some and fail miserably.
5) Start requesting the Indigo Girls at bops. Or Beyonce. Or Tegan and Sara. Or Lady Gaga, as long as it’s not that awkward one about the burqa that really shouldn’t have happened. Dance hard and dance big to 1D round your room (just because teenage girls like them, that doesn’t mean they’re trivial). Or, you know, if heavy metal is more your thing perhaps give Harry Styles a miss for Slipknot instead. Their tattoos are better.
6) Read poetry about being a woman. Sylvia Plath is for everyone. Unless she’s not for you. Hollie McNish is a great substitute. Unless you don’t like her either. To be honest, the poetry doesn’t even have to be about gender. Perhaps you like haikus? Or long poems about nature? I’ve been a feminist since I was 16 but I actually quite like Bukowski, even with all the misogyny there. Though if you can’t be arsed with any poetry then just ignore this point and skip on to the next one.
7) Ditch the heteronormative-patriarchial structure of relationships and embark on a lesbian polyamorous set of romantic ties that connect you to your inner feelings of sisterhood. Or if that doesn’t work, a string of one night stands with every gender under the sun sounds pretty fun too. Or a long term relationship with a guy could be pretty great. Just make sure you always do it with you on top. Except when you don’t. You don’t have to have sex with him at all. Or maybe don’t see anyone; relationships can be time consuming and you might be happier alone. Or try all of these and see what works? It doesn’t make that much of a difference to my life anyway (though, for the record, I like movie dates and cocktails and am currently single).
I don’t know if you’ve realised it yet, but there’s no one way to be a feminist. You don’t have to dress a certain way, or like certain things, or date certain people, or be into a specific type of music. Feminism is about equality. The only thing you need to do to be a feminist is to listen to the experiences of women around you, and make sure that you don’t act to perpetrate any forms of oppression. Whether you’re a black woman, or a Muslim woman, a lesbian, a tall woman, a cheerleader, a Harry Potter fanatic, a photographer, a politically apathetic hockey player or your country’s spelling bee champion, you’re not any worse a feminist because of it. Feminists are as diverse as any other group of people, and there’s no reason why you can’t be one in 2014 just because your only true love in life is Dr Who. Being a feminist is about recognising gendered oppression and trying to stop it, not about a series of lifestyle choices that fit with your perception of what a feminist aesthetic looks like.