When we hear the word feminism or feminist, a range of differing things probably come to mind for many different people. Maybe some of them great, maybe some not so great.
As it is well known, Feminism is a movement with roots going back to 14th century Francethat focused on women’s rights which has since developed into a movement that stands for equality and freedom of choice for all, irrespective of gender, sexuality or race (Daubney 2014).
The problem today is that the word Feminism seems to intimidate many Australian people with studies showing a majority of women supporting the concept of equal sexes yet deny themselves as feminists with only 15 – 30 % of those women claiming themselves as feminist (Smith 2014). Why is this?
Ex Prime Minister Julia Gillard who ironically was Australia’s first ever prime minister, something feminists for over 100 years have gradually been fighting towards, denied being a feminist even though her infamous Misogyny speech pointed out forms of discrimination that continue to affect women across Australia and made a point of indicating that this could no longer be an issue women globally should have to have, all in all a message that is representative of feminism (Smith 2014).
So it appears that in Australia where feminism movements have allowed both men and women to be perfectly safe to express their feminist views or declare themselves feminists, that many are choosing not to choose not to and in many cases trying to distance themselves from the movement altogether.
This is both troubling and sad whilst in other countries such as Palestine, where speaking out for woman or equal rights could get you in serious trouble, is seeing brave groups of people putting themselves on the line by proudly advocating for equal rights for women (Hamad 2015).
One group for example is the rap group DAM, a group made up of both men and women rappers who are campaigning for equal rights for women through their rap music. Their music lyrics and videos specifically address gender inequality and woman stereotyping within their country as well as women’s domestic violence and forced marriages (Hamad 2015).
Australia has still got a strong and proud feminist community made up of both men and women, it’s sad and worrying that so many people are cowering away from feminism when there is absolutely no reason not to when groups of people like DAM who could face serious prosecution are doing all they can to close the gap and make what feminism stands for a reality.
Daubney, M 2014, ‘Why men have a problem with the word ‘feminism’’, The Telegraph, 11 November, viewed 22 April 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11220536/Why-men-have-a-problem-with-the-word-feminism.html.
Hamad, R 2015, ‘Feminism is happening where you least expect it’, Daily Life, 1 April, viewed 22 April 2015, < http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-culture/feminism-is-happening-where-you-least-expect-it-20150401-1mcy55.html>.
Smith, M 2014, “I’M NOT A FEMINIST, BUT…”, Right Now, viewed 22 April 2015, < http://rightnow.org.au/writing-cat/im-not-a-feminist-but-feminism-and-identity-in-australia/ >.