I've always been a supporter of Feminism, even if I haven't been vocal and declaring myself an out of the closet feminist. I think of the glass ceiling of not just women in art, but women everywhere. I regularly see the hashtag for Yes All Women in my twitter time line. I read blogs by strong, feminist women and men. Emma Watson spoke on Feminism in a relatable way and even inspired at 15 year old boy.
It's easy to say that this all doesn't affect me. When reality it does. It dawned on me, that I feel safest walking to and from work, in the dark wearing enough layers to make my gender undeterminable. Nothing about this situation is right.
In the summer, when I was walking to work for a 7am start with the sun rising behind me, shorts and t-shirt, men staring with beady bleary eyes through their windscreens at me, while I crossed the road, while they idled in traffic, and the whole thing made me feel nauseous. The obvious stare at my chest, my legs, I didn't just feel uncomfortable, I felt disgusted by my body and the aesthetics it has.
Nothing about this situation is right either.
Monday morning I walked to work in the rain and wind, the streetlights flickering, it's 6:30am and the world is still sleepy. Bundled up in big jacket and bigger boots, no man is staring at me, in fact, the roads seem blissfully empty. My clothing choice dictated by the weather and my transport (or lack of).
It wasn't until I walked home at 14:30, just after lunch, that I was stared at, made to feel as though I was all of a sudden, public property again.
I'm not alone, yes all women have experiences similar to mine, or sadly, worse. Harrowing stories of rape and sexual abuse, nothing about this is right. There are women out there fighting for contraception and legal terminations without having to resort to bizarre methods, The Two-Finger Test is still a thing happening.
Women are still slut-shaming other women, and pulling out sentences such as "I'm not like the other girls", Women are calling each other sluts and whores, to appeal who? Using misogyny isn't helping anyone especially not women. I don't want to play that game either.
I can play my own part in promoting equal rights, yes all women (#yesallwomen) and He For She (#heforshe). I can support and advocate for women, children, and men that feel hemmed in and ostracised by societies expectations of not just our gender roles, but our life choices too.
And I can walk to work, with my head held high. I am a woman, and I am equal.