By Tara O'Sullivan
It’s that time of year, when your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feed is full of messages of both support and anger for International Women’s Day.
My concern is how feminism and the word "feminist" still has a negative connotation. I don’t understand this. Just recently Emma Watson was pilloried for her Vanity Fair shoot - a shoot that saw her wearing a beautiful crochet cardigan with some of her breasts exposed. As well as playing our beloved Hermione, she has a bachelor's degree in English Literature, is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, and is the founder of a feminist book club by the name of Our Shared Shelf Group.
The reaction from social media was to be expected with many people saying that you can’t wear that and be a feminist – and it gave rise to #whatfeministswear on Twitter. Some of the reactions implied that because she wore this outfit, her membership to the feminist club was going to be revoked.
I think we may have missed the point. Feminism is about choice.
- Equal choice.
- Women can choose to stay home or work.
- Women can choose to wear make-up, or none.
- Women can choose to dress up or dress down.
- Women can choose to have kids or not.
Oh, and so can men. That’s the point.
On the kids theme, one of my favorite authors is Caitlin Moran, who wrote How to be a Girl and in an interview about the book she said this about women who don’t have kids:
"The word 'barren' tells you everything you need to know. The word 'spinster' tells you everything you need to know about our attitude of women who choose not to marry… Imagine if you saw George Clooney on the cover of a magazine every week with: 'Is George broody? Is George gonna adopt a baby? When is George gonna have another kid?' It would just seem weird. We'd seem demented, yet it's totally valid for women."
She also tweeted this morning for International Women’s Day – “I know this sentence sounds nuts, but Emma Watson has hidden copies of "How To Be A Woman" across the world for #InternationalWomensDay”
Happy International Women's Day.
Tara O'Sullivan is Chief Creative Officer at Skillsoft.