Feminism in the World today

Feminism today: the fight has changed, the stereotypes remain, and

It's the year 1910. Constance Lytton is in her prison cell. Two wardresses are holding her arms, one her head and the other her feet. The doctor leans on her knees and stoops over her chest to get at her mouth. The sense of being overpowered is complete.

As the steel gag is forced between her teeth, her jaws fastened wide apart and a tube put down her throat, the pain is intense. The food instantly makes her vomit and she is left for the night, her hair and clothes drenched. She cries out: “No surrender.”

She was a feminist.

It is 2012. Hundreds of men and women take to the streets in protest. A flash of cleavage here, thigh there. Flesh proudly on show and placards at the ready. They are demonstrating against the idea that if a provocatively dressed woman is raped, she is “asking for it”. An idea voiced by a Toronto police officer, Constable Michael Sanguinetti, to a group of students a year ago. An idea held by many. An idea their slogan “Consent is sexy” is trying to destroy.

They cry out: “No one ever asks for it – that’s why it’s called rape.”

They are feminists.

And so am I in case you were wondering. It all came to me one afternoon while stood on a chair shouting, but that is something I will come back to. The fight has changed. That is needless to say. Women can vote, get the same education as the boys and go to work with the big boys. Women can live their lives – dress, walk, talk, like, dislike, do and not do whatever, however and whoever they please. Or can they?

Nowadays, it is so easy to dismiss the need for feminism because the ‘big issues’ have been dealt with, but there is still so much discrimination against women out there. And when I say ‘out there’ I do not mean all the way over there, where it can’t get you and you don’t need to worry about it. I mean right outside that home, office or tube window.

Actually, scratch that. It could very well be inside that window too.

In May, a YouGov survey of over a thousand Londoners, commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, found that 43% of women aged 18-34 had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces last year – one in 25 of these cases involving unwanted sexual touching. Their research also showed that last year 45, 000 incidents of domestic violence and 3, 000 rapes were reported.

You may be telling yourself that this still doesn’t concern you because only a minority of women are affected and only a minority of men are committing these horrific acts. And in the case of physical or sexual abuse you’re right, it is a minority, but encroaching upon the basic human rights of women comes in many forms. When asked why he was a feminist, 23-year-old student Vassily Vorozchichev, responded: “Look at the world, why aren’t you?”

A 2010 study conducted for Springer’s journal of Law and Human Behaviour concluded that 90% of women have suffered sexual discrimination in the workplace including offensive sexist remarks or being told they could not do their job properly due to their sex. In addition to this the study found that 10% of women had been promised promotions or better treatment if they were “sexually cooperative”.

Women are also hugely underrepresented in politics in the United Kingdom, with only 144 female MPs out of 650.

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