Welcome to the Future Female series, our weekly blog, promoting everyday gender equality.
My hope for the series is that a collective of stories will promote healthy values and empower women of all ages to go about their daily lives influencing a behaviour change, so that being treated equally in the home, in the workplace and socially is the norm.
It’s about flushing out the misogynistic chatter that is ingrained into our everyday life. It’s what I call soft misogyny, the kind that goes unspoken. The kind as women, we fall foul of, by ignoring or partaking in, often without realising.
I had the privilege to watch Chimamanda Nigozi Adichie’s award-winning speech ‘We should all be feminists’ Ted X talk (2013) viewed more than 4 million times. The plague of the double standard all made sense! The realisation that misogyny is all around us, every day and very much in our face, hit home. It seemed, that what I term as ‘soft misogyny’ fills our every day, perhaps more than we would like to admit. Of course outright misogyny is easier to question and be outraged at. But this soft misogyny is almost more dangerous because it infiltrates our daily chatter and values and keeps Women boxed in. Adichie’s award-winning speech ‘We should all be feminists’ was adapted into a long essay published in 2014, has featured in Beyonce’s “Flawless” and Dior made the statement famous earlier this year when they collaborated with Adichie printing the slogan onto tee-shirts.
Perhaps even more impactful to a generation, supported by The Swedish Women’s Lobby, is that every 16-year-old in Sweden was given a copy of the Adichie essay in December 2015.
“It is a gift to all second-grade high-school students, but it is also a gift to ourselves and future generations.” Carla Berglund (Swedish Women’s Lobby)
Wouldn’t it be amazing if this book was adopted by UK schools? A call to action for all you amazing secondary school teachers out there, who work tirelessly to promote good values, could we make this happen?
My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says,
“Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better,”
writes Adichie in the essay.
“All of us, women and men, must do better.”
If you haven’t seen Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech then view it here.
For more information here is Chimanda’s website.
Around the same time I saw Emma Watson stand up at the UN in 2014, speaking courageously about the “HeForShe” campaign (website). This speech changed the way I felt about feminism, it gave me courage to watch out for soft misogyny and I began calling it out, in the soft manner it had been dealt in.
For example, a very good male friend once said to me, in response to my statement of, ‘not being good at maths’, ‘well women aren’t good at maths are they’. I paused and responded with ‘There are plenty of amazing Women who are great mathematicians and scientists, inventors etc, it’s me that’s not good at maths’. This put a non-confrontational soft end to the conversation, and we moved on.
Madonna a long time feminist, brought me to tears last year watching her acceptance speech from the Billboard Woman Of The Year Music awards 2016. She explains how she has endured misogynistic behaviour of all kinds, over the course of her career, and how it should have broken her. The speech embodies exactly what I believe are the issues facing all women across all walks of life. Take a look at what Madonna has to say.
“Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it’s okay to be a boy; for girls it’s like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading.”
(What It Feels Like For A Girl, Music 2000)
These three courageous Women, Chimamanda Nigozi Adichie, Emma Watson and Madonna come from very different backgrounds, they all promote a different type of feminism. The messages are very powerful, with a common core. The voice of gender equality is loud, it is focussed, it is calm, it is soft, it is fierce, it is strong, it is equal, it is emotional, it is about love, it is sexual, it is inclusive, it is staying, it is human evolution.
Our Future Female series will share the cross generational voices speaking about what they are doing to break down the barriers around everyday gender equality and being the Future Female they wish to see in the world.
Flushing out everyday misogyny for gender equality is our mission.
Get involved by sharing your vision of The Future Female you wish to see in the world. Either by joining our community and telling your story, wether it’s the positive role models you are projecting, or calling out soft misogyny. Or sharing your Future Female photos, wearing our limited edition tee-shirt. The future Female we wish to see in the world is inclusive, Join us.