02/11/2012 12:31 GMT | Updated 02/01/2013 05:12 GMT

Feminism: Why I'm Not Ditching the F-Word


This week wasn't the first time I've heard a peer dismiss feminism and, regrettably, I don't think it will be the last.

At 24, I've had to defend being a feminist on numerous occasions. I've lost count of the amount of times I've been told to "stop Tweeting about fannies" or accused of having a hairy beaver just because I don't laugh at sexist jokes.

Fortunately no amount of teasing or confrontation will stop me labelling myself a feminist, if anything it just makes me more determined.

I'm disappointed to see people women who have reaped the rewards of feminism (education, employment, the vote) turning their backs on the movement and shunning those who work hard to make important changes.

Our achievements to date do not make feminism redundant. Instead, they whet our appetites for the chance of genuine equality in the future.

From tits staring out at me from Page Three and plastic ironing boards marketed as little girls' toys, to female genital mutilation, women continue to be objectified and controlled. And in my eyes as long as gender inequality rears its ugly head, the feminist movement is both relevant and a necessity.

I see no difference between people who take the piss out of feminists and those who are dismissive of the cause. Frankly, it equates to the same thing. Neither understand what feminism is or what it is designed to do.

While I offer to pay for dinner on a date, elsewhere someone will be fighting for girls across the globe to have the equal rights to education. Both of these are acts of feminism.

Not all feminists tote placards around. Some do, but not all. Feminists are working mothers; feminists are women who speak their mind; feminists are women who go to university and vote in elections.

As long as you identify with the key principles of equality and female empowerment, then you should be proud to call yourself a feminist.

It's up to younger generations to embrace feminism and change the future for younger generations, as was done for us.

Small awareness projects like Everyday Sexism and Armpits4August may seem like a drop in the ocean, but it is only through having these conversations that bigger changes will arise.