In my opinion, this year International Women’s Day has been more visible than ever. There have been copious amount of tweets, articles, events, trending hashtags and debate on a level that I have not seen in previous years.
And this increased visibility is wonderful of course but it also got me thinking about the year that had passed and how I myself perceived the evolving ideas of feminism and gender equality in popular culture.
2014 was the year that Emma Watson became a UN ambassador for women. Beyonce performed across the world with the word ‘feminist’ emblazoned on a giant screen behind her. It was the year that a transgender woman with a beard won the Eurovision. It was the year that attempted to rebrand the word ‘feminism’ whose meaning and significance remains a social enigma.
It was also the year in which private photos of famous women were leaked online. It was the year in which I encountered two men separately say bluntly that they were not feminists because ‘they were not women.’ It was the year in which Irish model Rosanna Purcell said in a interview with one of the top Irish women’s magazine that she was not a feminist because feminists are people ‘who just love to take offence’ and that ‘there are such bigger problems in the world.’
I am not an authority on gender issues and I am aware that the arguments and debate are expansive and intricate. I can only comment on my own experiences and what feminism means to me. Feminism is personal and translates into how we all, men and women, operate day to day. It is the upholding of standards and expectations that I am entitled to as a woman in my own life. It is the responsibility of using my voice.
It won’t change the world and it won’t eradicate gender inequality but it is something.
Some internet tidbits that stood out for me on International Women’s Day:
- This Guardian piece by Harriet Minter gives a good history of the day itself and outlines how it is still necessary and important
- Emma Watson did a live Facebook Q&A on her UN #heforshe campaign and makes some really interesting points on gender equality and her own perception of it. You can find the full interview on her Facebook page.
- Independent compiled a list of inspirational quotes from inspirational people on the topic of gender equality
- I really enjoyed this Buzzfeed post on how women in the entertainment industry are challenging the way in which the media engages with them
- “International Women’s Day should be a reminder of the gender inequality half of society face rather than a chance to post trite motivational slogans.”
- I don’t agree entirely with this piece but it does raise interesting points specifically – is it now trendy to be a feminist?
- The Irish Times are doing a series of articles praising Irish Women Writers and they are pretty great
Some of the best tweets of the day:
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) March 9, 2015
— Reese Witherspoon (@RWitherspoon) March 8, 2015
— HeForShe (@HeforShe) March 8, 2015
— My Daughter’s Army (@mydaughtersarmy) March 8, 2015