The idea of being called a feminist in this society as an insult only proves we are still surrounded by patriarchal values. By creating a demeaning atmosphere when someone dares to say they are still fighting for equality, and do in fact call themselves a feminist, shows the naivety the majority have towards the subject. 

Many refer to the Suffragettes, the heroines of Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Wilding, and say that we have equality and to ‘be grateful’. Others take the approach of telling the women of the western world that we are ‘lucky’ compared to the hardships women face worldwide; that we should ‘stop complaining’; that ‘things could be worse’. This of course is just another way of silencing women, making them accept the inequalities they face and eventually view them as normal. 

It’s implied that being a feminist is ‘radical’, ‘psycho’, ‘feminazi’. Yet another attempt to project shame on those daring to prove the patriarchy is still very much in existence today. Comparing the campaign for equality to a tyrannical, radical, xenephobic regime organised by a genocidal dictator shows the desperate need for strong willed feminists, especially when there are 12 million underage girls forced into marriage yearly, 62 million denied access to education and 1 in 5 women in the US suffering from sexual abuse. Feminism is not a joke. It is not a phase. It is not something you can make fun of and say, “Here she goes again” to another young aspiring activist. All these things I have heard. Multiple times. 

By laughing at, disagreeing with or dismissing the subject of feminism you are dismissing the 98 000 rape victims in the US in 2019, you are dissmissing the 2 women killed every week in the UK by a current or former partner, you are dissmissing the women who still cannot marry or leave prison or go to a domestic violence shelter without the consent of their male guardians in Saudi Arabia. 

It scares me that this cannot be recognised. It scares me that young girls are told from a young age that “this is how it is”, as if there’s nothing we can do about it. How we are trained to pull down skirts, to avoid confrontation, to cover skin. All of this creates a ‘blame the victim’ culture. It is not recognised how much effort a girl has to put in every day. How the fear that is nailed into us from such a young age becomes second nature. How it is a natural instinct to cross the street when someone approaches you. Or to never walk home alone at night. How women have to live by a ‘rape schedule’. Living with a constant fear. Walking home with keys in hand, locking car doors as soon as we get in, not walking down certain streets or alleys, constantly taking precautions. This is so ingrained into our daily routines it’s disturbing. Not feeling safe. Not in the streets, not on public transport, not at the shops. We’re so used to feeling unsafe that it feels normal. And it becomes so normalised that people actually question whether it is something that needs to be changed. That feminism is even needed. That is what scares me.