I decided I should write a short post for International Women’s Day. Does that make me a militant feminist? Well, it makes me a feminist for sure. That fact alone makes some people angry. Those type of people probably won’t enjoy anything I write on this site. Yes I’m a feminist and so are most of the people I associate with, including most of the men I call friends. I do think feminism has developed more political factions than are useful. For me feminism is simple, it is about freedom and equal rights for all people, men and women, straight or gay, black or white, trans or gender fluid… All people. Clearly all people do not yet have equal rights, freedom or respect, so there is still work to be done.
Today I want to write about three women who inspire me, partly because I have occasionally been criticised for holding these particular women up as examples and partly because there are some links and common themes between them.
Malala Yousafzai had already gained a little bit of local fame by writing a blog about the difficulties girls had in trying to attend school during the Taliban occupation of the region of Pakistan she lived in. Then one day when she was still only 15 a gunman entered the the bus that was taking her to school and shot this little, defenceless girl in the head at close range. Somehow she didn’t die. But she needed to be transferred to a hospital half way round the world in Britain to get the specialised treatment she needed. And after a time she recovered. She then went on to campaign for the rights of women and girls around the world to get schooling and education. She even went back to Pakistan despite the fact that the Neanderthal Scum who tried to kill her still wanted to kill her. Of course she is now world famous and has won the Nobel peace prize. When I was fifteen the most daring thing I had done was smoke a joint!
Funnily enough the people who have criticised me the most for having huge respect for Malala are other Satanists. “But she’s a Muslim!” They complain. Good grief! I don’t give a fuck what her religion is, I can’t think of any teenager in the history of the world who has done as much to promote education for girls as Malala has, and continues to do. And while I’m sure she has many layers of protection now, she is still extremely brave to keep doing what she does.
Malala now calls herself a feminist. She didn’t used to refer to herself in that way until she heard a speech by Emma Watson.
I always liked Emma Watson. Of course I first noticed her in the Harry Potter films where she played my favourite character from the books, Hermione Granger. I admit I was and am a fan of the books and the films and of the author J.K. Rowling who is another woman I admire.
Emma came from a quite wealthy family and made a point of continuing her university education even when her fame sort of made that unnecessary. She went from being pretty but slightly nerdy little girl to a beautiful and glamorous woman. By now she is very rich and successful as an actress and model. But it is what you do with your power that counts.
While still working on the final Harry Potter films, Emma started doing work to promote education for girls. She was then made a U.N. Women’s Goodwill Ambassador and gave a nervous speech at the U.N. Headquarters in New York which went viral and it was after hearing that, that Malala Yousafsai decided to refer to herself as a feminist. Emma described and defined feminism in pretty much the same way I do, and she was keen to involve men in the struggle for women’s equality. She has continued to do a lot of work to promote equal rights. However, I really began to like and respect her even more when she started getting criticised by other, so called, feminists…
In 2017 she did a fashion shoot for Vanity Fair in which, if you looked really hard, you could see one of her nipples. She was accused by some feminists of being a hipocrite and exploiting her own looks and sexuality. She responded that her tits had nothing to do with the real issues and that freedom and equality was about being able to present yourself however you wanted. I agree with her. I don’t particularly like the look of Moslem women wearing the hijab but I would defend their right to dress how they want. Women should be free to be as sexy or as modest as they choose to be, and neither men nor feminists should dictate the right way for a woman to look or to dress. Emma continues to support campaigns to improve education for women and speaks up for the right of women (and men) to live and look how they want.
For the third person on my list of women who inspire me I was torn between two people. One of them was the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo who I admire for lots of reasons; but in the end my scientific side won out and I have chosen Marie Curie.
Marie Curie arrived in Paris to start her studies as a virtually penniless refugee from Poland. Just getting there was a dangerous adventure and continuing her studies in poverty must have been really hard, but she went on to become one of the most brilliant scientists of her time. There were many points during her studies and in her career where her work was not valued or even recognised because she was a woman. Eventually she won two Nobel prizes but they nearly refused to let her accept one of them because she had had an affair. (Would that have been at all controversial if she had been a man)? She also suffered prejudice in France for being a foreigner and because she was thought by some to be Jewish.
Despite all this, during the First World War she set up mobile radiology units, trained people (especially women) how to use them and went herself to the front lines in the battlefields to help injured soldiers. Apart from the dangers of being in the battlefields this work eventually played a part in killing her because she later died of leukaemia as a result of her exposure to radiation.
These days Marie Curie is respected as one of the great scientists of her time, but actually her life was very hard and she was often the victim of all kinds of prejudice despite her brilliance or the many things she did to help other people.
I think what the three people I have spoken about have in common is intelligence and a determination to help other women study, learn and become the people they want to be. All of them have suffered prejudice and criticism partly because they were women and partly because they challenged people’s preconceptions and expectations in other ways.
They were and are about empowerment. So am I.