At school, in History we studied the Suffragette movement, the thinkers and activists that rallied for women’s votes and how the process moved from country to country. Women were beaten, jailed, force fed, whipped and shunned from their families all because they wanted to be heard.
They were looked upon as though they were illiterate, they weren’t given the same opportunities as men (and this still occurs today), all because they were female. Watching the film Suffragette brought me to tears, because while it shows what was happening in the U. K., this is what was happening all over the world and still is – women are constantly ignored, belittled and abused.
Women living in poverty, in places of war and third world countries are still treated horribly. To them, just being treated as a human being is unheard of, made to serve the man and only the men in their lives. Told to live their lives a certain way, that they can’t have a voice or a role in anything that affects their lives, because they are female – it all still happens. The problem hasn’t magically disappeared. We do not have equality. We are not living in an era of post-feminism.
Women, and by the term women – I mean all who identify as women, no matter their race, sexuality, background, country, all who identify as female, no matter if their bodily sex at birth was male and are now defining themselves as who they truly are – are still not treated with the same respect. Equal pay is still a problem. Jobs and political standings for women are still limited. Education for women in countries outside of the ‘first world’ as it’s called is something people are killed over. Women’s voices aren’t heard – whether she’s campaigning for equal pay or for the right to her family, or her freedom, or her education, her money, her life – they are ignored.
Women who live in third world countries, for example, in the Middle East, have lives that are far different from the men in their lives, and those around the world. Whether she’s campaigning for the right to drive, or speak her mind, or wear what she wants, in countries distant from ours, she’s made to keep quiet. Issues like rape, domestic violence, honour killings, murder are some of the worst things we’ll hear happening to women, but they happen and they happen all over. So, to say that there is no need for feminism, or the movements seeking equal rights for all people, is quite ignorant. You only need to turn on the news to see the amount of abuse happening overseas.
The film Suffragette might be looking at another time and telling a story from the 1900’s, but it’s one that was a major step in Women’s Rights. Gaining the vote was one step, we may have come far but we are nowhere near equality. There are women around the world living in conditions – a lot of us, if not most of us, will never have to face – purely because she is a woman.
I’m not saying that there is only an injustice in this world towards women. I’m notsaying that rights for the LGBTQ+ community are completely and totally won. I’m notsaying that only women are victims of rape, domestic violence, war and poverty. I’m notsaying that racial crimes and inequalities are no longer evident. They are. They all are. There is still such a long road for equality.
What I am saying is do not belittle or ignore the people still campaigning for women’s rights. They’re not taking away yours, they’re not taking away men’s rights, they’re not shunning racial issues that need to be addressed, they’re not ignoring women or people of colour, they’re not pushing away issues to do with sexuality and gender, they are trying to make the world a better place for women and in turn for all people.
They’re saying: this shit still happens and it’s happening to me and to women across all countries. They’re saying: it’s happening to all people. They’re saying: no matter what your gender, race, sexuality, religion etc, you should be treated fairly, as an equal human being. They’re saying: stop ignoring us and listen. They’re saying: don’t we matter?