I’m a feminist, but if I’m honest, I’m not particularly good at it. While I would love to blame my failings on my religious upbringing or lack of feminist role models, the bottom line is that I now know better.
Here are five reasons why I am a bad feminist:
- I read (and love) romance novels.
I don’t just read stories about love, but stories about gender stereotypes; manly men who save women in need of physical or emotional rescuing. To make matters worse, I prefer endings in which the protagonist and love interest end up together. Single and happy does not work for me in this space. Ouch.
- I will go and watch Fifty Shades Darker.
Do I agree with feminist claims that Christian Grey is an abusive sociopath? Sure. Would I warn a friend off him? Absolutely. Would I date him? No way (wait, how rich is he?). Did I crush on him while watching Fifty Shades of Grey? Little bit. I can’t explain it, and ashamed to admit it, but I will go and see the sequel the day it opens in the cinemas. I feel ill knowing that in some small way I will be reinforcing to men that women secretly want to be dominated and controlled. I can only promise to take a long, cleansing shower afterwards.
- I’m capable of intelligent feminist debate, yet generally resort to ‘men are shit’ type comments
A good feminist does not lose their shit during a feminist debate. If you lose your cool and call someone out for being a misogynist arsehole, your opinions are immediately devalued by your audience. People may even laugh at you. You will be labelled as something that ultimately translates to ‘hysterical’. It’s not fair, but this is how it is for now. So a massive hats-off to all the amazing feminists in the media who give well-thought-out, calm responses under difficult circumstances. I will continue to swear openly at all the chauvinists so that you don’t have to.
- I like a man who offers to pay for dinner
I know, I know. I blame this one on all of the romance novels I read that keep me badly trained. But until women are paid the same as men, I’m allowed to hold on to this one. Consider it the price of patriarchy.
- Chores in our house are gendered
Sharpen your pitchforks because it’s 1950 in the Bird house. Each morning hubby traipses off to work while I tend to the children and commit myself to cooking and chores. We have got ourselves good and stuck this way. And unfortunately I am a huge part of the problem. You see, watching my husband attempt to multitask in the kitchen is a bit like listening to a stutterer read. Eventually, I’m going to jump in there and help. As an accountant, I thought he would easily grasp varying cooking times in order to get to one agreed eating time. But despite an elaborate mess of chalky sums on the pantry door blackboard, he usually finishes with burnt sausages and a sweaty forehead. To be fair, I think his fear of me inhibits his abilities. On the mornings he prepares breakfast for the boys, I stand at the edge of the kitchen like a tethered Rottweiler. Every few minutes he glances cautiously over at me because he has no idea how long the tether is that day.
Before you feed me to the social media trolls, I want to reassure all the ‘good feminists’ reading this that I am a work in progress. I have no doubt that in a few months years you will be reading all about the Five ways I became a rockstar feminist.