Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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I do

Yesterday, in the UK, the Houses of Commons voted for gay marriage in a pretty big majority. Now that bill needs only pass through the House of Lords and receive Royal Assent and ta dah! It will be law.

This will mean that gay people will be able to actually have a wedding rather than a civil ceremony. Religious institutions still have the option if they will or will not perform same-sex marriages and couples who feel that marriage is important to them can feel that their ceremony is just as important as couples who comprise of a man and a woman.

It’s an obvious right in my opinion. I know people disagree and I respect that some people are uncomfortable with the idea of same-sex marriages but it does not mean I agree. It just means I have a respect for people’s views.

Today on Facebook a friend who is religious posted on his Facebook that in his opinion he could not be happy about the vote and the new rights. Fine, it’s a matter of opinion. He then went on to say that the flaw in the argument of the people that were for gay marriage was that you could not redefine marriage. This is where it is no longer fine. Because that argument is invalid, society redefines words all the time.

The definition of marriage is not sacred. As much as a religious institution may want to monopolise the ceremony, it cannot simply because it does not have the right too. Language is consistently evolving as is our interpretation of it. The way we speak now and the way I’m writing this would have been unheard of 100 years ago.

Of course we can redefine things, it is how we evolve as a species. It is how new things can be discovered and how we can build on what we have learnt. If we did not redefine anything then women and those that are not white would still be considered second-class citizens. If we did not redefine things then we would never progress, things wouldn’t move forward – the world would become stagnant and stationary.

To oppose something because of your beliefs is understandable. After researching several religions I realised that none were really suited to me. Some less than others. I have chosen to not be religious as such. In that I don’t follow one religion, I have my own beliefs and that’s that. Just as many people have chosen to follow religion be that following Allah, God or anyone else.

But it seems strange to me to oppose something because you think we don’t have the right to redefine it when we are in fact doing that all the time. Religions themselves redefine things, science redefines things and that is how the world works.

In my opinion this is progress, slow progress but progress nonetheless. Denying someone a right for no reason is unfair. Criminals that lose their right to vote while serving time in prison: that’s fair, they lose that right through their own actions. An animal abuser not being allowed to own animals for the rest of their lives: that’s fair, because they have abused that right and therefore should not be allowed to keep it.

Two men or two women not having the same rights of marriage as a man and woman: that’s unfair, gay people haven’t actually done anything to have this right evoked. It doesn’t make sense why one set of people that are in love, or not, and decide to get married can and another set of people cannot.

The fact that this new legislation will make gay marriage legal is wonderful. It does not make sense to discriminate against someone due to the gender of the people they are attracted to. That’s they same as discriminating against people with brown hair. Or telling someone who has freckles that they are not entitled to the same privileges as the others in society.

This is a small but significant step towards equality and it’s about time too. And in a 100 years, people will read about this and think the same thing as the majority of the world now thinks of women not having the vote or of black people not being entitled to live around white people: absolutely bloody ludicrous.

By this time next year, anyone will be able to say I do. About time too.

I could find a suitable image to go with this piece that wasn't overly cheesy and just, well, so OTT it was weird. So I settled for cake, because cake is always appropriate.

I couldn’t find a suitable image to go with this piece that wasn’t overly cheesy and just, well, so OTT it was weird. So I settled for cake, because cake is always appropriate.


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Religion and women

Yesterday it was announced that the introduction of women bishops was rejected by the Church of England. Although many officials used all the right words like ‘sad’ and ‘disappointed’ and ‘a missed opportunity’ but frankly it’s not good enough.

I fully believe and appreciate that a religion should be allowed to practice freely as long as it does not pervert the justice of the country, which a religion usually does not do. However I do feel that religions should be forced to at least enforce equality in their higher level positions.

I do not claim to be religious but I have read the bible and only a few extracts of the Qua’ran so my knowledge of all religions is of course limited in terms of their holy texts. However, I do believe that certain things should evolve along with the century the religion is trying to survive in.

Equality amongst the genders is a taboo that is trying to be eradicated in modern society, how well that’s going is another issue entirely, but the whole gender equality seems to be ignored in religion. As if it is an area of society and people’s lives that is untouchable.

This isn’t only ludicrous but unfair. What makes a man’s faith stronger than a woman’s? What makes the way a woman prays and teaches what is in the holy text of her religion worse than the way a man does it?

The truth is that although a religion may be old and dating back to stories from 2000 years ago, 5000 years ago or 10,000 years ago it does not mean that the religion cannot adapt without losing sense of it’s fundamental meanings and teachings.

As much as it is argued all religious texts have a message of love, faith, loyalty, peace, patience and virtue at its core. They may have different named Gods, different beings and different events but these are the messages they try to convey.

This should go so far as to extend to women being equals. I understand that religion is deeply rooted with tradition but the church of England is at risk of alienating future generations by not allowing women to become bishops.

Many articles have stated officials and other important people in the church agreeing that women will become bishops, one day. But those are just words. In this instance, actions speak louder and the fact that the introduction of women bishops was rejected shouts a lot louder than the fact that many people have said that women bishops will appear in their lifetime. So what was the problem with today? Why are women forced to wait another few years?

If the Church of England wants to remain relevant and continue to function in a modern society it needs to adapt to the changing times. A religion’s fundamental wants for its people and the world do not change with the introduction of women into higher ranking roles. In fact, it helps better the ideology and message that a religion wants to spread of love, and fairness.

It seems a little silly to pick and choose when equality is a good thing and when it should be ignored. The phrase practice what you preach springs to mind.


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Ridiculous Gender Roles

The Great British Bake off has caused headlines today. Not because it’s a great show (I am known to like a good cooking show) but because the three finalists are male. How exciting right? Completely groundbreaking. Holy cow, men can bake.

How ridiculous that this would make news and reignite a debate on gender roles. It’s just baking and men, much like women, have arms a brain and the ability to turn on an oven. It is therefore fair to assume, that they have the capacity to bake. Why is this such a shock to the media and society as a whole?

Whoever can cook this for me: man, woman or bear, I will love forever. If the chocolate can be spread all over the cake then that’s even better.

I read a few articles about this astounding turn of events of having males instead of females in a bake off final and I’m still confused about what the big deal is. It seriously concerns me that this could still be news. The gender roles that many dubbed to be fading or non existent because women were becoming equals (a debate in itself), it seems never left.

It seems strange to me that these three men are deemed extraordinary enough to make news and restart an old debate. These men have made the news not because of being extremely talented or because they’ve achieved something incredible through their baking but because they are men and can make cakes.

These tired and dated gender roles existed in a society when women were expected to be seen and not heard. When women were dubbed ‘angels of the house’ and a man had to be strong, cold and powerful to be deemed a man. These gender stereotypes meant that people chose to conform rather than be ridiculed for not fitting into the ancient texts descriptions and ideals of a man and a woman.

We pride ourselves on being evolved and most humans on this planet think they are better and stronger than the other species on this planet. Yet if a final of a baking competition is all male then this seems worthy enough of news? What’s so special about it?

These gender roles may or may not be believed and adhered to by a large part of society but the newspapers shouldn’t deem it such a ‘crazy, new thing.’ People can do what they want regardless of their gender.

There is no secret to what makes a man and what makes a woman. Whatever is between your legs that determines whether you can tick the female or the male box on application and registration forms. It isn’t what job you have, or what you enjoy doing, or how you decorate your house, or what car you buy or what you wear. That makes a person. It shows you. It doesn’t determine if you’re a man or woman.

Once society works out this obviously very confusing society of vagina=woman, and penis=man; then gender roles can be thrown aside and laughed at for being so utterly stupid. Restricting ourselves because of our gender is just another barrier that has been put there by history, tradition and the inability to change.


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Yes, I’m a feminist

I’ve been debating the idea of what it means to be a feminist for a little while now. It started when I read an article on The Vagenda blog. I can’t actually remember the exact article but it was about name changes after marriage. I’d never given it much thought apart from the fact that I liked my name. Anyway, I’m only 21 – marriage isn’t at the forefront of any of my concerns or wants in life right now.

But it got me thinking.

I realised if I did marry, I would not take my husband to be’s name. My compromise would be to double-barrell it, on the condition that he did the same. After all, it seems a little silly that a marriage would start with double standards. Talking to my boyfriend, he agreed; he let me argue the whole thing at least three times and each time agreed. I like to be thorough though but he didn’t see anything strange in the fact that if I changed my name, he would too. This is logical for us, but the important thing is that it’s a choice. Not an expectation.

I then started to think about all the other ‘stereotypical’ things expected of women that I didn’t agree with or/and abide by. Things that I felt should be a shared responsibility between both genders. Things such as maternity and paternity rights being equal rather than a woman’s much longer than a man’s. Things such as the price gap and that a man is more likely to be employed over a woman in certain career paths and vice versa in others.

Things such as the majority of society’s expectations on women being wholly unrealistic and an impossible thing for any normal human (Superman and Wonder Woman can ignore this sentence) to achieve. The sexualisation of women in the media; yes it’s done to men but nowhere near the same scale. The simplification of women and the fact that women’s magazines seem more targeted on helping women be attractive and good, sex obsessed partners to their male counterparts.

Things such as sexual harassment on a daily basis includes whistling and in appropriate approximate to me on public transport. It’s allowing a woman to sleep with who she wants, when she wants without being deemed shunned unlike a man who does the same thing and it’s deemed normal. It’s not having dismissive comments like: ‘oh it’s a woman driver’ or ‘oh, she’s just a girl’ be considered inoffensive. It’s things such as the need to always have two powerful women fighting rather than getting on because apparently nobody loves anything better than a cat fight.

So yes, I’m a feminist. Always have been and have never felt to label it. It doesn’t mean that I’ll be burning my bras anytime soon, or ever for that matter. This is for two reasons: firstly because I like my bras, they’re pretty and they cost me money and I don’t like to burn money and secondly because that is not what a feminist entails.

For me, feminism is a want for equality between the genders. It is a want for women to be viewed in the same way as men by society as a whole. It is to remove the traditional, patriarchal views of what a man and a woman should be; views that are ancient and were written in a time when women were to be seen and not heard. They were a product, a stock, a piece of art, furniture: they weren’t considered human. This is not the case anymore because as a society we aim to realise that humans are equal. Okay society doesn’t actually apply this ethos into the running of the actual country but progression, slow progression, is being made. It still isn’t enough but it should be acknowledged. I digress. Women are not seen as objects anymore, at least in the UK yet there is still a clear divide between men and women (and I’m not talking about the differences in between our legs).

Another thing that I think is important is that a feminist doesn’t just have to be someone with a vagina. Men can be feminists too. The important thing about feminism is that it is a movement striving for equal rights. For women to be seen with the same eyes as men and not as a gender slightly less than them. It’s about no longer being a passive, historical typecast but a active, educated, modern woman.

I’m a feminist but it doesn’t mean that I don’t shave my armpits or my legs. Although I’m pretty lax with the whole leg hair thing. It doesn’t mean I hate men; in fact, I have a boyfriend whom I love very much and who I have put with (as he has put up with me) for almost two years. It doesn’t mean that I only wear baggy clothes with sarcastic slogans on them. In fact, I have even wore body-con (God knows why, that stuff only really looks good on people that have been photoshopped).

A feminist is just a woman, or a man, that believes women are equal to men. A person that believes that society’s views of women are still not where they should be. It’s either an exaggeration of positive discrimination or too much negative discrimination: people don’t seem to grasp the middle ground, that, or they don’t like standing on it.

I’m a feminist and I’m proud to be so. I’ve had the raised eyebrows when I’ve claimed such a thing but I can’t see why. I mean, I’m a woman so I have a personal interest in the topic anyway. And I’m a stifler for justice and fairness, so it makes sense. You can’t fight logic like that can you?

See, men can be feminists too 🙂