Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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I did not go to university to find a man

London Mayor Boris Johnson recently came out with the golden nugget of knowledge that women go to university to find a man. At first I thought it was some kind of mistake but after a little looking around realised that those words had actually come out of Mr Johnson’s mouth.

At a press conference he joked that women had to go to university because “they’ve got to find men to marry”. The Mayor of London is often making inappropriate jokes and I understand if people were not to take the comment seriously, but it dismissive ‘jokes’ like this that make my blood boil.

I went to university and did not go to find a man. The possibility of finding a man was never something that even entered my mind. I wanted to go to university to learn, to get a degree and to have that experience. I wanted to go to university to study something I love, to delve into the subject deeper than I had at A Levels and GCSE and to inspire me.

I did not go to find a man. It implies a woman only goes into higher education to get hitched. It implies that women are not capable of furthering their education because they want to but instead because they have to find a man. It implies that fulfilment comes from being in a relationship rather than by doing things that you want to do. It implies, yet again, that women cannot be women without a man by their side.

A person like Boris Johnson, a public figure, need to watch their words. They are far more powerful than people often realise and this power doesn’t diminish in any way because the words spoken were a ‘joke’.

Once when I was in a club at university with my girlfriends, I headed to the toilets by myself. As I came back to meet my group, a boy groped me. I turned around and told him to get off. He told me I was sexy and asked if I wanted to go home with him. I pushed him away and told him to F*@% off. He called me a slag, told me I was frigid and then said he was ‘joking’. As if, because it was a joke, it forgives everything.

I see people be rude to each other, offensive in a way that crosses the line and when the other party is hurt, the word ‘joke’ and ‘banter’ is thrown around like it’s a soother. A cure that will heal all wrong-doings. It is like this, through the ‘jokes’ and the ‘banter’ that we take a small step back for every step forward.

Sexism is still a huge part of our lives, especially as women. They may be small acts of sexism that were all part of a ‘joke’ or ‘messing around’ but they accumulate to a wider thinking. They make that person, who is the target of your jokes, uncomfortable, angry, fearful or upset or all of those things. They dismiss a woman as a human being and Boris Johnson’s own ‘joke’ adds a little more fuel to that incessant fire.

Finding a man is not the ultimate task. Marriage is not what defines a woman. We can be fulfilled, happy, successful and confident without a ring on our finger and a man by our side. This has all been said before, it is essentially old news with a fresh coat of paint and yet, it continues to happen. Sexism is still prevalent – and sometimes, often, dismissed. It is still an issue for plenty of women in the UK and millions of women across the world. It is still a problem which is why jokes like Boris Johnson’s will continue being part of that problem. A joke is not an excuse to be dismissive towards half the population. A joke does not validate sexism. It is rude, it is derogatory and it is part of a continuing, long-standing problem.


2 Comments

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.