RE: #FeministsAreUgly

A Quick Word, Celebrate, General, People, Sophie, Twitter

I was recently on the internet (though quite frankly to say that would mean I’d have had to get off the internet) and I was doing my rounds on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter when, on Twitter I came across a hashtag. #FeministsAreUgly was a worldwide Trending Topic and I was mortified, because not only are Feminists beautiful but all women and all people are. I clicked the hashtag and while the page was loading, in those two flash seconds, I was dreading what would come up. I was expecting a lot of cocky young men to be tweeting out sexist, crude, misogynistic sentiments (of 140 characters or less) but I found none of that. Perhaps the topic first emerged because one man did so, but instead I was pleasantly surprised.

Instead what I saw was a mass of women posting selfies in reply. None of them were saying “Am I ugly” or looking towards other people to validate their beauty, but instead their captions were “Are you sure?” “If that’s the case then I like being ugly”

I admit, at first, I thought isn’t that a little bit… vain?

But I was horrified by what I had just thought. It was the type of thoughts that come from the mouth of misogynists, not feminists. It was what a society had taught me to think when someone, especially a woman *gasp*, was outwardly showing their confidence, and I hated that I had let myself think such a thing, even for a split second. Because behind these captions and comments was what I love most about humanity.

What this thread was actually, was a bunch of women and men, all standing up for themselves against the sort of people who tell them that they are not enough. It was people having the confidence in themselves to say “no. I’m beautiful” and that’s a sort of confidence that I greatly admire. It was actually women and men standing up for each other and when you look at all the selfies collectively and see how many people have the confidence, and the power to stand up and say “I am beautiful” it is truly wonderful. It is not vanity, it is simply self-worth.

So I retract my initial thought.

That is just what society has told me to think.

Instead I think that these people are owning it in ways that words cannot properly describe, even if I am trying to with this blog post. I think that these people are amazing and all beautiful. I think these people should be celebrated and given a round of applause because they have a level of confidence that I am still trying to work towards. But you know what?

I am a feminist,

And I am NOT ugly.

I am beautiful.

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International Women’s Day 2015.

People, Sophie

Today, as you may know, is International Women’s Day. And while my feelings towards this are somewhat like Mary Elizabeth’s views on the Sadie Hawkins dance in The Perks of Being a Wallflower (“thanks for the crumb”), and I think that there shouldn’t just be one assigned day to celebrate women, I still think it’s a good thing to celebrate- the only thing is, there is no way to do it- so today I thought I’d write about a woman that I support and advocate. Emma Watson. Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably heard of her.

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To me, like most people in the world, I was first introduced to Watson when she started to play Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone she was eleven and my seven year old self thought she was cool and I wanted to be her. Since then Emma has built herself a steady career with roles that have been particularly close to my heart. She was Pauline Fossil in the BBC film adaptation of Ballet Shoes, one of my favourite books when I was younger. She was Sam in the adaptation of Perks of Being a Wallflower, a book and character that I loved and held dearly, she was in the music video for One Night Only’s “Say You Don’t Want It”, one of my favourite bands (and even six years later I still want a coat like hers). Soon she’s going to play Belle in the real life version of Beauty and The Beast which, coincidentally, was one of my favourite Disney films when I was a kid. Emma Watson somehow managed to become a special person to me, and I have loved her almost from the start.

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But my admiration for her does not end with her film roles, if anything they’re just the start. When I was doing my GCSE’s she attended university at Brown and, for a short while, at Oxford. I felt empowered by her move. Despite having a lavish career set in stone, despite never needing a job ever again, she still sought out further education and knowledge. She got all A’s at her GCSE’s and her A-level exams even though a lot of her time was spent on film sets and studios. I thought “if she can do it, I can do it too.” and while I may not have received all A’s I’m here at university and that’s something. I’ve always admired women who are well educated and knowledgeable- Natalie Portman is another- and so the fact that Watson attended university solidified my admiration.

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Since then Emma Watson has been doing amazing things with her life, most notably is her work as a United Nations ambassador for gender equality, whose work is an attempt to gain gender equality on a global scale. In her speech on September 2014, I applauded her call for men to support gender equality in her campaign #HeForShe, believing that the inclusion of men in feminist activity is crucial. Now, I’m in standing ovation as she held another conference and when someone took to twitter asking “how do I prove to my dad that engineering isn’t a man’s profession” and Emma replied “become and engineer”. #HeForShe,for me, is not just about getting men on women’s sides, it’s about women being able to do what they love without a second thought from anyone and I am in huge favour of that.

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What’s more is that Emma Watson is a good role model. She’s carried herself well through life, she hasn’t gone off the rails like some, she is stylish and sophisticated. She’s not all about sex or parties. She’s a style icon. She’s the sort of person you want to be or be friends with and that, too, is admirable. She’s a woman that can be taken seriously.She’s only twenty four years old and is already doing so many wonderful things with her life. I’m sure she’ll continue to do great things that are special and important to me, things that I will fully support, I am sure that I will continue to admire her for a long time to come.

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Of course, she isn’t the only woman worth celebrating. There are many more women that are worth attention- other actresses, academics, historical figures, my friends, my family- and they all inspire me in different ways, but if I was to talk about every single one I’d be writing this post until next year. Today, it is International Women’s Day and I want to celebrate. If you are reading this, I urge you to pick a woman that you admire or are inspired be, it can be anyone from your favourite celebrity to someone who is doing amazing work that needs to be drawn to attention and either comment below about them, or write a post yourself in celebration.