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CW: FGM, sexual violence, violence against women, abortion

Or, ‘A feminist overview of England’s main political parties in light of the upcoming election’.

The 2015 General Election is fast approaching and it’s best that we take a look at the parties now, before they begin making promises with the same level of desperation as a boyfriend who hears  you’re “going stay at your Mum’s for a bit and have a think.” Studies have shown that young women are currently much less likely to vote than their male equivalents, and we have to take action if we want a government that strives for gender equality.

fireworks

It’s safe to say that the trend over the past 100 years has been continuing progress in the sexual equality stakes (in England at least, and if you include progress that is, at times, frustratingly slow – basically, it’s a bit of a tenuous trend but let’s go with it while we’re feeling optimistic). Therefore, we can hope to expect good things in 2015. To move things along more quickly, let’s all agree to make some feminist new year resolutions, because it really doesn’t matter if you bite your fingernails.

treasure

This is part of a series that covers our personal paths into feminism and/or why feminism matters to us. If you’d like to write a blog post on your discovery of feminism, please drop us an email!

I didn’t realise I was a feminist until University. I didn’t suddenly become a feminist. Once I realised that feminism wasn’t as big and scary (dare I say brutish?) as I’d always thought, and that actually it was all about equality and social ideas, I realised I’d been a feminist all along. And once I’d looked in the mirror and declared aloud that I was a feminist, life went back to relative normality.

chatter

I was on a train recently and two women were sitting across from me. They didn’t know each other prior to the journey and I had the pleasure of watching them become friends over the hour. At first, they discussed their families (coincidentally, both were going to visit sick partners in hospital). By the end of the conversation, they were discussing the impact that beauty had on the way they perceived the world and were perceived by it. Watching these two intelligent women debate was fascinating, as one favoured the stance that it was harder to go through the world if you were less attractive and the other, if you were more. I tried not to eavesdrop on their private conversation but when issues of race and gender came into it, I was hooked. Then, in the corner of my eye, I noticed a man to my right trying to catch my attention. I looked over. He grinned, gestured to the women, then held up his hands, opening and closing them as if they were crab claws.

He’d called the women chatterboxes.

friends

I’m lucky enough to have a close group of amazing female friends, all of whom have supported me since I was a wee chubster of twelve. I love them all more than anything – we’ve been through family bereavements, break ups, coming outs and some seriously bad dye-jobs over the years and every time I see any of them my heart is immediately lifted. We encourage each other to be ambitious and courageous, and celebrate each other’s achievements with gusto (and alcohol). I’ve laughed with them over the stupidest shit in the whole world until I’ve been literally worried that I would die, like a victim of Joker gas.