Full disclosure: I’ve never been much of a trend setter. You know those really cool people who always seem just ahead of the curve with the latest new thing?
Yeah, that’s soooo not me.
I’m usually so far behind these people I’m a speck in the distance. When iPads first came out I think my, much voiced, opinion was that they were ridiculous things that would ‘never catch on.’
See what I mean? I really hit the nail on the head with that one, didn’t I? You can always trust me to read the zeitgeist – incorrectly.
However, I may have broken my pattern. It occurred to me this morning that even though I only started this blog in September last year (and so, in blog years, that means it’s still in nappies), the world of feminism looked completely different back then.
Yes, there was a slow drift towards recognising that the issue of equality was something that still needed to be addressed, and everyone was very impressed with Emma Watson’s speech about the ‘HeForShe’ campaign, but generally feminism was still a subject that, if you brought it up at a dinner party, would cause slightly pained expressions to cross the faces of your dining companions (particularly if they were men), and everyone would either politely try and change the subject or someone would say that we now had a female Prime Minister, so, ‘job done, am I right?’ Err…no, actually, but let’s not go there today.
I started this blog because I truly felt that the situation was becoming unbearable. Here we were in 2017, I had a baby girl and the pace of substantive change was so painfully slow that I simply didn’t believe that things would be drastically improved by the time she was all grown up and looking to enter the workplace. That made me really angry, and I felt that the very least I could do for her – the very very least -was to start speaking up about the issue. I didn’t necessarily expect anyone else to agree – I was fully prepared to be all, ‘the girl stands alone’ about it.
But then #MeToo happened. Just weeks after I wrote about the issue of sexual harassment at work and mentioned that I hadn’t met a woman who didn’t have a story – suddenly there were stories everywhere! On Twitter, in the press, on TV… all these incredible and brave women finally feeling able to speak up and share what they had experienced.
And it felt like the world changed. Suddenly I wasn’t alone. Suddenly feminism and equality was THE subject to talk about. I was ahead of the curve people – ahead of the curve! Who could have known when I started this blog in September 2017 that by the end of the year, the feminist fight would look so very different?
And call me optimistic (which no-one does, ever) but I’m truly hopeful that what we are witnessing will amount to real change. And I’m hoping that 2018 is the year it happens. It’s only 16th January 2018 today but I thought I would have a quick recap of the year so far:
- Toby Young was forced to resign from his appointment to the Office of Students following a public outcry as a result of his many years of sexist and misogynistic tweets (oh, and his penchant for attending eugenics conferences – yuck)
- Carrie Gracie publicly resigned her post as China editor as a result of the BBCs dismal failure to deal with her request for equal pay
- John Humphreys was publicly shamed for mocking the above mentioned issue of equal pay at the BBC (always nice to see privileged white males really revelling in that privilege)
- The first few companies with over 250 employees began to publish their pay stats, proving once and for all that the gender pay gap is very much a real thing. (Phase Eight – I’m looking at you)
- #TimesUp was launched and Golden Globe attendees wore black in protest and took female activists as their dates on the red carpet, totally changing the conversation.
- Mark Wahlberg donated the $1.5million he earned from the reshoot of ‘All the Money in the World’ to #TimesUp, after learning that Michelle Williams was only paid about $1000 for the same thing
Now I don’t know about you, but that looks like a pretty good two weeks for feminism to me. If we keep this up, I really do think that 2018 might be the year the world changes.
And I really fucking hope so. Because I quite enjoy being on trend for once. 😉