#PressforProgress! Feminism, Inequality & 4 Ways You Can Act

by - March 05, 2018

This Thursday 8th of March is International Women's Day. As a Gender Studies student you can imagine this is our field day. With my thumbs ready to tweet #PressforProgress (this years theme), I take a step back and think about the ways I'm pressing for progress myself. Besides my choice of study and obviously the tweet I'm about to send into the world, I realised there are so many other things I could do to press. For instance the buttons on my keyboard. So I flung my phone to the left (after having tweeted the hashtag obviously) and a la, here we are.

As of late the word feminism has hit mainstream and its devotees aren't (exclusively) seen as 'angry, sex-hating, man-hating victim lady persons'. Hell, if some form of feminism -girl power, girl boss, the Spice Girls- isn't included in your Insta bio you're seriously missing out on some good marketing. Basically: feminism is hot [to be read in Paris Hilton's voice]. Which is, if you please look through the sarcasm, something I can't deflate as that's awesome. However this blown up attention also means that there are people who use feminism for the likes/double taps/thumbs-up without being aware or practicing the words they preach.

Now I'm not going to preach as that's neither my place or my intention (nor very interesting). But I am dedicating this month on my blog to think and further elaborate on feminism, girl power and the Spice Girls (the latter may not be true). Starting with this years theme of International Women's Day and what to do with it.

Educate thyself

The theme of this year, #PressforProgress, is inspired by the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report and the impact of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns. The report and the campaigns showcased a darker side of society (who knew it could get any darker?), with inequality being the bonding factor. Through challenging, celebrating and influencing, International Women's Day wants to create and stimulate contiuous support and activism pressing gender equality.

Central to all this is spreading consciousness and educating people; without turning into your boring schoolteacher screeching its intellects unto a blackboard while Britney Spears is anxiously waiting to start singing. Although, having said that, sometimes it's very important to delve through all the boring intellects (or Tumblr) to properly understand the nuances and ideological differences within the field we're working with and your position in it. Have you ever counted all the different subgenres of feminism? More on this in a later blogpost.

Beat slacktivism!

But how to avoid slacktivism and actually make a change on the 8th and beyond? This is literally a question I asked myself. Because sure, me tweeting #PressforProgress is very important and stuff, but it doesn't actually add something to the conversation. It shows my solidarity but to then just step back and say 'my job here is done' would be delusional.

On the website of International Women's Day you can pledge your devotion to a certain topic, such as challenging stereotypes and celebrating women's achievements. Underneath each topic there are actions you can undertake, however these actions are still very abstract. Take for instance 'influence others' beliefs/actions'. You can do this by campaigning for equality in meaningful ways... Ok. But how? (And what is an unmeaningful way to campaign for equality?).

I understand the need for these actions to be abstract but, as you might agree, this doesn't really help when wanting to act instead of slack. So I came up with four things I -and you- can do this month to actively #PressforProgress!

1. Write a blogpost

Let's start with the obvious one: write a blogpost on International Women's Day, feminism and inequality. Don't know where to start? Well, why not start with your own experiences and ideas: What does feminism mean to you? How do you apply it in your daily life? Who inspires you? Not a member of the blogosphere? No problemo! Utilise your social media and accompany that stylistic picture of your breakfast or OOTD with a message from the heart. No social media? Well... uhm.... *error*

2. Wear purple

The future is purple, or so leading colour coding and Instagram trendsetter Pantone declares, as it stands for hope and visionary thinking. 2018 is the official year of purple, or, more accurately, the colour of Ultra Violet 18-3838. Purple has a rich history and is often associated with feminist movements like the Suffragettes who described it as 'the colour that runs through their veins', and therefore it's thus a perfect addition to your wardrobe this month. From head-to-toe or a hint here-and-there, wear purple with pride and don't be afraid to tell people why you look so purple-y.

3. Read up

As stated above, I'm all about that education, education, education. I'm definitely no saint, genie or know-it-all, so why not reserve some time this month to read up on the topic. You can go big or go home with academic articles, play it cool with popular lit or pay homage and check out what other bloggers are putting out. I'm actually going to review some books I've recently read, so keep your eyes peeled if you're in need for some suggestions! Also if you've recently read a jaw-dropping, mind-blowing book, article or blogpost, don't be shy to share! Sharing is caring, after all...

4. Use your voice

Unfortunately we can't snip our fingers and change the world. So we often need to start small in order to create a ripple effect and change society for the better. A good way to influence your surroundings is through having a good ol' conversation. The simple act of talking can be eye-opening, both to spread enthusiasm as critically analyse others' and your own points of view. As long as it's respectful and the decibels aren't making everyone's ears bleed, using your voice can be one of the most powerful tools you own. A good icebreaker: "So... have you heard about that feminism stuff?"

What are you doing to #PressforProgress on International Women's Day?

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  1. Ik ga in discussie met mijn dochter. Waarschijnlijk zal het laatste woord dan nog niet gesproken zijn... ��

    Liefs, Marjan

    1. Oh, daar kan ik wel zeker van zijn (maar ik denk dat we allebei wel weten wie er gelijk heeft....). ;)