When Ms Bishop came out recently and announced to Australians that she, indeed, was not a feminist I was shocked. I think that the majority of Australians were!
How can someone who has so much power and is capable of such significant influence over surrounding women possibly come out and claim she does not connect with the ‘concept’?
In her initial claims, Ms Bishop states “if I want something I’ll work hard and set my mind to it and if it comes off that’s great”. Now I agree with that statement in its entirety however, what I do have a problem with is the fact that the Foreign Minister is implying that women who do connect with feminism are “not working hard” and not “setting their mind” to tasks. It is hard to ignore the fact that Ms Bishop might just be implying that feminism is some kind of excuse that women everywhere are using in order to justify and vindicate themselves from doing any work.
Surely this is not true? Surely Ms Bishop has made a mistake and miss-judged her choice of words?
Unfortunately this is not the case.
Ms Bishop went on to highlight that if a task “doesn’t come off” for her she “will not blame the fact that I am a woman”. Woah there, does someone need a refresher on what feminism is? Honestly, I am incredibly glad you do not do that Ms Bishop; really I am, because you would have an extreme self esteem and confidence issue – unfortunately though, feminism is not about blaming your gender for any type of issue you may face.
It is not about blame, guilt or shame that you place upon yourself due to your gender.
It is not about feeling sorry for yourself due to your gender.
It is not about wishing you were not female.
Inequality (what feminism is against) is about being victimised, degraded, ridiculed and judged when maybe you don’t achieve something, be it in the workplace, at home or in the greater world, just because of who you are and in this case, because of your gender.
Feminism is about stopping that from occurring.
Feminism is about achieving a world where pining for gender equality is a act of the past.
May I just repeat the fact that feminism is NOT about women blaming their gender on the fact they may not be able to achieve something!
To make things worse, Ms Bishop went on even further to speak of ‘feminists’ in the past tense. “I respect what they went through and the barriers that they faced and the challenges they had to overcome”… Hang on… WHAT?
Whilst many may not fully understand the offensive undercurrent of this claim, may I just say what an utter offense this is to all women who are faced with horrific treatment every single day of their lives just because of their gender.
Domestic violence, rape, the pay gap, fears of walking home alone at night, being stared at and wolf-whistled whilst walking on the streets just for being there and having to be subject to the ridiculous standards of beauty that society sets upon us are at their highest rates right now and these are only a bunch of the problems.
My question is how on earth can anyone, not just Ms Bishop, possibly talk about feminism as if it is a thing of the past? We need feminism – the strive for gender equality – more than ever.
Slowly, I got over Ms Bishop’s remarks. I thought, oh well, that’s fine, she is entitled to her opinion and you know what? She absolutely is.
But then something else happened.
Julie Bishop was named Harper’s Bazaar’s Woman of the Year.
And to you Ms Bishop I say congratulations. I say congratulations because it is a huge honour! (I do mean that seriously)
However in the interview that Ms Bishop had with Harper’s Bazaar, Ms Bishop advised women to “stop whingeing and get on with it”.
Do I even need to explain the multiple problems with this? I will anyway.
Can I just say that telling women to just deal with any form of miss-treatment is absolutely appalling. As a female in a powerful, respected position, I am utterly stunned that Ms Bishop would share these kind of remarks. Everyone is entitled to his or her thoughts as I have previously stated and if Ms Bishop believes that and holds that as her opinion, then fine. I am unsure, though, of whether as a person in her position of power these particular thoughts should have been shared.
No one should ever tell any woman, or man, to put up with any miss-treatment directed at them and I am not going to bother explaining why.
I do respect Julie Bishop for the work that she does for our country and whilst I do not agree with what she has recently announced, I do admire her for speaking out.