31 July, 2017

Feminism is a beautiful word

” I’m not a feminist, but…” is an utterance you have probably heard before. It made us at Helka wonder; what is it that makes people so afraid of feminism even though their thoughts and ideas are clearly feminist.

Is it because the stereotypical image of a feminist pushes people away? Feminists are seen as either bare-breasted protesters, humorless complainers or shouting manhaters.

Well, at least here in Helka, feminism doesn’t occur like described above, but as respecting people regardless of their gender identity, origin, religion or other factors.

 

Feminism is dead, long live feminism!

In our opinion, the prejudice towards feminism is not warranted because feminists have achieved so much in this country. Feminism is a multifaceted, renewing ideology that encompasses many different movements, ideas and waves. The suffragette movement fought for women’s rights in the 19 th century, but modern feminism also acknowledges the challenges faced by men and transgender people.

So why do we at Helka want to use the term feminism? Isn’t equality good enough? Feminism is a controversial term that gets people’s interest. We need interest, so that people can see just how much work there is to be done in order to achieve true equality both in Finland and across the world. We also think that using the term is an homage to women who fought for their rights in the last centuries, making our nation the most equal it has ever been. For example, to the women who built Helka.

But how could we make feminism mainstream? There are plenty of people in Finland whose thoughts are feminist, but who are afraid of using the f-word. We at Helka believe that we as feminists could prove wrong all negative images. We shouldn’t get provoked by prejudiced people laughing at us, but we should stay calm and build this land, and the world, a better place for the future generations.

People are, in the end, smart. They understand that if one person calls themselves a feminist and wants to castrate all men, it doesn’t mean that all feminists want the same. The same applies to everything: if one middle-aged, white, heterosexual man touches young women inappropriately, it doesn’t mean that every middle-aged man is a potential harasser. The core principles behind feminism are so important and big, that not a one or even a hundred fools could drive them to the ground.

We at Helka believe, that we can reinforce a positive image of feminism through our example. That’s why we want to say to every person talking about equality: let’s talk about equality in a manner that can include everyone.

 

Feminism shouldn’t be hard to talk about

Intersectional, ableist, transmisogynistic…

While talking about equality in Helka’s social media, we have often come across terms that we haven’t recognized. We understand that every field has its unique vocabulary, but we have also noticed that these special terms can leave people out of the discussion.

Talk about equality shouldn’t be dependent on people knowing special vocabulary. It is understandable that, for example, people who have studied gender studies have a different vocabulary about equality compared to others. It shouldn’t, however, make it impossible to have conversations about our society where all are mutually understood. If people are secluded from conversations due to complex terms, we can never join forces and work together towards true equality in our society.

In order to speak a common language, we must talk about this subject calmly, with time and with respect towards each other. It is more important to understand a person’s view on equality than to quiz them and see if they can use the right terms in right places. Understanding each other is the first step in making feminism mainstream, and in doing so, building our world in to a more beautiful and equal place for us all.

With all due respect, and with love, we would like to know your opinion. Can feminism someday become mainstream in our Finnish society? Can feminism someday be a beautiful word to us all?

Team Helka