Beginning to think feminists are nothing but a meddling bunch.

Posted 11 Apr 2013 by Walaa Idris

Understand how some might feel uncomfortable and even embarrassed with a topless beautiful woman smiling back at them from page 3 of The Sun paper first thing in the morning. But I am surprised at the fuss they are making about it and even shocked they want to all together ban it.

The excuse those young beautiful women are exploited or belittled it laughable. Most women on page 3 are glamour models. That means they pose topless or with little cloth on for a living. Plus it is not at all the same as working in the sex industry, which if they did, will disqualify them from being on page 3. And another requirement for models to get on page 3 is to have their own natural breasts (no implants). Some would say that promotes positive self-image and confidence in women. Not that I would encourage or ever want any of my own daughters to do it. But we live in a free world and we should respect other peoples’ choices even if they don’t agree with ours, as long as these choices don’t intrude on our own. We are of course also free to not buy or pick up and read a free copy left on the train/in the trash if it offends us. But to ban it, is neither progressive nor respectful to women. It dictates what women should or should not do with their bodies and that is backwards and disrespectful to women and their independence.

I can hear many shouting, and you call yourself a Conservative? My answer to them will be it’s because I am a Conservative I have respect and tolerance for peoples’ freedoms and expect them to do the same for mine.

We want women to reach the highest levels in the City and the boardrooms of the country. But at the same time we decree what parts of their body they should and should not show. That to me sounds like utopic hypocrisy.

I also find it comical it is the same feminists who accuse Saudi Arabia of being backward for oppressing women and not allow them to vote, drive, forces them to cover-up and only travel accompanied by a male (any male, sometimes a boy of 9 will do) are now petitioning to ban page 3 where women are free to choice unforced.

To me that just sounds like a bunch of interfering busybodies who want to assert themselves with controlling others. The better way to safeguard young women from exploitation (if that is the riding concern here) will be to empower and educate them. Give women and girls of all ages the tools and confidence needed to stand on their own two feet. Teach them how to love and respect themselves, how to become good loving mothers and role models for their daughters’ and the future generations. Because progress does not come from banning things it comes from confidence and from knowing who you are and what you’re worth.


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Not sure if I am a feminist.

Posted 19 Feb 2013 by Walaa Idris

The other day a friend asked me if I was a feminist. In all honesty, I couldn’t answer straight away and had to take a moment and think about it. Some would say that in itself is an answer. And I would agree with them. Somehow, I get the feeling feminists, like most people with causes, would know straight away if they are or not part of a cause. Be proud of their affiliation with it and have little or no hesitation to admit it. So, to be absolutely sure I asked, what was her understanding of feminism and how would she define it? Surprisingly, until then I never really thought much about the issue.

As you do these days, I googled feminism. And according to good all Wikipedia “Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.” But isn’t that just equality? If we replace the word woman with the word people then feminism is nothing but equality. Then, if that’s the case, why not just say equality for all, and that will of course also include women?

Furthermore, why do we as women, in this century, want to segregate ourselves? Isn’t being a woman, in many places hard enough without the added tag of feminist, or being different?

I then talked to another friend, who I know sees herself as a feminist. She agreed with me on my equality stance and added: “We (Tories) should not leave feminism to the bra burning Harriet Harmans of the world, because equality and equal rights affect people of all political persuasions and those on the right need to hear it from the right’s prospective.” Well, seems being ‘just’ a feminist is not enough, it also has to address feminism form different prospective. Wow, and here I though being a woman was tough enough job – these women are making it even harder.

It then hit me why I am not all that crazy about feminism or being a feminist. Because it’s a label, a pigeonhole, like being black, ethnic or Muslim. Yes I am a woman; yes I’m black and belong to an ethnic group and…… But in all honesty I don’t like labels, unless of course if they are of the Christian Louboutin, Hermes or Channel variety – now these labels I actually like a lot.

Can just hear feminists all over the world audibly cringe. But before tarring me with whatever antifeminists are tarred with, here is why I dislike labels. I think they are limiting, and can in the long run be damaging to women and their empowerment and can therefore hold them back.

What I find truly surprising is if my mother (now 77 years young) in 60s and 70s Africa did not need anything besides her degrees, hard work and dedication to reach the highest levels in business and commerce and become the first female to gain a PhD in the country, become Bank of Sudan officer, become the first company CEO in Africa and the Middle east. Then why are western women today demanding quotas and positive discrimination to lead in their professions? Don’t they want to get there on merit, with the respect and admiration of their colleagues? Imposed promotions and manufactured accreditation only build resentments and undermined women authority. I think women today should fight against all discriminations positive or otherwise, particularly women only lists and quotas, not the other way round.

It is a known fact that men and women are different. They have different strengths, different qualities and methods by which they approach and achieve things. These differences are in fact our strength as human beings. Together they are positives, they are what make us the strongest and smartest living being on this plant, because they complement and complete each other. But somehow, it seems through the years we lost sight of our true strengths and became more concerned with being similar, and identical as oppose to different yet equal. We became obsessed with what we ought to be rather than the best we can be. Don’t get me wrong this is not a lurch back to a time where women were oppressed and voiceless, it is not. This is an acknowledgment of our abilities and limitations, a recognition of our unique individual traits and how best to understand, embrace and capitalise on them.

As for me, I am a mother, a daughter and a sister, a loyal friend and will be there whenever I can for people and causes that matter to me. I can do anything I set my mind to do, so don’t bother making any special measures or allowances for me. However, I don’t mind for men to hold my door, pull my chair, and stand when I leave the table or walk on the outside of me on the street. Because none of these acts take anything away from me and my abilities, but they say loads about the man.


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