On Friday night I went to go and meet a friend for a quiet drink. We’d agreed to meet in Pigalle which is around a 15 minute walk from my flat so I decided because the weather has been truly glorious in Paris recently that I would like to have a leisurely stroll down the boulevard. Now since moving to Paris I have become very used to comments in the street from men trying to get my attention. It hasn’t happened to me for a few months so I was slightly taken aback when two boys of a similar age to myself tried to get my attention by shouting things at me. In the wake of hundreds of demonstrations on Sunday for International Women’s Day I pondered about this kind of scenario which is so prevalent in some many major cities not just Paris. It truly seems shocking to me that I can’t walk to meet a friend without some kind of salacious remark being thrown at me.
I have grown up thinking that a woman can do anything she wants because I have never been told the opposite. Strong female role models in my life have proved to me that you can be successful in what you do as well as a wife or a mother. Or you can choose to be any of them. A common misconception of feminism is that it hates housewives, but this is contradictory to the concept of equality that is a core principal of women’s rights. To quote Beyonce “Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” In my brief time on this planet I have encountered many people, incidentally including women, who have no idea that this is the fundamental idea behind feminism.
As someone who is deeply excited by politics I find it apocryphal that more women don’t exercise their right to vote. The women who fought and died for our rights deserve us to exercise those rights and to strive for a better world where I don’t get catcalled for walking down the street or where we still have to have a day dedicated to women’s rights. Evoking the French libertarian symbol of Marianne I urge everyone, not just fellow females, to make every effort to improve life for women not just in our own countries and societies but those across the world.
*jumps off her high horse*