This week I’ve been working on my dissertation, doing hours or reading on being a woman. On what a woman is, about feminism, motherhood and work. My dissertation may be on Plath, but the research goes further than that and it’s got me thinking about some of the famous feminists I look up to. So for this Sunday Seven I want to celebrate some of the most awesome feminists around.
1. Malala Yousafzai
I don’t think there’s anyone who embodies the spirit of feminism like Malala. Even after the Taliban attempted to murder her, she carried on and made her voice louder than ever on an international stage. Malala stands for something that every feminist, I think, should fight for. Equal education for girls in all areas of the world. Malala’s story reminded us all that just because we have these things in the Western world does not mean we can take them for granted. Equal education should be for every child around the world, regardless of gender.
2. Jennifer Lawrence
Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of The Hunger Games I caught on early that Jennifer Lawrence was something incredible. Not only does she not pretend to be an always glam, super cool actress, she reminds all of us she is just another woman. The quote above really hits home that alongside acting, Jennifer wants to change the way women are viewed by the media and the pay gap. Her, quite frankly, brave piece about why she gets paid less than her male costars made headlines around the world. I say brave because it could have made her career suffer. It could have meant that the film industry refused to work with her and that her fear of being called ‘difficult’ or ‘spoilt’ had come true. She make a point though and by raising this issue in public, she puts it in the spotlight for the rest of us in ‘normal’ jobs too. It get’s people talking, and that’s exactly what we need to do.
3. Laura bates
While Laura might not be known internationally, she is a force to be reckoned with in the UK. Her Ted Talk and book of the same name ‘Everyday Sexism’ is an incredible piece of work. Personally, I read this and felt both sad and strengthened. I realised that it was ok to get pissed off when someone touched me, made me out to be just a sexual object or made fun of me for my gender. I basically did a U turn on a lot of things because I read her research, her statistics and her stats, I talked about things I’d never thought I could before and it was all because of Laura.
4. Emma Watson
Again, a huge reason that I am now such a proud feminist. Emma’s He for She speech spoke to me as someone who didn’t want to use the label feminist and who resisted it at all costs.Emma is one of the amazing women of my generation who is reclaiming the word and what feminism means, as well as talking about real equality between the sexes.
5. Sylvia Plath
There are a lot of arguments about whether or not Plath is a feminist. She is to me because she acknowledges the struggle between wanting a family and wanting a career. She believes she can be anything, but she also has self doubt. Her work on the 1950s and 1960s and the attitude towards women is something really incredible, as is the character of Esther in The Bell Jar. Plath is one of my heroes because she isn’t perfect and she doesn’t 100% seem to know what she believes, she changes her mind as as she gets older and I can’t help but resonate with that.
6. Caitlin Moran
I have to include the woman who had me walking/ hobbling around my house shouting ‘I’m a feminist’, while clutching a copy of her book. Ah Caitlin Moran, what has the world done to deserve you. I’d read how to be a woman when I was about 12 and thought it was weird and terrifying and ended up throwing it in a fit of grossness. Fast forward to the age of 21 and it’s one of my favourite books. It’s funny, honest and makes you think. It’s thanks to Caitlin I am a feminist, I am a proud feminist and that I’m not afraid to say it loudly to anyone. All her other books are amazing too.
7. J.K Rowling
Think about the women in the Harry Potter series they are almost all strong, independent and good. The fact that one of the main characters in one of the biggest selling series’ of all time was a girl with bushy hair, big teeth and a love for books, while being friends with two boys and the smartest witch of her age. It gave those of us who didn’t always fit in someone to read about who was like us, it made being the smart girl cool! Women were not weak in the Harry Potter books (unlike some of the movies), they were often the strength and intelligence. For a lot of girls, she changed the way they saw themselves and saw the world, including me.
I do not own any of these images, they are the products of very talented people I found online.