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Feminism

Hi Sam,

I've always known that I believe in equality but only recently have I called myself a feminist. I am a girl who strongly believes that men and women should be equal. But when I call people out for being sexist (even girls) I get told that I am too hardcore. Or that there is something wrong with me. Even if it's said as a joke it still hurts. So I as wondering if I should stop talking about feminism but I can't do that. I don't rally know what to do.

Can you give me some advice?

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Sam

Hi there

Women and girls have the right to be treated equally to men and boys. Speaking out about these rights is sometimes called feminism. Anyone can choose to be feminist; you don’t have to be female to have feminist views.

You shouldn’t be treated unfairly or differently because of your gender. Sexism is wrong and can be illegal. Feminists speak out about the right for women to have political, social, and economic equality to men.

Your friends and family might have different views to you but that doesn’t make your opinions wrong. No one should make fun of you or belittle you because of your beliefs. It’s okay to walk away from situations where other people are making you feel uncomfortable with what they say or by their behaviour.

You have the right to express your views and to speak out when people make sexist comments, even if they say they’re only joking.  If it’s safe to, you can challenge their comments and behaviour. Try to stay calm and be factual and assertive, even if you feel angry or upset about what’s been said.  Making personal jokes or comments about you is a type of bullying and you can report sexism, discrimination and bullying at school or college to a teacher or tutor and ask for help to get it stopped.

Other people can sometimes try to make you feel bad or wrong for having different beliefs to them and they might not realise they’ve judged you too quickly. Remember, everyone makes assumptions and the opinions you hear can often have a big effect on what you believe. Questioning your views and listening to opinions of a wider group of people can sometimes help to prevent assumptions becoming stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. People are all unique and different - stereotypes don’t represent any one person.

Thank you for your letter and remember that help and support is available from counsellors at Childline if you ever want to talk.

Take care,

Sam

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