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May 10, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]


I’m a feminist. Stop your cringing. I shave my legs. And my armpits. I like to buy clothes, shoes and nice underwear. More often than not, if I’m wearing a skirt, it’ll be short. Don’t worry, I wear tights, my legs are far too pasty to be exposed to the general public. I love my Madame Hawke coat, not to mention my Moochi dress that I’ll be wearing for graduation. That said, I drink beer, swear a lot, and I’m pretty sure I hang out with more boys than girls. But I still consider myself a feminist.

I believe that New Zealand’s abortion laws need to be reformed, to ensure that women can safely and legally access abortions. I believe women should be given the same employment opportunities as men, and they should be paid just as much as men for the jobs they do. I appreciate the battles fought by our feminist foremothers to ensure that we have access to the pill and other forms of contraception without the need for the consent of a husband. We can get bank loans and own property. We can be the CEOs of major companies, we can be mothers, prime ministers, doctors, professors. We have the luxury to be able to choose our own career path, we can choose whether or not to have children.

I have a feeling that a lot of young women are reluctant to identify themselves as feminists. Partly to blame for this are the frequently misguided stereotypes associated with the women’s movement. More often than not, those feminists who make the most noise and kick up the biggest fuss over the most minor of things, are the ones that gain the most coverage and ultimately dictate the way feminism is perceived by society at large. I assure you, not all feminists are angry, men-hating, bra-burning, middle-aged women.

There is a more moderate face to the women’s movement. Many of my friends are proud to say they’re feminists—these are the same friends that I go shopping with, drink wine/beer/cider with, party with, gossip with. We’re all educated, we’re all opinionated, we’re all ambitious—and we all believe that there are still battles to be fought in society to ensure that women, not just in New Zealand, do attain full equality with their male counterparts.

This week is the women’s issue of Salient. Student media is, typically, dominated by boys—and Salient has been no exception to this. This year is the first time in Salient history we’ve had an all-female editor/designer/news editor line-up. Despite this, I still feel there is a place for a women’s issue. This year, we’re going for a bit of a different approach. We’ve got some interviews with young women who are all making it in their chosen careers. We’ve got a feature about vaginal reconstruction, and one about Disney dames. We’ve got an account of one young woman’s experience of an abortion. We want to make you think. We want to change what you think it means to be a feminist. Are you a feminist?

Caitlin has done a fantastic job organising Women’s Fest. Do head along to some of the events this week!

Last week I went to the launch of the Auckland University Students’ Association’s annual women’s magazine Kate. This year Kate was edited by the super wonderful Rosabel Tan, who has kindly allowed us to reprint a couple of the features that appeared in Kate in this issue of Salient. Congrats to Rosabel on her fantastic magazine, it’s an awesome read. If you’re interested, head to for a look-see!


About the Author ()

Editor for 2010, politics nerd, panda fan and three-time award-winning student journalist.

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