We often talk about feminism in terms of freedom. Feminist protests are often about fighting for our freedoms, with certain freedoms coming up over and over again, most notably reproductive freedoms and freedom from sexual assault. But there are other freedoms, some of which barely come into the conversation.
For this Freedom Day, I put together a Women’s Freedom Wishlist, based on my wishes and those of other women. Here it is.
- The freedom to move about my own city, by myself, at any time of day, without fear.
- The freedom to wear what I like, without fear.
- The freedom to wear what I like, and not have people judging my body as either beautiful or ugly.
- The freedom to drink in the presence of friends and not worry about assault.
- The freedom to enjoy a conversation with anyone without wondering whether they are just trying to have sex with me.
- The freedom to wear, or not wear, skirts.
- The freedom to wear, or not wear, trousers.
- The freedom to wear, or not wear, hijab.
- The freedom to wear, or not wear, make-up.
- The freedom to choose my own career.
- The freedom to be a stay-at-home mother and not be thought of as un-feminist.
- The freedom to breastfeed wherever my baby is hungry.
- The freedom to be fairly remunerated for my work.
- The freedom to be financially independent of the males in my life.
- The freedom to retain my name and identity no matter what my relationship status.
- The freedom to have children and not have it stifle my career.
- The freedom to have children with a male partner and not be expected to be the primary caregiver.
- The freedom never to be treated as an incubator.
- The freedom to be open about my sexual orientation without fear of retribution.
- The freedom never to worry about domestic abuse.
- The freedom never to be intimidated or harassed by men on the street.
- The freedom to know that my job is in no way dependent on my looks.
- The freedom to never again be treated as decoration.
- The freedom to assert myself in a relationship without being considered a henpecker or my significant other being called whipped.
- The freedom for the men in my life to explore and express their masculinity in their own way.
- The freedom to have, or not to have, sex with my husband.
- The freedom to go on a date without sex being expected.
- The freedom to freely and legally use contraception.
- The freedom for my children to have my surname.
- The freedom to marry whomever I want, when I want to marry them.
Some of these wishes are more important, and some less so; some will fall away over time, and others will be added. Many of them are so blatantly obvious and so desperately needed that it seems almost redundant to articulate them; these act as a sobering reminder of how much work feminism still has to do. As with any social movement, we can only hope that one day it seems ludicrous to everyone that half (or more than half) of the population ever had to fight for these basic freedoms.
All of these wishes add up to one over-arching hope: women wish for the freedom to be treated as fully-fledged people and citizens of the world.