In reading over this letter I felt compelled to write back in high school, it’s interesting to compare what has changed: the metamorphosis my own feminism has undergone since 2013, and sadly, what hasn’t: progress towards gender equality.
Dear Mr Abbott,
Can I call you that? Or would you prefer almighty patriarch, instigator of 1950s gender stereotypes, chief custodian of housewifery …
Okay, okay maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself, or then again, maybe not? It’s probably just my teenage hormones, but of course, those will be dealt with by that chaplaincy program, right? Because all those old religious men know exactly what it’s like to be a young woman in this world.
This world where, despite gender inequality laws, the pay gap between men and women is still 18 per cent. Where one in six women will experience sexual violence during their lifetime – that’s four girls in my English class!
Was I 15 years older, I’d be considered a maternity risk and probably would be overlooked as my dream job was handed over to a less-experienced and less-qualified man.
And you know what happened when someone with the same body parts as me did got your job? She was bullied, ridiculed for the clothes she wore, and critiqued for her choice not to have children. Her partner was also bullied – subjected to prehistoric assumptions about his sexuality, all because his occupation was considered feminine. Where was the coverage of all the amazing legislation she pioneered?
You may think I’m just another whiny “witch”, but I’m not. I’ve seen what it’s like for those at both ends of the gender spectrum in my own little microcosm and I’ve realised that I’ve got the shorter end of the stick. And this isn’t my fault at all: it’s the system, which is being perpetuated and encouraged by you. It’s a system that upholds archaic stereotypes and suppresses those who try to defy the hand they are dealt.
But I don’t want to stay at home to do the ironing, the cooking and the cleaning. It’s not because I’m lazy or ungrateful, but because I want to go out and conquer the world. I want to be afforded the same opportunities as young men my age and find my own niche where I am free to contribute in my own unique way.
Why? Because I’m sick of being called a “bitch” for being “sassy” while the guy next to me is a “legend” for saying the same thing. And frankly, the only dishes I can cook are toasted sandwiches, pasta and scrambled eggs!
As cheesy as it sounds, this girl just wants to have fun – free from anxieties about whether she appears too forward, bossy or immodest.
But frankly, these problems don’t seem to affect you. In fact, you’ve managed to talk yourself up so highly that you’ve actually convinced yourself you know all. You decided that the Carbon Tax, which would prolong the quality of life on this planet for my children and their children, was a burden to women everywhere, and you were therefore generous enough to lift it!
Okay, so maybe I’ve been a little mean, maybe I’ve (very) slightly exaggerated, but my point is that nothing seems to be breaking through to you! All I want is for you to listen, to understand and to sympathise. You have your own daughters, don’t you? Though, they’re going to be the lucky ones, with a free ride through university and a trust fund to last for years. That is, of course, if they manage to find a husband so they can leave home.
Okay, so I think I’m done now. Rant over. Just please, for the good of half of the people in this wonderful country, sort out your priorities!
A grumpy 17-year-old with a thirst for justice.