We are pleased to welcome Dominic Hinde, Phd Student, Green activist, translator and former freelance journalist to our Hollaback! Edinburgh organising committee. In this week’s post, Dominic tells us about himself and discusses feminism, gender, the importance of democracy and his motivation for joining Hollaback!
I can’t really pinpoint how and why I decided to get involved in feminist campaigning. Living in contemporary Scotland can be like a pick and mix of social ills, and it is sometimes hard to know which one to focus attention on. And this is where it gets interesting. Once you start looking at all these diverse problems, you begin to see the role played by gender in each of them. What many people do not know for example is that women are disproportionately high users of public transport, but disproportionately low users of public space for sports and recreation. Mundane facts, but they reveal a lot about the way in which men and women in Scotland live parallel existences. Unspoken, unseen, and undiscussed. And when those citizens of Scotland who happen to be women venture out into the spaces society reserves for men, they are outsiders.
Every single inch of the city should be as open and safe for women as it is for anyone else, but that is rarely the case. Feminism is about democracy in the broadest possible sense. Anybody with an interest in fostering the values of openness and equal rights inherent to a functioning democracy cannot fail to call themselves a feminist. The worrying thing about men’s rights campaigns in recent years is the way in which they have totally misunderstood the aims of feminism, and that robust feminism is as beneficial to men as it is to women. Because we all want to live on a street, in a city and in a country where we feel that those around us enjoy the same rights as we do. We want to know that our female friends can live and work and love in the same way that we might hope to do ourselves, and that we might walk to work or home from the pub as equals. The same risks, the same pleasures. Now we can’t police every street, and we can’t legislate against institutionalised attitudes. What we can do is try and change our culture one step at a time. This means that men need to be involved in the process. You cannot scare them into submission, but you can pull them out of the ditch.
Scotland is changing, and Scotland is well on the way to becoming the progressive modern country which I and many others know it can be. We would be doing ourselves a disservice if we did not seek to put feminism at its heart.