"By women wanting to be treated equally doesn’t mean anything will be taken away from men"
Lydia French is the founder of The Brighter Times, she shares her positivity and thoughts on all things Feminism
Firstly Lydia, could you tell us a little about yourself please:
I’ve lived on this planet for 37yrs and four months. I do my best daily to live my truth, educate myself, and become the very best person I can be.
Are you openly a feminist?
Should the topic arise in conversation, I’m very open to talking about feminism. I’m always keen to listen to others, and understand the different movements and ideologies surrounding it. It’s a forever evolving issue, and one that I’m still very much learning about.
Define Feminism in your own words:
In simple terms, for me it’s the belief that both genders should have equal rights and opportunities.
Why is Feminism important to you and why do you think it’s important for future generations?
When I think about feminism on a global scale, of girls and women all over the world, it is our duty to be advocates to those who need it most. As a white, middle-class female, living in the UK, I grew up, and still am, privileged. I’ve been blessed with an education, countless opportunities, and most importantly freedom. This is why I feel discussing and promoting feminism is important; to create a fairer world, where attitudes and mindsets of both genders shift, to create freedom and opportunity for all.
Have you ever experienced any misconceptions of yourself due to being a feminist?
It is a challenging conversation to have at times, and in my own experience I’ve felt immediate resistance on occasion, as if I were anti-men. I would like to clarify I love men! Neither am I anti-men or solely pro-women. I’m pro kindness and valuing everybody for who they are as a person, not for their gender.
A lot of people I talk to about feminism, refer to themselves as an“equalist” I would love to get your thoughts on this.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting everyone to be equal, but I question whether being a feminist and equalist come hand in hand anyway? By women wanting to be treated equally doesn’t mean anything will be taken away from men - it’s additive, not subtractive. It simply means righting some very particular wrongs. Feminism is there to address said wrongs. Does it have to be exclusive though? Can one not be a feminist whilst being for the correction of other imbalances, too? Isn’t it possible to think ‘equality for all’, while still being someone who supports the particular cause of feminist issues...?
What is the one thing at the top of your mind that you feel could change through feminism?
Freedom and fair opportunity.
A large part of feminism (in my opinion) is eliminating girl hate and supporting other women, do you agree? And if so, how do you support this? It’s sad to think that anyone could take pleasure in someone else’s pain, shame, or insecurities. I have four sisters and three brothers, and from a very early age we were all taught to embrace goodness in people, to empathise, and to be kind. Life is tough, support is key. My contribution to the world is my positivity platform @thebrightertimes. Not only is it brilliant to keep me on track personally, but if it can encourage and help even one person to view the world with ‘supportive’ eyes then I’m happy with that.
What is your favourite feminist quote?
“and still, I rise.” - Dr Maya Angelou
Would you recommend any feminist focussed materials such as books or podcasts that would allow the readers of this interview to discover more about feminism in a positive way?
Ted talks are always brilliant! Twentyish minute snippets of encouragement, empowerment and hope.