Today I want to tell you a story. My Feminist Awakening if you will...
I was around 9 or 10 when I decided that I was a feminist, I’d gotten a set of history books for Christmas (yes I’m that cool) and the very last one was “the modern world”. It had WWI and II briefly and of course Churchill, but most importantly to me was a whole section on the Suffragettes and the women’s rights movement.
I was absolutely mesmerised by these magnificent women, and at the age of 10 I didn’t know anything about gender inequality, but this completely opened my eyes. I began to understand how wrong “thats for boys” is and that I wanted to be treat the same as the boys in my class. My first “feminist outburst”, I suppose, was when a boy in my class ruined my diorama and called me a stupid girl so I threw paint all over his too because I wasn’t a stupid girl (I was actually a lot cleverer than him but thats irrelevant).
At aged 16 I was very uncomfortable in myself, I wasn’t confident at all, but I still upheld my views. I tried to challenge sexism as best I could when I could barely walk past a group of boys without looking at the ground. When I wore makeup to school I was treat like the ugly duckling who’d suddenly transformed, when really all I was doing was trying to live up to everyone else’s standards. I was at school for god sake why did I need to wear makeup?
Truthfully it wasn’t until aged 21, 11 whole years after I discovered I was a feminist that I truly owned the label and I honestly believe thats down to how much stick feminists get. I didn’t want to be known as a man hater or a bra burner and more than anything it was down to my own personality too. I was quite a girly girl who, although had strong opinions, liked being treat like a lady and dressing really feminine. Then I realised I could be both. I could be a strong bad ass and a girly girl. I could wear cute lipstick and demand equality. I began getting involved more in the movement, I helped organise my local Slutwalk and wasn’t afraid to voice my opinions. Sure I still get teased by people, but I won’t be stopped from wanting equality.
As far as I’m concerned, everything I am now is all because of little pre teen Rach resenting being called a “just a girl”. I am more than just a girl, I am a strong woman who will not be silenced.
Originally posted on Fem-tellectual on IWD15