Those of you who knew me back in the day may have some ponderances about my changes in views around feminism and, after some pondering of my own, I feel like I want to address where my previous views came from, and why they’ve changed.
For those of you who have only met me in recent years, let me give a brief overview of my previous opinions on women & feminism, as taken from my previous blog posts:
- If you think, even for a second, that being a “modern” woman makes you respectable and dignified you are deluded.
- “Feminism and the downfall of society” – the actual title of one of my blog posts.
- I wish we could just travel back to the 50’s when women were women and men were men.
- What man would want a woman with a degree and a high powered career? I sure as hell wouldn’t.
- Like it or not men are better at some things than women, women are better at some things than men, and all individuals have their own areas of expertise.
- Suddenly, with all the PC nonsense going on, “masculine” has become a dirty word.
- I do not care that you can tell a woman’s marital status by her title, I think you should be able to tell
- I am the anti-feminist. I would give back the vote tomorrow, I don’t think women should be allowed into Uni, I don’t think they should have high powered jobs and I don’t think that they should have more rights than a man.
If you’re still reading, I want to take a moment to try to express the level of shame, horror & general mortification that I feel reading those back. However, I think it’s important to be honest about my previous views, especially in the context of this post where I want to share why those views changed and where I think they came from.
Why I was an anti
From a young age I wanted to be a wife and a mother. That was my dream. That was my “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As I got older I became conscious of feminism, but what I heard & saw about feminism felt like a personal attack on me & how I wanted to live my life. The message I got, loud & clear, was that feminism was about making women go into high-flying careers to work 70 hours a week, banning them from being stay-at-home mothers, and abusing them for wanting to look pretty.
My reaction to feeling that my dream way of life was under attack was to dive into that way of life even deeper. It was a terrible decision both personally, and from a political point of view. I tried to hide & squash the less feminine qualities in myself, I tried to mould myself into my own cookie-cutter version of ‘female,’ I encouraged myself to stay in relationships that didn’t make me happy (at best) just because they could be considered ‘traditional,’ and I voted Tory, among other bad ideas.
I was a young woman who absolutely believed that her friends should be able to do whatever job they wanted, to make whatever life choices they wanted, and I would support them in those. I believed that gender shouldn’t limit a person’s ability to make a living, or dictate what they wore, or how they acted, and yet I was so angered & upset by what I saw of feminism; a change in what was forced on people, not freedom from those dictates, that I railed against it.
My views changed slowly; intersectional feminism crept into my Twitter feed, a few friends began sharing feminist articles on Facebook, I discovered a some feminist YouTubers, and I gradually realised that actually, their views were my views. We had the same vision for the future. We wanted the same world.
Why I am a feminist now
Now I realise that what I initially thought of as feminism is in no way what feminism is about, and that the feminist ideas I heard growing up were not anything I would consider feminist now, but I think it proves the point that feminism has an image problem.
I should have been a card-carrying feminist from the moment I knew what it was. My ideals & morals haven’t changed from then to now. The only thing that has changed is that I have listened to feminist debate from intersectional feminists. Now I know that feminism is about choice.
Today I am more than happy to declare myself a feminist, because now I understand that feminism is about equality. Now I realise that my desire for my friends to be able to create the life they want, while I create the life I want in a totally different way is essentially feminism. When I say I’m a feminist, I use it as a catch-all term: I believe that all people, all people, deserve the same rights, the same chances, and the same initial respect.
Feminism isn’t perfect, or is it?
There are, of course, problems in the feminist community, like in any other community. Just one example that I don’t like is that some feminists are willing to leap on others for genuine mistakes, or accidental ignorance. Personally, I think it’s how you respond when you’re called out on your mistake that matters. Do you apologise & learn, or do you get defensive, or even attack right back?
Feminists mess up, we’re ‘problematic,’ we don’t know everything, we forget things. Essentially, we’re human. So in my opinion, feminism is perfect, but feminists, like any other human being, aren’t.