A Moment For Honesty
Its me again (Becky)
I’m currently sat in a cafe, halfway through my drink and trying to put my thoughts and feelings into words so here goes.
I struggle with feminism.
That’s the truth.
Not the notion of it, but actually being a feminist. Or at least a good one?
I started learning about feminism 2 or so years ago - contrary to what I had been told it wasn’t women who all hated men or hated shaving etc but it was a movement and way of life in which equality between the sexes was the ambition. I was amazed, then embarrassed that I had listened to all of these stereotypes and that I had been deluded for so long. I was also astounded that so many people I was associated with not only didn’t class themselves as feminists, but also didn’t see the need for it. “equal pay isn’t an issue” “what do you mean feminist? Woman have equal rights” “tampon tax so what, your issue not mine” “girls with short hair must be lesbians” “so you hate men then?” “if you don’t shave your legs thats disgusting - you can't be a real woman” “you’ll want to learn how to cook so you can keep a husband” (all actual quotes)
It is with this that I made it my mission to educate myself and form my own opinions. Starting off with ‘Everyday sexism’ by Laura Bates, I began reading everything I could get my hands on - googling the academic words that I didn’t understand, skipping the sections I felt I already had a good grasp on, watching youtube videos, listening to podcasts - you name it, I tried to cram it all into my head.
Yet I still fall into old behaviours. I occasionally forget to be intersectional. I forget that my voice cannot speak for all (which is hard as I am opinionated af). I feel guilty for not being the perfect depiction of a woman, for not being skinny, pretty, smart and funny. I’m not great at cooking and feel bad about it. Rather than read a book like ‘the second sex’ by Simone de Beauvoir, I’d much rather read those trash magazines full of photoshopped bodies or the ones where someones mum runs away with her daughters fiance (i know!). I also love the colour pink. If I was to get married I would probs take my husbands name. I don’t want to give into how the word feminist has become a tool by consumerist society to sell things, but at the same time I really want a pretty shirt that says FEMINIST and also maybe a nice pen to match.
Half of me thinks that the idea of a ‘good feminist’ is incredibly flawed; how can we judge what makes a good feminist? Parts of feminism are flawed but that is due to it being created by human beings and as human beings, not matter gender, colour, shape, sexual orientation, age, culture, privilege, sex, upbringing - we are innately flawed. Always have been, always will be.
I’m BORED of feminist collectives making statements saying that to be a feminist you can't do this or that and you have to love yourself 24/7. It doesn’t work like that. I don’t think I am a bad person or a particularly bad feminist and if you associate with any of the above you’re not a bad feminist or not one at all, but I am coming to the realisation that feminism much like any skill is something that you need to keep working on; I don’t feel I can simply call myself a feminist without putting the work in; without reading up new blogs, theory and listening to those on the forefront additional to older generations of feminists.
Article by Rebecca Hancock