I Didn’t Think I Was A Feminist

Feminism.jpg

By Laura Mitchell-­Ghafoor

I didn’t used to be a feminist. Or at least, identify as a feminist. I used to say, “Feminism? Not my cup of tea, thanks.” I had an argument once about how celebrities arguing over trivial things and labelling it as feminism diluted their argument and that was why I wasn’t a feminist; like equality could be compared to squash mixed with too much water at a barbecue in summer. I wasn’t militant. I wasn’t born in the days when women couldn’t have jobs, and right then, there were more pressing issues, thank you very much.

Only – and it’s been difficult to say this in the past, although the more you say it the slightly easier it becomes- I was entirely wrong.

Yes, I am a feminist.

Maybe part of the reason I distanced myself from the movement was Twitter Activism. I still don’t like all the hashtags. And I don’t like throwing insults round to get my point across (I’m looking at the people who shame President Trump’s physical appearance because of his bigoted views – I don’t know how effective insulting someone’s hair or hand size is going to be when he has the power to remove people’s rights, make those of a certain religion register, and openly admit to grabbing women by the pussy). In my opinion, that only makes your point as strong as the men who cat call women on their way from the train to the office, or the reporters who are only interested in what the female celebrity they’re interviewing is wearing while they ask their male counterparts all manner of interesting questions. But, I digress.

Maybe it was because I myself am incredibly privileged. I’m a woman. I’m a gay woman. But I’m also white. I’ve had the opportunity to be educated. I have a career. Perhaps I thought that feminism just wasn’t for people like me.

But then I got to thinking about the world.

That in some places girls are still forced to marry against their will at twelve. Some men still think that women can’t be trusted to decide if or when they want to have a child. Menstrual blood isn’t allowed to be shown on TV despite 50% of the people in the world having to experience it every month at some point in their life and the other 50% only being here because of it any way. Women are paid less than men. Women are asked in interviews every single day if they’re married, what their husband does (side note – stop assuming. My wife’s job has nothing to do with this), when they plan to have children (another side note – you don’t need to ask this question but even if you did, if might be marginally less offensive). We blame rape victims for wearing certain clothes or drinking certain drinks or being certain places when their college swimmer rapist gets let off easily for ruining her life. We see pink tops for little girls and blue tops for little boys and tell them they have to be pretty and cute while their brother is strong and funny.

This list isn’t exhaustive.

And I realized that those things matter to me. Really matter, in fact.

And I read some books, had a quiet word with myself and told myself that, if I believed that everyone should have the same rights – regardless of their gender – that of course I was a feminist. I shouldn’t let my seat in Camp Privilege affect that.

I feel inspired by recent events – the Women’s Marches across the world showed how many people want things to change. The saddest part is that it feels like right now, we need it as much as ever.


Laura is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, click HERE.

{featured image via pexels}

2 thoughts on “I Didn’t Think I Was A Feminist

  1. megansrecoveryblog says:

    I agree and I wasn’t a feminist till I knew that Trump actually had a chance and that he needed to be stopped. I’m a feminist because I’m a teacher/nanny and aunt who needs to stand up for my students, my future niece. I with you and her!!! Keep writing these posts.

    Like

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