What the word 'feminism' means to me
It's no secret that there is a big wave, a big movement of powerful, no shit-taking women who are tired of the current climate and patriarchy that seems to be so prominent, even in 2019. So I found myself getting swept up in the wave and washed up thinking about what feminism means to me.
I started by listening to Scarlett Curtis' podcast 'Feminist's don't wear pink and other lies' which got me thinking about different types of feminism. In her podcasts she asks her guests what age they were when they discovered feminism. I, growing up like many others thought of the word feminism only as a radical movement of women who hate men, didn't shave their legs or armpits and would never wear pink. I was wrong and I don't quite know where I got that idea from growing up.
I will never forget the moment when I just 'got it' and that scary word feminist resonated with me. I was 30 and I read something from Maya Angelou that gave me that lightbulb moment. "I'm a feminist. I've been female for a while now. It'd be stupid not to be on my own side". That was when I realised all I needed to do to call myself a feminist was to be on my own side. It sounds simple, and it is. But it didn't feel like it growing up. Although I had a good group of female friends. I couldn't shake the constant feeling of being in competition with other girls, even if I wasn't trying to be. That feeling of not adding up to the girl that had giant tits, the girl that had already started her period, or the girl that had the perfectly symmetrical face. I didn't realise at the time that I was being brainwashed. It's still so noticeable now, the idea of 'perfect' that's plastered all over magazines and social media. Despite the conditioning that we are supposed to tear each other down, we're not. We aren't meant to feel jealous of each other for stupid things that don't matter. We are supposed to be on each others side. Because if we can't stick up for each other, who are sticking up for us?
Feminism is and will always be about equal rights and fighting patriarchy, of course. But for me, feminism is about love and respect for ALL women, no matter where your journey starts. Women loving women, building each other up and being proud and excited for each other's achievements is the most important part of feminism to me. I'm not the feminist that will be shouting ferociously in activism groups. Those feminists exist and they are doing incredible things that I would never have the courage to do. However, just because I'm not doing those things it doesn't mean that I'm not a feminist. I'm the feminist that will try every day to do something nice for other women. I will spread the things that I have learnt in hope of inspiring others. I'm the feminist who has nothing but love and respect for all women, because we are all amazing and I will always be on my own side!
Image via Brit And Co