I started writing this post under the title of Why I won’t be a feminist (a working title). I went on to talk about how I believe in gender quality but that I refused to be called a feminist. I spoke about my reasons why I felt this way and how that I didn’t want to label myself as one because I had never felt like I had experienced gender inequality.
My feelings were ‘I feel like there should be gender equality, but I don’t know too much about it to fully believe in it’.
The main reason for not wanting to call myself a feminist is because I didn’t feel like I had a right to. There are women all around the world that have experienced some form of inequality and who stand for equal rights. I didn’t have that experience. I didn’t want to be that person who stood for something and hadn’t fully grasped the meaning of what it actually meant. When I stand for something it’s usually because I have experience in that field. So when I say that I am a feminist it’s because I understand what the word means.
Something happened the other day, or rather a series of events occurred which changed the way I saw feminism and my attitudes towards it. It happened in the span of about two hours.
The first got me a little angry and quite pissed off. Both me and this guy were taken out of class because we were A/A* grade students and the teacher wanted to know how we were doing. I’m a confident student and I talk confidently too, whereas the other guy, let’s call him Bob, isn’t so confident. So out of the two of us, I am the probably the loudest.
The male teacher, who is quite high up in the school leadership- he might be a deputy or something- looked at Bob a lot for answers. When the teacher asked us what we were doing outside of the creative writing class, Bob answered he was in talks with a (small) publishing company for a while but nothing had yet been confirmed. This was over a short story. The teacher turned to me and I replied I write my own blog, this blog, he stopped me before I was also able to add that I write as part of a fashion blog as part of my job. He asked me what I wrote about and I lost him at the first word ‘fashion’.
I get that not everyone’s going to be interested in fashion and that a lot of men wouldn’t be interested but it’s respectful to take an interest in someone’s work. The teacher went back to talking to Bob about his “book”, leaving me to sit there and think about why the work I had done paled in significance against something that wasn’t even in existence. We went back into the classroom and the male teacher spoke to the class teacher about Bob and his unpublished book, completely dismissing me and my work.
The thing is, both are achievements that should be seen as equal. It left me wondering, why should his achievements be seen greater than mine when I have more to show? Why was the teacher so much more interested in him? Why was my work dismissed?
Feeling pissed off at what had happened, I went to Feminist club with an open mind, wider than it had been when I previously attended the club. I had something on my chest that didn’t sit well with me, and I wanted to know why this is.
During Wednesday lunch at sixth form, there is Feminism club. It isn’t just for feminists but for people who are interested in feminism or who just want to find out more. It’s open to anyone. I went last week, and it was really interesting. It’s about discussing things and whether we think certain things are equal or not.
So on this day they showed Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We should all be feminists Ted talks video. I listened to her stories about how men in Lagos would look at her brother or her male friend but not her. I took a lot from her speech, her stories and her views on the subject. It made me re-think my own views on feminism.
I linked that to what had happened earlier and concluded that maybe it was some form of inequality. I listened closely to her speech and thought that maybe I am a feminist.
On that day, I went from ‘I feel like there should be gender equality and maybe that makes me a feminist’ to ‘I believe there should be gender equality and that makes me a feminist’.
So call me a Happy feminist.