Note: I originally started this several months ago and added to it, figuring I’d post it when it was “ready”. Given the recent news involving the SCOTUS and overturning Roe Vs. Wade, it’s ready.
Feminism seems to mean something a bit different to everyone. And unfortunately, a lot of what feminism means has gotten twisted by people with a vested interest in women not understanding feminism. Mostly through either miscasting feminism entirely, or by miscasting feminists in an unflattering light.
Some of my thoughts on feminism below and a caveat: I don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself, because feminism means something to each of us and we’re individuals. I’m not here to gatekeep feminism, or to try and tell you it’s what I say it is and you can’t be one if you disagree with me. We all get to define ourselves and our feminism individually.
I consider myself a feminist. I was raised by one, and I have been one since I was old enough to really understand what feminism is. I am still learning what feminism is, in big ways and small ones.
There are a lot of big ways feminism has worked to improve womens’ lives. Nobody “gave” us financial independence, or professional respect, or the vote. We earned it inch by painful, struggling inch, despite all efforts to derail us. Feminism has worked in small ways as well; to improve our lives, to engage our minds, to sharpen our awareness of the inequities we have yet to fix. It shows us how far there is yet to go, but it also grants us companions along the way – each other, unencumbered by the artificial distances our foremothers were made to feel from one another. We can choose to regard one another not as competition or rivals, but as sisters.
The small feminism with the biggest impact on me personally boils down to learning that I don’t have to accept anything that doesn’t ring true for me. And that can get surprisingly big for such a simple idea.
It’s learning that despite what I (and most women) are taught growing up, we don’t have to constrain our lives to someone else’s comfort zone.
That we don’t owe anyone a boner; pretty is not the rent we pay for occupying a space called female.
We don’t have to fucking smile if we don’t feel like it.
“Be a lady” is codespeak for “Don’t do anything that will lead to you figuring out you’re your own hero”.
There’s a lot of people out there with a huge interest in teaching you to mistrust your own judgement. Those people can FOHWTBS.
“No” is a complete sentence.
Enforcing boundaries is a radical act of self-love.
We have the power to understand truth with our own perception; we don’t need reality interpreted for us.
Feel free to leave a comment with what you have learned.*
*Showing up in the comments with misogynist bullshit = instablock. No appeals.