Really, this post should be called ‘The Day I Saw Sense’ or ‘The Day I realised I Am A HUMAN BEING TOO’, but I think the one I have is catchier.
I had never really considered feminism when I was younger, as I suppose I just assumed I was an equal, no question about it. I was brought up in a single-parent household, by my fabulous mum, with lots of help from my lovely grandma and aunts etc. So, lots of women. I am the youngest child, with an older sister and an older brother. I never noticed the world around me, as I was a quiet and quite inward-looking child. Yes, I had Barbie dolls and watched Disney princess films, but I also loved Lego and playing imaginary Harry Potter-related games with my friends, and one particular game my sister and I used to play called ‘Murderous Twins’ (I now realise that to an outsider, that may seem like a pre-requisite to a future as a serial killer, but we just had very vivid imaginations okay?). So I had a pretty balanced childhood in terms of gender stereotypes.
Then, as I hit puberty, I started to notice things. I was an early developer, and was a C cup when I was around 13 years old. I saw strange things happening, which made me feel uneasy, but I could not figure out why. I remember, even before I really knew what sex was, feeling ill at ease when I saw Page 3 open on buses and tubes, without understanding exactly why I felt that way. Later on in my life, I noticed boys beginning to stare at my boobs, make comments about them and hear them talk loudly about sex and especially (some hardcore) porn, even going as far to play it on their phones at school in front of everyone. I noticed men starting to stare, call things out and generally sexually harass me on the streets as soon as I hit 12 years old (even when in my school uniform-gross right?). I felt like I was thrown into this new, strange, albeit exciting in an odd sense world, and no one had warned me about it. I just blundered my way through it for a few years, occasionally hating it, myself for not conforming to gender stereotypical views of beauty and especially hating my school (but that is another story).
Then, I started at a new school for Sixth Form (which I am still at but due to finish soon AHH I’M SO SCARED). Suddenly, I was surrounded by liberal and socialist thinkers, brought up by Guardian reading parents in a very middle-class and educated area of North London (I think we can all guess which school that is). I was (and still am) studying Government and Politics as one of my A-Levels, which meant I had to start reading newspapers, watching the news on TV, thinking about current ideas and events and discussing the effects of what was going on in the world. Feminism, as an ideology, is only studied in the latter part of Year 13 (so I am doing it right now), but was lightly touched upon a few times. I was one of the few people that genuinely had no pre-conceptions of feminism, as I had never really thought about it.
Then, one day I was at my best friend’s house, and her mum asked me if I had read this new book called ‘How To Be A Woman’. I said no, and she lent me her copy, saying it was brilliant and I would love it. I took it home and started to read it.
HOLY SHIT. IT BLEW MY MIND. I am not exaggerating when I say this. It was the perfect introduction to feminism, especially for a 17 year old girl who was just trying to figure out who the fuck she was and stuff. This book was so funny, so genuine and so heartfelt and honest, I fell in love within the first chapter. Finally, a hilarious woman who I wasn’t intimidated by, who I wanted to be best friends with and get drunk with and have a laugh with forever and ever amen. I loved how honest Caitlin Moran was about herself, about her life, her teenage years being a ‘fat girl’, discovering masturbation, sex, drinking, smoking, everything teenagers need to know about. Her chapter on abortion, although I have never had one, made me immediately identify as un-apologetically pro-choice. This book made me identify as a feminist for the first time, and I have never looked back. Since then, I have tried to read as much as I can about feminism, and I have fallen more and more in love with it with every book, every blog, and every feminist twitter account I come across.
If you have not read HTBAW yet, which really you should have already (come on!) GO AND READ IT RIGHT NOW. Get it out of your local library, buy it online or in an ACTUAL BOOKSHOP (do those even exist anymore?) or borrow a copy from a fabulous friend of yours. DO IT NOW. It will change your life. I know it changed mine.
Hello there, mumimafeminist, I just joined tumblr about 20 minutes ago as I wanted to start a feminist blog. This is my first post and I would love it if you posted it! I’m feminismordeath.tumblr.com. Thank you!
Thanks for this feminismordeath :D
I also found feminism through HTBAW :)