When I was younger, I was very much like many young women. I ‘wasn’t like the other girls’. I wasn’t a feminist for [[insert reason here]]. I’d been soured on the concept by the militancy I perceived of the movement in the media growing up… which, to be fair, was always going to be unflattering at best, seeing how it was a women’s movement.
It took me some years to get past my initial reticence in the matter, which was further fuelled by a dearth of female friends. It wasn’t until I was in my mid to late 20s that the balance started to shift from being ‘one of the guys’ to being… I don’t really know what the right word to put here is. I like to believe that i was always myself. I still cringe at the phrase ‘one of the girls’ and all the baggage it entails (along with how minimizing ‘girls’ is versus women). I even considered myself to be a misogynist until fairly recently. After all, who could think well of the whole faking-up make up and idiot clothing and everybody knows they do it to try and impress and one up each other. Yuck.
Of course, I realised eventually that the system itself was crooked, and that those who were in it were screwed one way or another. To some, you’re a feminist for wearing heels. To others, you’re a poor victim of a male-centric torture system. Covering up or baring it all could be wrong or right with no in-between for so many, when in actuality, the answer is — both are right. If being naked makes someone feel happy, no matter if they’re the ‘right’ size, then more power. I prefer to be covered myself, and that’s where I feel most comfortable.
In the News…
One of the first things I woke to this morning was the news that Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, gave a speech at the Republican National Conference (RNC). It seems that her ‘I wrote it myself!’ assertion was a lie, and that her myriad speechwriters ripped off a speech that Michelle Obama gave a couple of years back. Oh dear. Unfortunately, I’ve seen people trying to focus on the fact that Melania used to be a nude model, and that ‘that slut’ shouldn’t get anywhere near the White House. Well, for one, who the crap cares if she used to, years and years ago, get her kit out? I might question if she did it AS First Lady in being a bad match, but her naked days are behind her. Slut-shaming her is not the way of feminists today. Certainly, focus on what she’s actually done wrong, and let’s leave it at that.
But then, the slut-shaming and such is probably part of why people are still wary of feminism, as well as in part due to TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists, who are radical in the worst senses of the word). It’s sad really that such extremists are often held up as the acme of the movement, when it really isn’t. I’ve been so pleased to be a part of something that wants to make sure that voices that are often subsumed are held up, such as women of colour (whose narratives are often overwritten or stolen, such as Melania stealing Michelle’s speech), non-binary women, trans women, and so forth. I was lucky that my path into the movement was paved by friends who I trust and whose opinions matter to me, who didn’t tell me off for my old misogynistic ways, and indeed like me, came around to it on their own terms. I still see a lot of my friends insists that they aren’t feminists while purporting the ideas and tenants of feminism, but that’s okay. They’ll take up the label if and when they want to.
And that is probably too much braining for this ridiculously hot and melty day.