This post (and others like it) have been a long time coming. Unlike the articles I usually write with a focus on fashion, I have poured over every word written here as I feel this post is more important. But I have decided I want to start writing more about topics like feminism and other everyday issues that affect us millennial women, so here goes. Grab yourself a cup of tea – hell, maybe even a glass of fizz if that’s how you Monday – and enjoy.
I have only recently discovered feminism
Reading that sentence back, I feel it’s a bit misleading. I have always been aware of the concept of feminism (I haven’t been living under a rock). However, only in more recent years have I realised the importance of it. It didn’t happen overnight – I wasn’t visited in a dream by the Suffragettes and spiritually awoken to its importance. Instead, it happened very gradually. So much so, that I almost didn’t even notice it had happened. It seemed that one day I didn’t even consider the word ‘feminist’ part of my identity, and the next I was listening to feminist podcasts and feeling a burning desire (no, not to burn my bra… those things cost good money and they’re damn cute) to put my thoughts about women’s issues into words.
As somebody who hasn’t always naturally been this way inclined, I am well aware of the stereotype of a feminist. The image of an angry, man-hating woman, who doesn’t shave, who ‘takes things too far’, who is more Charlotte Bronte than Charlotte Tilbury. This has always been an image I have shied away from, not wanting to alienate the men in my life or seem like a kill-joy. I didn’t think I was a feminist because this is the checklist I was presented with, and I wasn’t all of those things. In fact, I wasn’t any of those things. I didn’t fit the mould: I let (read: make) my boyfriend hold doors open for me and do the heavy lifting, I wear a lot of make-up, and if I’m honest, I like the flamboyant pink cocktails that come with edible flowers (because Instagram makes me do it). I felt like because I hadn’t given up all these things or made every sacrifice possible to promote women’s rights, I wasn’t allowed to talk about it – I hadn’t earnt that right.
‘I am well aware of the stereotype of a feminist… More Charlotte Bronte than Charlotte Tilbury.’
I know I am not the only person who has thought of feminism in this way, and it makes me sad that for so long, such misconceptions underpinned my opinion of equal rights for both sexes. Because of this, I didn’t get involved in feminism. I thought of it as an all or nothing deal. Then more recently, I started seeing the ‘f’ word crop up in popular culture. Some of the women I respect most in the media were discussing the topic, and I was finally listening. It became clear that you don’t have to be the perfect feminist in order to care about the way we women are treated by society. I realised that we are all constantly learning and adapting in the face of new information, and that I didn’t need to know it all now in order to talk about it. It is a work in progress.
Recently it came to my attention that feminism isn’t spoken about as much as it should be. The reason my perception of it was so wrong for all that time was because I only had mocking stereotypes to go by. Growing up, there was never anything in the media, there was nothing in the TV shows I watched, and there was no one talking about it in forums that I had access to. I have become inspired by those who are trying to change this, and have decided that over here on my little space of the internet, I want to contribute to that.
I believe it is SO important to open a dialogue about feminism. By making it an everyday word, free from all the BS that has been known to come with it, other women (and men) will hopefully feel inspired to join in the conversation. I don’t know it all, not even the half of it, but would love if you guys will come along on this journey with me to learn a little more, and do a little more to support our fellow woman.