“We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.”
– Will Rogers
Since I posted about my problem with feminism I have delved a little further into feminist literature. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” was what made me realise that I am a feminist, whether or not I fit the stereotype. I wholly approve that Miss Piggy (and by default, her creators) received a Feminist Award, I deplore any kind of inequality (not just that against women, or even based on gender) and get annoyed when people are (what I perceive to be) narrow minded about cultures other than their own. My pet peeve right now is binary gender symbology (which is a whole other blog post) and I’m on a bit of a mission when it comes to being period positive.
Putting all that aside I am now recognising more and more the day to day language that myself and those around me would use without even realising we were being sexist. And I’ve also started calling people out for it.
Most recently it was for someone calling a man “a big girl” as an insult. They didn’t realise that they were using gender as an insult. My knee jerk reaction was to retort “Don’t be sexist” and then we moved on to something else. I quickly forgot about saying it and so I would have expected others around me had too. However later that day I was chatting to one of the male attendees and he brought up the subject himself. What I said had really made an impact on him and admitted that he had never considered it to be before but will try and be more careful about what he says in the future. I’m not sure whether he will manage it, or whether he will pass it on to other people, but I was still heartened by his response. It was worth saying. In one tiny way I had made someone stop and think about their behaviour and whether it is discriminatory and it felt like a small victory. If only other people were so easy to make pause and consider.
I do not want to be branded an “angry feminist”, because I am not angry, there is no point. Anger does not achieve anything for me. I am going to channel my energies into “nudging” people into changing their attitudes. Humans, as a species. are creatures of habit and we are more likely to baulk against change if it is flung in our faces than if we are quietly prodded in a certain direction. There are other feminists who have the resources to do the “loud” activism – I don’t. The ones who can attend the events and lead the movement politically – I can’t for a whole manner of reasons (including my own self-confidence). The only tools I can comfortably use are this blog (which isn’t widely read) and my day to day life. I’ll do my bit by trying to make a difference to the everyday perception of what is and isn’t unacceptable in my little part of the world, in my own rather introverted way.
I may get judged for my chosen tactic, but I reckon those who are true feminists will accept the way I want to make a difference. We can’t all shout, it will just make people deaf.