Growing Into Feminism
Growing up in the 90's to early 2000's I don't think I could have ever accurately defined what feminism was. In my group of friends we all just agreed that we weren't them. Living in the age of Spice Girls, 'Girl Power' just meant catchy songs, short skirts and being English. I think if we were asked to describe a feminist we would have thought back to a grade school teacher of ours who was somewhat hippie-ish, didn't bother to shave her underarms and wore her long grey hair in a single braid down her back. She was a good teacher, a kind person but to us she was our image of a feminist - especially when on our first day of grade 7 she requested we all call her by her first name - something unheard of in my suburban educational system!
Growing up, it was agreed upon our friends that yes - men and woman should be equal but all of that "stuff" was in the past. Most of our Mum's had decent jobs, and that was feminism right? In high school, I don't even remember the topic being touched upon, gender politics were just not discussed ever in the classroom. It was silently agreed upon - at least in that group of friends - that we were equal to the boys and frankly there were other things to care about such as getting into the right university, trying to get a boyfriend and making sure that someone had a car on the weekend to get to the boyfriends and parities!
In our little world being a feminist meant that you had to make a very polarizing choice. You could either choose to care about your looks, care about having a boyfriend and make sure you were up on the latest fashion, or you could choose the feminist path which meant that you were one of the grungy kids who wore the long pleated skirts, tie-dyed shirts and would attempt to grow dreadlocks. If you know me, you know I fit very well into the first group. To this day, I adore makeup (Sephora, just take my money, take it!) enjoy fashion and frankly my long term goal is to buy a house large enough to use my Raspberry Pie to build a Cher Horowitz style closet system. Seriously - those who have witnessed my shoe room know that the struggle is real.
It wasn't until late university that I developed a sense of my feminist self. As cliche as it sounds, it started when I took a sex and gender in literature seminar in my fourth year. I really enjoyed the professor who was teaching the class and decided to give it a shot. The books were quick reads and on top of writing my Major Research Paper (MRP) it would be a breeze of a class. This class quickly opened my eyes as to what feminism really was. I could be my girlie/nerdy self and still care about what was having to other women on a global level. It opened my eyes to what feminism was not in the 60's and 70's but in the moment. In my early 20's I did a lot of research into feminism and what it could be and what it could stand for. Someone once put it simply to me like this: Do you care about what happens to you, your choices, your body, your opportunites? If yes then your a feminist baby!
Now as an adult I proudly wave my feminist flag. Yes, I am a feminist but I am also many other things. I self define as a woman in tech, I am a partner to a wonderful man who supports me and I support him, I am a friend, a blogger and a fan of ducks. Being a feminist doesn't define me wholly but instead supports who I am and what I want to see for future generations of women. In the last year, there has been a big shift among women speaking out. From the election of Trump and women protesting in the streets to the sexual misconduct offences coming out again and again, the tides are changing. When I look back on this year, I see 2017 as the year of the women. The year we decided that we'd had enough. I am proud to be a part of this movement and to help work towards a world where we no longer have to fight for these equal rights. I am lucky enough that I am supported in this fight and that I have the privilege to be able to stand up for those who cannot due to whatever circumstances, and if a 12 year old girl calls me a feminist than I think I'm alright with that.