Women are powerful. I have always known this; with a forcefield for a mum and growing up with go-getter, completely individual sisters, to the friends who have my back. Even amongst this, I know there was a time when I tried to blend in and not speak up about how much I love women and how amazing they are. I didn’t want to call myself feminist when I was in school because I was afraid of what that entailed; I didn’t allow myself to learn or completely understand what feminism was. I had many male friends growing up and I used to think that meant that I had to advocate for men as much as women. I know now, as an adult, as a strong feminist, I can advocate for women, I can point out inequalities and I can be a change while still having male friends and loving men. We can pull down the patriarchy that people still believe isn’t real. That misogyny isn’t a thing even though, in the same sentence, they’ll be saying something misogynistic? Over time I have learnt of the privileges of being a white, straight woman amongst the prejudices against women of colour, queer, trans, non-binary; the multitudes of ways a woman can come in. And I am still learning, every. single. day.
I remember being told that I was funny when I was younger “which was rare, because girls aren’t funny.”
“You’re not like other girls.”
“You shouldn’t swear so much because it’s not ladylike.”
“Tattoos just don’t look good on women.”
Meanwhile, the humour that these people consider “funny” is at the expense of women, of minorities, always at the expense of someone not really something. To this day, I hardly even understand what not like other girls is, like it’s some sort of achievement, some sort of feat; like being a girl is a bad thing. While I listened to them swear like a sailor, they looked down on me when I did.
What are you afraid of from women? Were you genuinely so influenced through your younger years that it made you think you were better than us? That there were things you could do that we could not? That we had to be a specific way to make us worthy of your bullshit? Or is it because you know that you’re actually not worthy, so you do your best to cover up your intimidation by acting as if you have the upper hand?
I remember being in school and people talking shit about a friend because of what she got up to on the weekend, but was a bad word uttered about the male? Of course not, because it’s all good for him to do whatever he wants, but not for her. It’s being in your twenties and being praised for your ‘innocence’, and being seen as something different once you act upon your impulses.
It’s dating someone who thinks it’s your own fault for ruining your friendship with a guy once because you slept with him, as if it was only you in that bed. That, even though you went about it just fine, and it was him who wanted to push you away because it was ‘too weird’, it was your own fault.
It’s people (men & shitty women) close to you telling you that that unwanted situation was your own fault because you brought it upon yourself.
Being treated like an object, a game, a goddamn challenge, and it’s okay, because I’m a woman. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. And watching your friends smile and allow them to treat you that way in an attempt to seem cool and not want to be the person who goes against the mould.
The seasons change and the strong women beside me stand up taller, talk a little louder, become unapologetic in their being and it makes me so fucking proud.
Here’s to sexual revolution.
Here’s to opening up our minds.
Here’s to women.