I used to hate Feminism

As a child and a teenager I guess I never really gave Feminism much thought. It wasn’t something we really talked about at home and the only ideas I had concerning the word Feminism were centered around Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins and the women I saw in my Oxford encyclopedia as a child, burning their bras with hair under their arms.

What an angry bunch of women, what are they making such a fuss about? What is so wrong with their lives, mine’s fine and I’m a woman. They could do with a hobby.

As I got older and learnt more I could see that actually, my life and my outlook on life wasn’t fine. I was, to a certain degree, brainwashed. Living with a kind of Stockholm syndrome meaning I was reluctant to pick flaws in a society I did okay in. Why pick a fight? Why mess with the status quo?

I would still say things like ‘I’m not anti feminism, but…’ and that told you all you needed to know. I still had a way to go, try as I might to understand.

After I had my third daughter I had a bout of Post Natal depression and it was the worst time of my life. I vowed after I came through it I would turn my life around.

I became less immersed in social media and became more committed to learning and reading and speaking to people I wouldn’t have before. I stopped being the angry person I had before and found a kindness in myself I didn’t know I possessed. I started questioning everything. Why did I teach my children about God? Did I even believe? I searched for answers from myself and found many that were surprising. I felt like I’d never really known myself at all.

I was a pretty child and I was told this often. As I grew up I held onto this and it became my goal, appear attractive. I’m actually pretty funny and intelligent too but people didn’t seem to praise that as much, I dumbed myself down and kept quiet.

I suddenly realized how damaging this was.

I suddenly realized Feminism made a lot of sense to me.

I am very lucky with Sam, he’s a thinker and loves to learn so I always had someone to talk things through with and bounce ideas off. His straight talking and practical thinking has gotten me out of some dark times and I am forever in dept to him for the part he has played in changing my thinking and essentially my life.

These days I occasionally remember things I said in the past and shudder, but that’s life. We are constantly learning and processing information that changes our thinking.

Being a feminist doesn’t make me a man hater. And yes, I still use a razor and wear a bra. That’s my choice.

That is what Feminism is, it’s choice.

It’s equality and people standing up for a fairer world.

It’s the belief that women are as worthy as men.

It’s changing perceptions that women aren’t as capable as men.

It’s the movement millions of women have been part of to give us life as we know it today.

Now, if I hear someone say they don’t like or need Feminism it does rile something up inside of me but I can’t forget that this person used to be me. And I just didn’t know.

All I can do is assume they don’t know, they’re closing their eyes to the problems and pretending change isn’t needed. They are happy with their lives and don’t see what they owe to Feminism.

I didn’t see it for a long time and while I wasn’t always a Feminist I see now, I have always needed Feminism.

Nat Halfpenny

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