Often when I bring up the topic of feminism, whether with friends, co-workers, or distant relatives, I am met with an eye-roll, or at least a look of annoyance and judgement. Depending on the type of look I receive, I either back off and change the subject or tentatively continue. Feminism today in British Colombia is met with skepticism, irritation, and even outright hostility. Aren’t feminists bra-burning man-haters? Feminism is over isn’t it? I mean, women can work and run for office and choose not to have babies, so what else do we want? Can’t we just give it a rest?
These stereotypes and misconceptions are the very reason that I am a feminist. Because unfortunately, the blatant ignorance out there concerning the female experience in modern society is becoming less and less shocking to me. Because I have to feel out the person I’m talking to before I determine whether it’s safe or not to voice my opinions about female oppression. Because I have to pick my battles over which instances of sexism I’m going to respond to and which I’m going to let slide. Because I am personally attacked with labels of “sensitive”, “man-hater”, and “stuck-up” for acknowledging when women are treated unfairly.
To me, feminism is a call to arms for all genders to participate in promoting female rights and equality. Feminism is giving voice to the individuals whom society silences. Feminism is a complicated, messy, and controversial dialogue about a piece of common sense: equality. It is the diverse stories of black women, of trans women, of Muslim women, of every woman, that all connect to a single idea: the oppression of women.
Feminism is a conversation that interweaves the myriad of individual stories into a collective web of female experience. This conversation leads to thoughts of change, and these thoughts lead to ideas of how to change, and these ideas lead to small acts of change, and these small acts will eventually lead to changes in women’s lives. With this blog I want to add my voice and with it hopefully I can add a small change.