Like many women around my age I have been very complacent about feminism. I often think to myself “I agree with, like, a lot of the things that feminists say, but I struggle to truly believe what they’re saying. And anyway, how is it even relevant to me?” I am the type of late twenty-something women who likes to say pithy things about feminism, but I’m more than happy to leave the real feminism to other women. Women who are more outspoken. Women who are more informed. Women who are less afraid of what people think of them. Women who are braver than me.
I have a few friends who are loudly feminist. I admire their views and their commitment to saying them out loud in public forums, but I often catch myself thinking that they are too loud, too obnoxious, that their views take up too much space. It pains me to say these things out loud, mostly because I feel like a traitor to my gender, but it’s the honest truth. I want to admire feminists while secretly admitting to myself that they make me very uncomfortable. I want to foster feminist beliefs in my brain and then leave them there, never having to say them out loud and have my beliefs judged by the outside world.
Admitting these things makes me sad for myself, mostly because I want to believe that these things are in opposition to what I have always wanted to be. Or at least in opposition to what I would like people to think that I am. I want to be a strong, outspoken, opinionated woman, and a long time ago I wanted to be a strong, opinionated writer. But if honesty is the goal here I would have to admit that I have really become a quiet, people pleasing, docile girl who pretends to be a strong opinionated woman.
So why am I telling the Internet all of this? Why have I started a blog? Because I think I finally want to become a strong, opinionated writer. I’ve reached a turning point in my life, brought about by a lot of painful soul searching and ugly crying. I have realized the extent to which I have quieted myself and my soul to make myself more pleasing to others and to the world around me. More importantly I have realized that I don’t want to be that kind of woman. I want to be the kind of woman that I have publicly admired and secretly condemned. The kind who speaks her mind openly without fear of reproach. The kind who exposes the ways that the world subverts women and speaks openly about how that is unacceptable. And most importantly I want to believe that the things I say are true for me and relevant in my life.
After years of conflicted feelings about feminists, I think I’m discovering that I am a Feminist too.