I use to call myself a feminist. Now I'm just not sure.
Either through ignorance or my upbringing, I’ve managed to get to the glorious age of 45 without ever truly feeling discriminated against because I am a woman.
I’m sure I’ve been on the receiving end of it, but I’ve just never been aware of it, because I’ve genuinely always felt equal to my male counterparts.
As I write that statement, again, either through ignorance or my upbringing, I understand how privileged I am that I’ve been able to take that equality for granted.
What I don’t take for granted and I’m ferociously committed to, is raising two young men with a more educated understanding, and expectation of equality than I have.
And I’ve got to be honest, it’s a bloody tricky path to walk.
I want to raise young men who open a door and stand back to let a lady enter first; but when a door is opened for me, I insist on letting everyone else through first out of embarrassment.
I want to raise young men who walk a female friend home after a bike ride; but yet I have no expectations of them to do the same for their male friend.
I want to raise young men who don’t judge or notice a woman's appearance; and yet the first thing I say when I see my nieces is that they ‘look beautiful’ or that they are wearing ‘a pretty dress’ and yet ask my nephew how school was (seriously, I want to hit myself in the face every god damn time it comes out of my mouth)!
I want to raise young men who accept that their female mates are their athletic equal; and I struggle to believe that that statement is true (and hate myself for it)! On a side note, a very wise friend advised me not to include this comment in the post, as it's likely to upset people (and rightly so), but this is the point I'm making. It's a bloody tricky path we're walking.
The real kicker though for me and my feminist flag, is that my boys play at a club (which I love) where there are male change rooms and yet none for the women who also run the pitch. And I know it’s not right, but I’ve done nothing about it and I doubt my boys would even be aware of it.
I’ve always proudly called myself a feminist; and yet I now look at my behaviours and listen to my message and it scares me.
While equality may be very straightforward for someone reading this, for me, I struggle with the hypocrisy of what I’m teaching my young men, while sitting comfortably in my ignorance of what the true struggle of female equality is.
So for now, I will continue to be thankful for my privilege while I walk the path of equality and understanding with my young men, so that in years to come, for them, it isn’t a privilege, but a right.