I use to call myself a feminist. Now I'm just not sure.
Posted on March 08 2021
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.