Saturday, September 3, 2011

"I was born a woman" - piece on Feminism

Written in June 2005.

I Was Born a Woman

I didn’t get into Feminism. There is no real moment in my life that I can say “that’s when I became a feminist”. I was born into it.

I was born a woman. I was going to be either a boy or a girl and I pulled the girl straw. No choice, no plan, no nothing. So there you go, you accept it and you live with it and you learn to be happy with what you’ve got. I never wished I were a boy. I never even dreamt about being a boy. I never wondered what it would be like to live as a boy for a day. I’m pure woman and I love it. Not only that, I’m damn proud to be a woman.

Feminism is not about being superior, or better, or worse. It’s not a closed discussion about how women are fighting against men. We all share this world, and it’s up to us to accept the fact that we are all different, to accept that everybody has different bodies, minds, faces and opinions. Feminism is about being a woman and being proud of whom you are. All humans are equal. It’s up to each and every one of us to fight for the consistency of this equality.

I can’t say how I “got into Feminism”. It’s always been a part of me. From a very early age both my mother and my father instilled deep in my heart the need to stand up for my rights and for my thoughts. Strong women constantly surrounded me. My whole family is full of strong women. We have not had it easy, but we have always managed to get over every mountain, build bridges over every river and make the most of every straight path. So I think it is right to say that I was born into a feminist family and make every effort to continue this line.

For me Feminism is not about ranting about how women are so much better than men, about how we should rule the world and about how we should stomp out men and male dominance.

No. Feminism is what you want it to be. In my opinion Feminism is regarded too often as something pejorative, and this is because of the way it is portrayed. Annoyingly, Feminism is looked down upon and challenged while, even today, male chauvinism is still accepted and seen as normal. This doesn’t mean that we are supposed to jump up and call all men pigs, but it means that it is up to us women to prove that we are not trying to show that we are better, but that we are trying to prove we are equal and therefore should have equal rights everywhere. We can get rid of the acceptance of chauvinism in society and move on to a new, more equal world where women don’t have to constantly fight.

Apart from the close female figures in my life; my grandmother who bought up her first three children on her own during the Second World War, who outlived her four husbands and still lives to tell her tales today; my mother who battled violent and addicted men and who has always been a role model and who shows everyone that they can accomplish anything in life; I also have a special woman in my life. She’s been by my side since I first came across her on my tenth birthday. I have never met her, but she has been a constant influence. Her name is Marge Piercy and she is a feminist and political poet and novelist. Her characters are always strong and rounded, but not without flaws. Real women who have to deal with the struggles of everyday life, who sometimes make the right choice, sometimes the wrong one, but they never let society pull them down. Whenever I feel that it is all getting too much, I pick up one of Marge Piercy’s writings and she helps me believe in myself again. We all have our own demons; it’s up to us to choose whether to fight or to flee.

We women have to deal with so much, learning to accept who we are and why we are, accepting our bodies, our wants and our needs, and learning to understand that although what we want might often be frowned upon, there is no need to not go out there and get it.

Feminism is all about being a woman and fighting for it. You want to have sex, have sex. You don’t want to sleep around? Then don’t! You want to have a career? Have one! You want to be a housewife, and stay at home to bring up your kids? Then do just that! We have to choose what is right for us, without letting pre-assigned unwritten and ancient social “laws” bring you down.

Feminism is not about fighting men, but about fighting for what’s right for YOU. This is what Feminism is to me. Being a woman is a right, and it’s up to us to make the most out of it.

We only live once, why not make the best of it, and be able to live to tell the tale to the next generations.

Be strong and be real. And never keep your mouth shut. Because once you have said it out loud someone is going to hear.

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