So the other day I went for tea with a new friend, and as we were getting to know each other I mentioned my blog. I had sent her the link a while ago when it wasn’t quite as focused as it is now, but still, I think it’s been pretty clear that I’m a feminist for a while.
During our visit, I realized that some of the jokes and comments she made left me a tad uncomfortable, and I didn’t know how to say anything. From talking to her, I felt like she wasn’t really the type of person who is passionate about feminism, nor really cares that much about it. In fact, I got the impression that she finds feminism a little too aggressive.
I didn’t really want to get into a big controversial discussion at the time.
So I didn’t say anything.
But that’s when I realized that although I’m very open and assertive about being feminist among my close friends and online with my blog, in public it’s such a different thing.
Because publicly, if you as a woman announce that you are feminist, people judge you and there is a risk of being seen as a very extreme, aggressive woman who is argumentative about stupid things and complains too much.
Publicly, I was no proud feminist.
In fact, I was afraid to call myself a feminist.
The obvious solution to this is to stop being afraid and simply be open about it and willing to discuss it, right?
Well, I find that really challenging! Why? Because I don’t feel like I know enough about the topic. I know enough to be feminist and believe in it, but not enough to get into really complex discussions backed my lots of evidence and such.
So I went online.
In searching for other feminists who feel the same way and could perhaps point me in the right direction, I instead came across a blog that was in all seriousness, physically painful to read. It’s VERY anti-feminist and I felt icky reading it.
I will not give the writer the extra attention by linking to it, but trust me — it was bad. And scary.
The author wrote that one of the reasons he believes feminism will cease to be an important ideology in the next few years is that feminists are rare to come by.
In his life, apparently, he has come across few “loud-and-proud” feminists and clearly that means feminism is dying.
Incredulous, I tried to find out if this was a joke website.
And now I can never hide again.
In trying to shut down feminism, the writer made me realize that I can’t hide behind my screen, writing posts and call myself a feminist. I need to live it. I need to deal with what comes from it.
I am not afraid of being argued with about anything else, so why should I be afraid about this? Because people are meaner and I could risk an online attack, or even people actually physically attacking me?
Well, I will not be silenced by that.
[Edit: Don’t get me wrong — I’m not going to go around burning bras and hating men, because that’s not what feminism is to me.]
Instead, I am going to read books about feminism like crazy, and I am going to share what I find right here for the world to see.
I am going to be a feminist who isn’t afraid to admit to it in public, and instead try to talk about it in an accessible way, the same way I do right here on my blog.
I am no longer afraid of being judged, thanks (ironically) to that awful blog.
So here it is friends: I am a proud feminist.
A loud and proud feminist, at that.
Do you struggle with judgment about being feminist in the real world? How do you deal with it?