This word can be a scary one for many people.
It took leaving my small hometown, moving to the city and going to university for me to realize that I was, in fact, a feminist.
It was intimidating. Uncharted territories. How terrifying to speak up about my beliefs after being shushed for 18 years by closed minded people.
But feminism saved me.
With feminism, I found myself. I found my confidence. My voice.
I learned it was okay to be me. It was alright if I had an opinion. It was alright that I was unsure of my identity. Feminism taught me that I wasn’t alone in this struggle.
Here are some things that I have learned to accept, and celebrate, about myself.
1. I’m loud, opinionated, and sometimes a “tomboy” and that’s okay!
Growing up I always heard “that’s not very lady like” any time I had done something that wasn’t necessarily considered “acceptable” from a little girl. I was rough and tumble – therefore a “tomboy”. I lacked manners at time, I was loud. I wasn’t always the stereotypical girl growing up. And I never understood the problem in that.
2. I’m emotionally driven, and it makes me stronger!
Women are expected to be emotional. But emotions are viewed as a weakness. In every aspect of my life, I am driven by my emotions. But this is what makes me stronger. I have not let the world make me cold, and I refuse to be seen as weak because I have compassion.
3. I like men.. but I kissed a girl, and I liked it!
Feminism, and my women’s and gender studies classes, helped me see that sexual attraction can be fluid. I like men, and I identify as a straight woman, but I am comfortable to admit that I am also sexually attracted to women sometimes, too. I believe this is dependant on the person, and it’s more than just physical attraction. But I don’t have to make it into a complicated thing. I’ve kissed women, and I’ve felt the same attraction as I would with a man. And I don’t owe anyone a damn explanation as to whether I am straight or gay because of this. It’s a new day and age people, accept it.
4. I’m a Métis woman, and I’m comfortable to admit that.
Growing up I identified as a white woman. We all know about white privilege. I was ashamed to admit I was in fact, métis. I came from a small town where there was a clear divide between the races. My aboriginal friends, well I was “just a white girl” to them, and made to feel as though I didn’t fit in. When my white friends found out that I was métis, I was met with racial slurs (but of course people are “just joking around” right?) Women’s and Gender studies courses showed me I wasn’t alone with my confused identity and showed its okay to be proud of my individuality.
5. My sexuality is not something I fear anymore.
Girls are always taught, if you kiss too many boys or have sex outside of a committed relationship, you’re a slut. But hey, it’s okay if guys do it, right? That was the mentality was something I grew up with. And it really frustrated me. I’ve never felt like I should be ashamed of what I feel sexually. We are sexual beings. But the slut shaming is infuriating. Feminism gave me the confidence to fight back. And if I’m being responsible and safe, who the hell cares what I do?!
(thanks, feminism for teaching me that it’s okay to love the things about myself that society had previously told me were not acceptable.)