Blogger and all round wonderful person, Kelly Exeter (check out her blog A Life Less Frantic and you’ll see what I mean) has joined us again to discuss feminism and its relevance to girls today. Have we reached the point where we are no longer marginalised for being female?
Recently I read Caitlin Moran’s book “How to be a Woman” and it seems that this book was written for people just like me. Here’s what Caitlin says:
“As a feminist, I had become horrified by how few women now would use the word to describe themselves. IT IS THE ONLY WORD WE HAVE THAT MEANS WOMEN BEING EQUAL TO MEN. If you don’t believe you’re a feminist, you might as well be bending over and begging the patriarchy to take your vote and kick your arse.”
Hmm. Personally I struggle with the term ‘feminism’ – I really do. I am fairly certain this has nothing to do with the term and its definition and its connotations though. Instead it has everything to do with my own personal life experiences. And nothing sums up my personal experience more than this one time, at leadership camp …
In high school, myself and a couple other girls from my school were sent on a leadership camp being run by Women in Sport here in WA. There were 40-50 odd girls at the camp from Perth schools and I guess as a cohort we were quite confident and self-assured.
On several occasions during the camp we were quizzed about whether we had ever felt marginalised at school because we were girls. Or felt marginalised because we were girls who like sport and participated in sport. As a group, we kinda looked at each other in a bewildered fashion as if to say “what is this marginalisation you speak of”.
And this illustrates life for me as a whole. I can’t honestly ever remember a time where I felt that the options available to me were limited because I was a girl. Or a time where I was passed over for something because I was a girl. Or a time where I felt marginalised because I was female. Which is very un-feministic of me right?!
When I sit down and examine why I am like this, it is hard to pinpoint a ‘cause’. I can’t remember ever feeling marginalised as a girl so I never really needed anyone to sit me down and boost my self-worth! As a child I was very self-motivated so the only propping up that my ego ever needed was for someone to tell me they were proud of me. My parents never let a “we’re proud of you” opportunity pass when we were kids so my own confidence in myself was guaranteed in those crucial years.
So while I understand the concept of feminism, and I get the need to fight for our rights as females, I almost think that in the first world we have progressed to a place where, instead of talking about this stuff, as women we just need to DO. Can we have such confidence that we don’t even notice the glass ceilings, we just glide straight through them like air.
And can we inspire this same confidence in our girls?