In honor of the Feminist Portrait Project’s Blog Carnival, I’m re-posting an article I wrote this past summer about my feminist “click” moment, which I originally wrote in honor of the incomparable Courtney Martin’s book Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists. Below the article are links to some of my favorite other Click moments from FBomb readers/submitters. Feel free to add your own click moments in the comments!
I had always thought that feminism was a gradual progression for me. In eighth grade, my entire grade had to research a topic of our choice and then deliver a speech to the entire middle school about it. I chose to research female feticide after reading an article about the practice (ironically) in Glamour magazine.
Up until that point, I had basic knowledge of what feminism was. But I think I had looked around at my privileged world and thought, “Well…I don’t know…men and women basically appear equal. Feminism must be over.” It was when I realized that atrocities like sex-selective abortions on a massive scale – over 50 million women are estimated to be “missing” – were occurring that I really opened my eyes. What shocked me even more was that the media would devote a 5 minute news story to why Julia Roberts doesn’t eat cheese but the idea of reporting THIS was out of the question.
After that speech, I began to research feminism and women’s rights more and eventually read Full Frontal Feminism, found feministing and entered the world of of feminist blogging.
But I’m not sure that any of that constitutes a “click” moment. No, I think I’d have to revisit those absolutely wonderful middle school years to get to the bottom of that moment.
Here is the ugly truth about my life: in middle school, I was “popular.” That doesn’t sound so bad – what’s wrong with being liked? No, the thing that truly sucked about my “popularity” was that I basically didn’t have an identity.
Every day I would get up, squeeze myself into clothes with labels like “Abercrombie” that basically cut off my circulation, straighten my hair, have a 5 minute break down about why I wasn’t skinnier/prettier/[insert media approved adjective here], and not eat breakfast because I was on a diet. Then I would go to school and try to make people like me, while all the while terrified that they didn’t.
And at the same time that that was happening, I was reading books like Full Frontal Feminism, learning about global women’s rights and writing feisty comments on feminist blogs. I agreed with everything feminism was teaching me, and wanted to be as strong and independent on the outside as I truly felt on the inside. But I couldn’t let anybody see this side of me, because then they may not like me. Even when I was exposed to feminism and agreed with it, the world around me intimidated me too much to initially actualize it.
Eventually, I got tired of being two different people. I knew that I had friends that would love me even if my personality was “weird” (as in, I thought about stuff that matters) and maybe losing “popularity” would be worth it. In the end, I looked at the two lives I was living. One made me really tired, forced me to try too hard for nothing, and ultimately made me unhappy because I would leave interactions with my “friends” not knowing who the hell I was. The other incited passion within me, made me happy, and made me feel like I could be comfortable in my own skin. Once I let go of caring about how other people perceived me (which obviously wasn’t so easy) the choice actually turned out to be a no-brainer.
I can’t pinpoint a moment, let alone a day, week or month, but I eventually “clicked” sometime near the end of my freshman year of high school. I wasn’t afraid of being a feminist, and I wasn’t afraid to tell people that I was. And I’ve been happy with myself and my life ever since.
I’d love to hear about all of your click moments in the comments! I think our click moments say a lot about who we are as feminists and what we’ve had to overcome to get to this point.
The Development of a Feminist – Sheridan T
Why I Became a Feminist – Rachel F
Shh, Don’t Say the F-Word – Danielle B
Young Feminism: The Fire Inside Me – Anna R