Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 06/1/2010

Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists

Some of you may have already heard about the awesome new anthology “Click: When We Knew Were Feminists” edited by Courtney Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan. The FBomb is lucky enough (and let’s just say it, cool enough) that one of our regular contributers, Nellie B. (Vandalize Gay, A Feminist Goes to the Ballet, Prom and Assimilation to name a few), is actually published in it! She was also nice enough to let us publish an excerpt from her essay. Here’s what she had to say:

Hi, FBomb readers and other feminists! I’d like to share with you the first few paragraphs from an essay entitled “Seventeen Years of Ridicule,” which I wrote for Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists, an awesome anthology edited by Courtney Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan, out now from Seal Press. The book’s theme is “click moments,” or those moments in the identity or concept of “feminist” clicks with you. Contributors include Jessica Valenti, Shelby Knox, Amy Richards, Jennifer Baumgardner and other great writers and activists. Check it out!

Seventen Years of Ridicule: A Young Feminist’s Polemic by Nellie Beckett

Click: The honks when I walk down the street.

Click: The snickers of classmates when I speak up.

Click: The screech of misogynist lyrics.

Click: The laughs at sexist jokes.

Click: The sickening thud in the pit of my stomach when I walk home alone at night.

I’ve been a feminist as long as I can remember. Though I can’t discern a particular “click” in my memory, perhaps it was when I was born at home and bestowed my mother’s last name because my parents wanted to subvert the patriarchal naming system. Perhaps it was at the age of two when I expressed a preference for blocks and toy trucks instead of Barbie dolls. Perhaps it’s just the experience of growing up female in a misogynistic society. Fortunately, I’ve had the privilege of a supportive home environment. Ever since I can remember, my feminist mother has taught me to analyze the implicit messages in Cinderella, speak out against misogyny and stick up for myself and others. My politics are also shaped by my father, who taught me to cook, read me Pippi Longstockings and took me to the 2004 March for Women’s Lives. Personally, I’d like to think that I have played an integral role in shaping the feminist beliefs of my two fabulous younger sisters.

Still, it’s not easy growing up female, especially when you’re teased from a young age for having a loud mouth and strong opinions. The label “feminist” memorably resonated in second grade, when I sat transfixed through an entire documentary on the Seneca Falls Convention. When I read Reviving Ophelia at the age of ten, I realized that I couldn’t make the transition from confident kid to depressed, troubled teenager like so many of the girls profiled in the book. The more books I read and the more injustice and sexism I saw, the more feminism made sense. Thus my career as a raging, self-identified radical feminist was born.

Feminism instantly clicked because it was a way of seeing the world that made sense, respected and aligned with my perceptions of society. The more I learned about the movement, the more power I felt. Identifying as a feminist has fortunately inspired both mundane and life-changing decisions.

To read the rest of Nellie’s superfabulous essay – and other “click” moments, you can buy the anthology here.

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  • Hope Springs Internal @ at 6:39 pm, June 1st, 2010

    Julie, how awesome that you wrote about this book! It JUST came in the mail this afternoon and I’m so excited to read it. This post made me even more intrigued by the “click” moments of other feminists. Can’t wait to crack it open and start reading!

  • Natalia @ at 11:57 pm, December 21st, 2010

    My dad got me this book last week! But I’m not getting it till christmas :(

    Honestly, this essay makes so much sense to me. Feminism does in general. I do not understand why feminism does not have this effect on other people. WHY!?

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