Feminism | Posted by Julie Z on 03/29/2011

Feminist Click Moments

Click!

Click!

In honor of the Feminist Portrait Project’s Blog Carnival, (part of Feminist Coming Out Day) 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

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  • Quinc @ at 4:55 am, March 31st, 2011

    Like you, it’s hard to name a specific moment when I had a feminist “click”. I am extremely withdrawn and the one good side of that is that I never picked up such sexist notions from my peers.

    Though one thing I can point to, around the same time I bought and read “Full Frontal Feminism” I developed a ridiculous crush on a young woman from my speech class. Unfortunately, while she did like my speech, my love was unrequited. It took a long time to realize this, by which time she had given me her e-mail address and physical address. I reasoned that I could technically use that to go stalk her, but that would never make her love me. Espiecially considering that she had given a speech criticizing the book “Twilight” noting that Edward Cullen was a stalker. It was tempting to hate her for rejecting me, but she hadn’t seduced me or teased me in any way, she was just being herself. She had every right to say no to me, she owed me nothing. I could never force her or any other woman to love me. Even if she did date me out of some obligation, that wouldn’t be quite right. A coerced romance is no romance. I just had to respect her decision to not date me (though her implementation sucked, she just stopped responding all of a sudden). Unfortunately though, the “extremely withdrawn” part mentioned about seems to prevent me from dating regularly, so the search for someone I love who loves me back continues.

  • marta1 @ at 2:10 pm, March 31st, 2011

    I thought, like you, that men and women were basically equal. I come from a priveledged background, my mother worked and was successful, and I never knew anything different until I was about… what? 10? 11? when I read an article in some newspaper magazine in which men and women’s roles were fictionally reversed. Literally – the man felt the need to dress quite provocatively and the woman saw this as an excuse to make unwanted sexual comments which made the man feel uncomfortable, the woman was the high-flying boss with no need to answer about why she had no personal life and the man, her secretary, was constantly being asked questions about why he didn’t have a girlfriend and kids yet.
    The fact that this sort of scenario would never, ever happen even in my priveledged, ‘civilised’ society really made me think.

  • Becky @ at 6:56 am, April 3rd, 2011

    Similarly to you, I had always been raised as a feminist, as my mom was one. I always knew I was a feminist. At the age of 13, I found Jezebel ( a feminist blog), and I learned much more about feminism. Before, I saw it as black and white, and I never knew that there was room for debate. I was unaware of the ongoing sexism that women face, and I was unaware of what exactly sexism was. For example, before I starting reading feminist blogs, I used the word slutty a lot. I never knew it was sexist, and I had never heard the term “slut shaming”.
    Now, I am an active defender of those called sluts, and I rarely use the word.
    I guess feminism really clicked with me when I started to incorporate it into conversation with my friends and family, and started to defend “sluts” and such.
    Also, reading the book “Girl Power” about feminism in the music industry in the 90s, an arena that I had never been aware of. Teen feminists should definitely read it!

  • Patricia @ at 10:52 am, July 31st, 2012

    Interesting example/photo of a man’s ‘click’ moment here:

    http://www.avoiceformen.com/men/mens-health/male-disposability-then-now-in-one-image/

  • Why I am a Feminist | Ms. Roberts @ at 3:45 pm, May 30th, 2013

    [...] I read a couple things here and there about feminism for and against, so I wanted to tell my click moment(s). [...]

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