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Why Indeed? January 13, 2006

Posted by Winter in personal political.
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By Siberian Falls  

It has been a while since I have thought about why I become a feminist. I’m not sure that I ever really ‘became a feminist’. It was more like I was able to put a name to what I had felt for a long time.

One of my earliest memories is from when I was six or seven and I was in infant school. During playtime the boys played football and so the girls were kept on the periphery of the playground and we were told off if we strayed. Of couse I thought this was horribly unjust and led a group of my friends across the middle of the playground ‘because it’s not fair!!’ I got a football kicked at me for my trouble and ended up breaking one of my milk teeth and losing what I thought was a frightening amount of blood from my mouth. When I got back from the hospital I was told that had lunchtime detention the next day. In many ways I feel my feminism peaked as a six year old. That was before I even knew what feminism meant!

The first feminist book I read was ‘the Whole Woman’ by Germaine Greer. This was the book I gave to Naiades when we had our first conversations about feminism. ‘The Whole Woman’ hooked me by the end of the introduction and I suppose the rest is history. It was when I got to university that I was able to meet up with other likeminded people and make some of my closest friends like Naiades and Winter.

At the moment I feel like other areas of my life have taken so much of my time that I have neglected feminism more than I would have liked. I am also more unsure now about my feelings for different types of feminism and how I think feminism should achieve its goals. Perhaps as you get older the problems and solutions seem less as less straight forward. But this is no reason to give up! Naiades post has inspired me to think about feminism more and so now it is my turn to thank her!

Siberian

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Comments»

1. The Happy Feminist - January 13, 2006

I relate SO much to your childhood anger at the limitations placed on little girls on the playground. It’s now quite fashionable to proclaim that little girls naturally take to quiet play in the corner, while boys are naturally more free wheeling. But I distinctly remember being actively discouraged from more active forms of play, even in preschool when I was as young as 4. I alluded to that in a post — http://happyfeminist.typepad.com/happyfeminist/2005/10/growing_up_in_t.html

It used to frustrate me that the other little girls seemed oblivious to this phenomenon. I wish you’d been around when I needed you to foment a rebellion!

2. Winter - January 15, 2006

It’s incredible that you got detention even after being injured – I suppose your crime was getting in the way of the boys. When I got assaulted byy a boy at school, the headteacher told my father that I had always been a problem. I will tell that story in full detail one of these days.

3. Louise Whittle - January 15, 2006

Your experience of the playground chimes with mine.

The awful game which was played at my old primary school (C of E one)was kiss chase (teaching us at an early stage on how to be heterosexual)and I must have been around 6 when this boy tried to kiss me and I remember smacking him in the face. He ran crying to the teacher. She told me that, “when a boy tries to kiss you you should let him”. She never told the boy off so therefore it was all my fault.

Good old patriarchy and christianity keeping women firmly under the thumb!

Louise


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