Today is International Women’s Day! I am going to explore what it means to me.
I spent a lot of my childhood thinking that life was fair. Looking back now there were things that made me uncomfortable but when you are younger, you don’t think too deeply into those things. As I got older, I heard about feminism and I thought it seemed cool but I wasn’t really drawn to it. Going through my teenage years, I become more aware of the issues in our world but I kept them on the periphery. I didn’t want to confront those kinds of things. I just wanted to live my life. We all know ignorance is bliss.
It wasn’t until I faced sexism boldly, painfully and in a way that changed me forever that I found feminism was calling me. No matter how much we try to avoid sexism, it doesn’t go away.
So traumatised by the sexism I faced, the only place I felt at home was in the feminist movement. Feminism is controversial for a lot of people but when you are already a woman and already a victim, you are already controversial. At least being a feminist you are owning your existence. I felt very alienated by society. I had one of those experiences nobody wanted to talk about but what had happened to me was playing over in my mind all day every day.
Feminism was the group that accepted what happened to me and spoke against it. I didn’t need evidence or innocence. I just needed to use my voice to join other women fighting the injustice I had experienced and many other injustices. Feeling seen and heard is so powerful. That’s what International Women’s Day means to me.
It is a day where we remember all the women and other activists who have fought against the injustices women face. It is a day where we recognise the battles we still have to fight. It is a day where we dream of a better future that seems as impossible as every other achievement women have fought tooth and nail to get. And simply it is a day to celebrate women in all their multiplicity.
We are victims. We are fighters. We are silent. We have loud voices. We are strong. We are sensitive. We know what we want. We fall into each other’s arms with despair. We get it so so wrong. We get it amazingly right. We are being seen. We are being heard.