Monday, 29 September 2014

I Am A Feminist

I am a feminist. 

It took me a while to watch Emma Watson's HeForShe speech, while I read numerous articles, tweets and blogs I hadn't tried to watch it. I should have and so should you. I've included it below for your ease of reference. 



It was strange watching her speech about how when she was eight years old she was considered "bossy" because she wanted to be involved in the directing of the plays for her parents and that struck a cord because I was that girl too. I was told throughout my childhood that I was bossy for one simple reason, I wanted to be heard. 

This got me thinking, when I was growing up I was told how bossy when I probably should have been told that I have a great ability to be a leader. So as I grew older, while still somewhat bossy, I pulled back a little. I allowed my older brother to lead based on those two reasons he was older than me and he was a boy. It took me 24 years before I pushed myself out of the role of little sister into individual, feminist, equal opportunist when I went to law school. There had been a lot of things I had endured before that time. I was already a holder of my Bachelor of Law and Master of Law degrees, I had completed my articles of clerkship (or internship for non South African readers) and yet I still felt the need to be heard. 



When I attended Law School everything changed for me, I was suddenly more vocal (somewhat like I was growing up) but instead of people saying to me I am trying to "boss them around" they said I was a good leader. I was good at taking control and responsibility where others would have rather opted to complete the next six months of our lives without getting to know anyone else around them. I organised events and causes for us to get excited, make a movement and for everyone to be heard. 

Those six months awaken the nine-year old Natalie who had learned to be submissive. She was back and she wanted to take on the world. While the world is still on my to do list, it is moments like watching this video to and making improvements in mine and other people's lives that has pushed me to say that although I have a long way to go before I reach all my dreams, the fact that I am a female will not be the reason to hold me back. 

So I will continue to push myself and others to give their opinions (even if it is different to mine), push against the norms which have attempted to keep all woman down. There is a way for us to be respectful of our cultures and families without disrespecting ourselves and our greater purpose.  


8 comments:

Kathy @ Vodka and Soda said...

while i hate to admit it, being a woman in many industries works to our advantage. if we get angry at something, most men automatically chalk it up to PMS. no, it's not PMS, it's the fact that you're a freaking dillhole who just screwed everything up. how about that for an explanation? this one guy actually said that to me: "oh, someone is PMSing!" which omfg, the RAGE i felt when he said that so i legit said in a deadly calm voice: "only small-minded men will use PMS as an excuse to marginalize women and deflect their own faults but in fact, the reason why i'm so angry is because YOU FUCKED EVERYTHING UP. if you hadn't done (x, y, z), we wouldn't be in this situation at all. so instead of pointing the finger, how about you do some self-evaluation, recognize YOUR MISTAKE and be accountable for it like a REAL MAN would". then i stood there and stared at him and he mumbled something stupid and walked away. i think i won feminism that day LOL

-kathy
Vodka and Soda

Diva Desle said...

Great post Natalie! I have noticed that when women take the lead more they are seen as bossy, bitchy or a diva. I agree with you that you must be all of you and not shrink back to fit into people's molds. It is hard but we have to take a stand and not be afraid to be ourselves and be all we can be. xxxx

Kasey At The Bat said...

this is PERFECT. I'm so so so glad that you've been able to find your voice + be a leader! I recently realized that I'm lucky, because I've apparently been a feminist my whole life. I always hung out with the boys, and whenever I got sassed for "throwing like a girl" I always sassed back "you practice more + you could too!"

Vanessa Billie-Jill-Jean said...

Great post. ;-)

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

Keep pushing and using your voice. I think it is terrible when people feel they can't voice an opinion or be who they are because of perception.

Kim Alston said...

HaHa I've been told I'm bossy too! Both professionally and in relationships. I don't stand for crap and I believe in being straightforward. Good for you!

Kay R. said...

Great post! Some things need to be said :)

Kay R. said...

Great post! Some things need to be said :)