When I started this blog, I felt like I was building a soapbox for myself. This would be a platform to present my views from. I felt like I had a place here and a voice and something to say that only I could say. I knew my views weren’t entirely unique, but they aren’t completely mainstream either. This made sense. Make a soapbox, stand on it, be heard.
And I do feel heard, but I no longer feel like a had built myself a soapbox. I built myself a place in the choir where I could stand with other people and we could work together to present a better message. This choir doesn’t quite harmonize and we don’t always sing together, but we show up. We show up and we try to get a harmony going and our voices act together in a beautiful song anyway. The song sounds more like the Hallelujah Chorus or Carol of the Bells than Silent Night, but it works.
This is what being an out feminist is like. Part of the problem with announcing to the world that you are a feminist is then having the simultaneous problems of not always agreeing with feminists and not always disagreeing with non-feminists. I say non-feminist and not anti-feminist because I consider these to be two different things. A non-feminist is someone who doesn’t identify themselves as a feminist and an anti-feminist is someone against gender equality. A non-feminist can believe in gender equality and still not identify this way but an anti-feminist would inherently be against gender equality. This is my terminology, you are welcome to use it this way.
After building my place in the choir, a few things happened. The first order of business was to implore my readers to be the change and explain exactly what I was looking for here. I have since added to my personal list of changes and given full posts to other changes that I’d like to both see and be a part of. This is important to me because I tend to see a lot of people in my life talk about changes that they want to see and not a whole lot of modeling those changes for others to follow. I was inspired by the Who Needs Feminism campaign, specifically it was the one at Cambridge first caught my attention. I was interested in what was going on in the world of feminism and a novice at blogging, so I did a lot of reading others and reblogging in the beginning. I also did a lot of research and found many interesting articles. I still do this, but I’ve moved on to using Twitter to share them and Pinterest to store the ones I want to reference later.
I started the blog in February and didn’t get much done. I was busy creating the page and figuring out WordPress and learning. I had read and reviewed Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, who had been among my original inspirations for starting this. I had seen her TEDtalk and was inspired because it was like she had used my life to base her talk on. I made all those mistakes. I had fortunately learned from them by the time I listened to her talk and read the book and I shared it with every woman I knew. As I leaned into March, I was also drawn by some other books, most notably Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women by Sara Bessey, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing by Bronnie Ware, and The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. The last one I didn’t get to finish until later, but I started it in March. While the Top Five Regrets of the Dying doesn’t seem like a feminist book, I can say that it has definitely given me some great motivation to live the life that I want for myself which includes this blog and speaking out on gender equality, aka feminism. All of these were good books which I recommend to any new or old feminist, if you haven’t read them yet.
My education in feminism was well on it’s way along with quite a bit of current events in articles and reblogs. I really started to find my voice, but I didn’t quite find it in that first quarter of this year. In that first part of the year, I think my favorite posts were the one on being the change mentioned above and one on having it all. The rest explore feminism a bit in predictable ways and then there were some written expressly to open possible discussion on progress. I focused a lot on converging parental roles and work studies during this time. Believe it or not, there is a considerable amount of research out there that looks at the roles of moms and dads, Breadwinner Moms, redefining masculinity, and inequalities at work (Inequality: Women in a Male Workforce; A Sociological Perspective on Gender and Career Outcomes; Manager’s Stereotypic Perceptions of Women and Men Leaders).
It was a rocky start, I admit. I took the time to learn what I was talking about, though, and began to find my voice and my place in this mess that we call activism. There’s only so much one can do from a computer, but I’ve really learned to take it into life because of this time at the computer every week.
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