“Let’s talk about women. My journey to being a ” bad feminist” because I only truly care about women. “
I don’t think I’m such a bad feminist like people in social insinuate. I like to think of myself as a pretty opiniated feminist who has women’s and girl’s interest at heart. My approach in feminism has evolved over the years. Let’s just say today’s article will focus on how I have evolved as a self proclaimed feminist,not just a 2017 thing. I will try to detail each turning point, how the women in my life gave me perspective and the hard lessons I had to learn and or unlearn.
Let’s start from the beginning as I remember it
I knew women needed every support they could get to survive at a pretty young age. I was 7 or 8 years old when I stood up to a male teacher for spanking girls on the ass every time he was punishing us. It just felt wrong. He had some weird look when he did it. Of course I was punished for defying a teacher, male to be precise, but at least he stopped. Though he used to punish me worse when he got a chance henceforth. Luckily, my parents moved and I was transferred.
When I was 12, there was a male teacher who sexually abused girls in my school, they were just stories we heard, we were twelve, he hadn’t come to me or anyone I knew so I figured may be they were just rumours. He was my math teacher and he had never disrespected anyone in class. When he came to one of my cliques, we knew we had to do something. We were scared because he was a senior teacher and no one had openly come out to speak of the abuse. So in our little clique we decided that every time he called her to his office we would go together. Well, we almost got suspended, we got banded “bad girls” but at least my friend finished school without incidence. We didn’t necessarily feel safe around him but at least we had the numbers.
I would like to lie to you and say I have had male mentors and role models. Sadly no, except family, may be. Like my big brother was “cool” back then. He still is, I mean, he is over six feet tall with a some laid back personality and he writes. Then there was dearest daddy, because, we think the men in our lives are all that just to realize how heavily flawed they all are. Well, I did write that into my unending list of daddy’s issues. I’m still working on it. It disgusts me sometimes, mostly because after growing up you realize how flawed men are and you Wonder why you idolized them in the first place. But then agan, we were fed stories of warriors and Prince charming growing up. The women in most of these stories were in distress and or very submissive and devoted their lives to men.
My first mentor was a woman, Mrs. Otieno, she was also my English teacher. She did walk with the Grace of a goddess and had some type of poise that commanded attention yet she was supper successful( drove her own car, did her MBA bla bla bla) At some point, I wanted to grow up to be like her. She commanded respect without effort. Afterwards, there was a string of teachers and other women.
The most recent, as an adult, was my professor. She didn’t mentor me or anything but when she walks into a room and starts talking, she inspires you to want to be better. Daktari, is the kind of woman you want to be. Almost everyone in my class studied her subjects with a little more effort and did her assignments in time. You Just don’t want to let her down. Then there is my mom, well,that woman is superhuman, her strength and zeal is out of this world. Then there was Jenny, she was both a mentor and role model, she did teach me most things about being a woman that I know now.
My first step on seeking freedom was the day I decided to filter all the BS the Church and patriarch in general fed us. All the things they kept insisting a girl should and should not do. So, I decided to do with my hair and nails whatever I felt like. It was librating. I decided to wear whatever I felt like. I was told things like; that dress is too short it ain’t ladylike. Or that Dress is too long it makes you look like a grandmother. You can’t dye your hair red because that’s what women at 40 do. I let them talk and at the end of the day, I just did me. I realized I could never do anything right, so I just did whatever I felt like. Deviant? Well, a girl had to grow and find her self. I let them adjust or leave me alone. Well, except their snide comments never really did stop. Good thing I never stopped exploring whatever I saw fit.
So, somehow, I started encouraging women around me to embrace lifestyles they felt fit. To free themselves from the chains of society. To spread their wings and fly. To stop putting all their hopes and dreams to men. To unlearn all we have been taught. Some caught on, some didn’t, but that’s okay. I ain’t stupid, I know that it ain’t just my path that’s true. If getting married, popping kids and massaging ego is your kind of thing, then by all means, embrace. As Long as you don’t feel oppressed or forced to live in a certain way, then just do you.
So, how did a girl from a small town went from being daddy’s girl to a woman actively seeking freedom? How did a girl from a small town decide to be her on person? How did a girl raised in fairytale stories of Prince charming and warriors saving the day and or women in distress decide to actively seek companionship from women instead? How did she become such her own person? Why did she get so deviant?
Pretty sample. It started with a lot of painful lessons. Unlearning and learning. Getting perspective from different people. Different cultures. I found most of my gems from books. Reading books of flawed characters, mostly of women who refused to conform. Poetry by Emily Dickson made me feel understood. I found support system from books of witches, stories my mother told me, stories from my Grandma before cancer. Stories of women who broke free from the patriarch gave me strength. It made me forge my own path. Stories of women running with the moon. As time passed by I met such women in real life. It was freeing. Women who became more, who strived to be more inspired me some more. It gave me perspective. It did open my eyes. I knew I had to be more.
I continued working on my unending daddy’s issues. I started using whatever opportunity I got to tell my story just in case it would inspire someone. I encouraged women I met to be more, strangers and acquittances alike. I became more. I wanted more from life.
One morning I woke up and decided I will never jeopardize or compromise what I wanted from life because of early childhood conditioning or because of “Prince charming”. I’m still forging my path. I’m still learning. I’m still unlearning. I’m still growing as a person and I don’t apologize.
Most importantly, I became pro choice. Let a woman do with her life, her body, her soul and all that is her life on her terms. I became a woman who lived on her own terms
PS: I will write about the challenges I faced in my path to feminism may be Next time