Tag Archives: to before i was a feminist

The New F Word: A letter from a feminist to her 12 year old self

Written by a feminist who would prefer to remain anonymous

“Dear gum-popping, strawberry lipgloss-wearing, 12 year old self with her Discman spinning the latest N’Sync album while thumbing the pages of Dolly,

While some things haven’t changed, such as your love for trashy 90s pop, a lot of other things have done so and for the better. 

All of that make-up and baggy clothing you hide under? You’re going gain the confidence to show the world who you are and instead use them as tools for expressing your inner self and personality.

Those magazines that make you feel inadequate and invisible? You’re going to learn to ignore them and find new role models that better reflect who you are and who you want to become.

The imperfections and blemishes that you resent? You’re going to learn to accept them as roadmaps that show where you have been in the past, like a tiger earning her stripes. 

That niggling thought at the back of your mind that you never meet anyone’s standards? You’ll learn that the problem isn’t you, that it’s in fact the unrealistic standards of society.

Those friends that tear you down to make themselves feel better? You’re going to meet intelligent, kind, caring, generous, and supportive people who will share their lives with you, some for a short while and others for a long while, and enrich it with their presence.

You already have the ability to do all of the above, but Feminism will help you with the process. It’ll provide you with the language to describe what you’re feeling, the tools to make society better, and friends to support you along the way. That’s just the beginning of it, though, you still have the rest of your life to explore yourself and society and hopefully make both happier. 

Best of luck,

A feminist.”

#thenewfword A letter to before I was a feminist

Dear Little Me,

 You don’t know what the word feminist means yet, you won’t for quite a while. All you know right now is that you’re a vegetarian ‘cos mum and dad say you are. There’s video evidence of this, at your birthday party your grand grandmother will try and give you a salad with bacon in it, it’s okay ‘cos Auntie Nikki will save you. Despite this your nan is right, you wouldn’t have known the difference is anyway.

 You’ll grow up a little and begin to understand, being a feminist is a pretty rubbish thing, being a feminist means that when your mum hears you and your friends giggling about sex in the backseat she’ll find the need to draw you an anatomically correct picture of a vagina and a penis. You still haven’t really forgiven her for that, and you’re a lot older now.

 You won’t have a lightbulb moment, you’ll read The Female Eunuch when you’re fourteen but close it in the section when she talks about tasting your own menstrual blood. For Christmas the year that you turn 15 you’ll get a copy of Gender Troubles by Judith Butler. You’ll never read the entire book all the way through. You’ll write three essays at university based on her theories and you’ll still never read an entire chapter. Because you don’t understand her you’ll say she’s stupid. Until I finish the book I don’t know if that’s true or not.

 People won’t really understand where you’re coming from, they’re about to start calling you names, ‘cos you’re different. Try not to let it get to you too much, it’s not really that bad to be a feminist. In the end you’ll actually find that it gives you the strength you need to make it through the hard times.

 You’ll be an angry hairy feminist for a while, you’ll spend a year flirting with lipstick post-feminism. Then you’ll have a lecturer who completely changes the way you think about everything. She’s pretty hated by a lot of people but she makes you radical. You won’t throw away your heels or cut your hair but you’ll become more empowered and questioning.

 When you’re 21 you’ll shave your armpits for an election pledge, it’ll get your campaign 500 bucks but you’ll still cry when you do it. It seems like less of a big deal after that. One of your teachers from high school will tell you that you paved the way for strong feminist women at your old school, you’ll cry at this too. Basically feminism means a lot of crying for you, but that’s okay too.

 For you #thenewfword is really just the old ‘f’ word. It’s never a dirty word around your house. Except for when your mum draws the diagram. That part sucks.

 There’s a lot of time left to go in your life, but I don’t think you’ll ever stop being a feminist. For now you can keep playing with your Barbie dolls. Kiri who’s your favourite won’t be yours for much longer though, you’re about to leave her in the sun and she’s going to melt. You won’t get over it for a week.

 In Sisterhood,

 Noni xx