Just ask anyone that has me on Facebook, I’m a feminist. The kind that shares a lot of politically- loaded-gender-related pictures, videos, listicles. You name it if it’s got a feminist agenda I’ve shared it. I’m not sorry. But after watching the incredible powerful Dear Daddy video by CARE Norway it made me think about why I am a feminist and why I owe a lot of that to my parents.
I can’t claim that either of my parents are feminists, it isn’t my place to decide. But, what I don’t think they realise is the way they brought me up is the reason I am a feminist. Don’t jump to conclusions, that isn’t because I had a horribly repressive childhood full of injustice and ignorance. That is far from the truth. I had an amazing childhood.
I am a feminist because I have lived in a privileged bubble. I’m from an average white British family from a small town in North Wales. I know that you don’t have to fall into a minority category to be a victim of sexism but I also know in the wider picture ingrained misogynist culture is far worse for other cultures, nations and races. That doesn’t make my feminism any less than anyone else. I remember being 18 and thinking that feminism was stupid and that it didn’t effect me but university opened up my eyes to why exactly we still need feminism and I looked back on my life and was able to pick out instances that should not of happened to me just because I am female.
I was able to grow up in this bubble because of the way my parents raised me. They never made me feel like I couldn’t do something because I was a girl, they never once told me that “girls can’t be this or do that.” I have never once seen my father disrespect my mother because he is male and she is female. I come from a family of strong women, seriously you wouldn’t want to mess with the women in my family. Both of my nans are huge role models to me, they’ve been through so much. Strong in every way. All of my female cousins are driven and ambitious, there are five female university graduates in my family and two male, there are two more women just about to graduate (me included) and my younger cousins are going to be amazing too! There isn’t a single woman in my family I couldn’t say was a strong independent woman. There isn’t a single woman in my family I don’t look up to in some way. Especially my mum, who is my biggest inspiration in life not only because I admire the way her and my dad coped with my autistic brother and the way they didn’t impose that on me but because they built me up to be the strong, confident woman I am today.
I am a feminist because once I reached adulthood I realised my perception and experience of women wasn’t the norm. I encountered women who had struggled to justify their university education to their families, women that had been abused, women that didn’t have confidence in themselves. This opened my eyes. I began to notice things about my own experiences that matched up with what they were saying and I noticed that yeah, women are treated differently, even me. I had deemed feminism unimportant before because to me strong, successful independent women were the norm. I had never experienced men or women who thought otherwise, at least not in my family.
I am a feminist because that should be everyone’s normality. No one should view gender difference in hierarchies, no one should say women can’t do this or men shouldn’t do that. So this post is a letter of thanks, to my family, who taught me to have high expectations of society. Who brought me up to believe that I am worthy and that I can do anything I set my mind to. They’ve supported me the numerous times I’ve changed what I want to be when I grow up and they’ve been my financial rock throughout uni.
So thank you Mum and Dad, for raising me right