In the past week, the things I have read on social media affirms why I became a feminist at a young age. If it wasn’t Lady Gaga copping a hit regarding her beautiful belly at the Super Bowl (never mind her spectacular performance), I read two articles on young girls being treated as objects by adults.
One ten-year-old was at a picnic when her appearance was remarked upon by a grown man. It is time for better behaviour; hell, it is overdue! When I was a child, thirty years ago, I spent my formative years seething. The remarks started before I turned ten. I was never asked about my aspirations, nor encouraged to become a writer. All that mattered was my appearance. In defiance, I joined the boy’s club at the local church. They were horrified, and tried to oust me, but there was no law that could see me banned. I went on camps for a week straight, pitching my little tent next to the boys, and relished not showering for a week!
By age eleven, I grew to despise the fact that I was growing up and filling out. A day wouldn’t pass when this fact wasn’t commented on. It would be men in cars as I walked along, and sometimes trusted figures, which was the biggest disappointment. I found myself having to fend off grown men, and listen to the dribble they relayed.
I was a child, minding my own business, and having to put up with this bullshit made life insufferable. I was sent to a very strict private school (part of a cult), and my uniform would be measured (it had to be 10cm below the knee). As if that wasn’t enough, the girls had to wear black gym pants on top of their regular underwear. We were left with the undeniable message that we were temptresses, and had a hell of a lot of power we knew nothing of. We were made to feel ashamed of our gender. The biggest insult that was thrown at me in this weird school was when I failed sewing and cooking and the teacher said I would never make a good wife! That cheered me up enormously!
I sadly experienced sexual abuse, and still, the comments kept coming. I had to prove in court that I had done nothing to warrant what had occurred. I was a child against a grown man, being treated with disdain.
I have a daughter now, and boy, she is a strong personality! She is growing up in a time where girls can be seen and heard. She would have something to say if a grown man said something embarrassing to her, and then she would inform me and I would deal with it too. We have done self-defence classes together, and she has never seen me weigh myself on scales. Rather than try to curb her strength and outspokenness, I applaud it. She picks her own clothes out, mostly to suit her climbing activities. If her looks are remarked on, I steer the subject elsewhere. I trust that by the time she starts working, it will go without saying that she will be on the same income as her male counterparts.
My ten-year-old and her friend were in the city with me, and they noticed a skywriter had written TRUMP in bold letters. They talked amongst themselves as to how he treated women, and that they didn’t hold him in much regard. I noticed that the people waiting with us to cross the road were all smiling. These girls have the world at their feet, and no more nonsense shall be tolerated. This is why I am a feminist.