Many feminists, like equal rights advocate Emma Watson, speak of a decisive moment in their lives when they knew they were feminists, like seeing a Frida Kahlo quote painted on a random wall in the city or a lecture in a class. This is called the feminist awakening, and it isn’t as eerie as its title makes it seem.Anyway, for me, it didn’t work out like that. I don’t know when or how it happened, only that it did.
I started calling myself a feminist sophomore year, and believe me; prior to then, I was an absolute heathen. I took the viewpoints of those around me and amplified (and perverted) them tenfold. I was like a small, five-foot, nicer looking Donald Trump. In retrospect, I can honestly say it was terrifying. I said things like, “it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Unironically.
That, of course, isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with the conservative viewpoints I believed I had — only the delivery I used to declare them. I was an anti-gay, kind of racist twerp. And those things are not okay. Not in the slightest.
I truly couldn’t tell you when this changed, because in all honesty, I’m really not sure. I just remember suddenly not being hateful or intolerant anymore. However, I feel as if deep down, I have always somewhat thought this way, but was too afraid to admit it because of the, ahem, Red Sea that was my extremely republican environment.
I remember being eight years old, wondering why the girl has to change her name when she gets married, and how unfair that was. Then, I decided to make my future husband take my name instead.
One probable cause that screams a blaring shriek of “IT’S ME! I DID IT!” is the bond I had with my sister as a child (which is funny, because she doesn’t identify as a feminist and pokes fun at me for being the family liberal, but it’s whatever.) From her, I learned kindness and compassion, and to stand up for what is right. I learned sisterhood, not only in the same-genetics kind of way, but in the broader, “all of us identify as girls and we’re in this together” way. Though we think differently politically, I have her to thank for at least sparking the fire that was my feminist awakening.
So maybe there isn’t one moment that I can credit as The Moment I Knew™. It was a progressive shift from the time I left middle school to my fifteenth year, and it is ongoing still as I continue to learn and grow. Perhaps we can deduce that middle school was the problem, as it typically is. Either way, I can firmly stand by the statement that though I can’t owe it all to one specific moment in my life, but rather a series of definitive ones that steered me in this direction. I believe I prefer that explanation anyway.