What does my feminism look like? Well probably a work in progress, one where you can tell the artist in question is passionate about the subject but maybe hasn’t spent as long as they could have reflecting on it and likes the making process as much or more than the final product.
For me feminism means lots of things- equity, justice, a tool with which to disassemble what is going on around you and see it in a new light, a challenge, an enabler for cheeky fun, the right to wear a short skirt, a revealing top, or nothing at all but also the right not to when more clothing appears more practical (for example when you’re running the world, Beyonce please take note), a source of strength, an ethic, a label you get branded with when people don’t like what you’re saying and want to silence you by ostracising you (though little do they know it doesn’t work so well), a stream of provocative ideas, solidarity, provoking change that is not just about women but about restructuring things for the benefit of all, and sometimes revolutionary and sometimes just plain common sense (or common decency).
I guess my feminism is also evident in things that make me mad, like the fact the gender pay gap still exists, the fact people don’t get more angry about the high rates of violence against women, the fact that video games exist where male characters beat female characters to death with hammers, as well as personal stuff like feeling unsafe when I walk home at night, being ignored because I am young, female and have blonde hair (at the time) so surely can have nothing to contribute, and being told by a friend that 6 out of 10 of her best mates were sexually assaulted whilst living in on-campus colleges during university.
My feminism comes from a strong sense of social justice, but also reflects what an integral part of my identity being a woman is. My feminism has been fostered through the discovery of women’s spaces at uni, through amazing and intelligent friends and mentors who’ve challenged my thoughts and my beliefs, through many drunken conversations that have gone long into the night, through personal experiences that have left me feeling crap and wondering why, and through reading, listening and seeing.
I’m not the most confident feminist, even though I work for a feminist organisation, and I’ve been around feminist circles in one form or another for a while now. I’ve read my share of books and heard amazing women and men speak on the subject, and even spoken myself about it. I still often to and fro on my position on certain issues or sometimes catch myself judging Julia Gillard’s choice of jacket or gossiping or saying something truly naive. Nonetheless, even though I might not be the most articulate feminist, I do love the ideas and the tools it offers and the conversations it provokes, and I do feel passionate about the potential and power that can be harnessed through engaging and empowering more women, young and old, to make change in their communities. And I love my feministy friends!
Angela currently works at the YWCA of Canberra doing everything from tender writing to running young women’s leadership workshops. Before this she was a very begrudging public servant working in social policy for the Federal Government. On the side Angela is studying law and learning how to be a stepmother. In her spare time Angela likes to be surrounded by people she loves, do fun things, drink good wine and eat good food and travel as much as possible.