My “Click Moment”
By Angela Allison | Published: July 2, 2012
I’m copying this from my blog: www.justjackassery.blogspot.com
I’m reading this book called Click, When We Knew We Were Feminists. It has series of well known contributing authors, but is edited by Courtney Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan. It’s got me thinking about my “Click” moment, the day I knew I was a feminist. It’s hard to nail down one day, since my path to feminism has been quite a journey and it’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t a feminist.
I do remember one day that sticks out in my mind as a time that I first became aware of feminism. I was about 9 years old and my parents had friends over, presumably our neighbors. I remember my Dad made some comment to my Mom and as a result, she called him a chauvanstic pig. I had no idea what in the world a chauvanist was, but I sure knew what a pig was. Feeling like I had stumbled upon something great, I sprinted upstairs to write that down with my best Lisa Frank marker and notebook. Later on that evening my parents came into my room, probably to give me my evening spanking for some less then favorable thing my sister had convinced me to do. They saw where I had written it down, chauvanistic pig (probably spelled shoovanistic) and asked me why I had written that word down and did I know what it meant. I of course had no idea what it meant, so they told me in the best way they knew how, “It’s someone who thinks that men are better then women.”
That got my 9 year old self all kinda mad. But I was excited at the same time. If there is a word for it, then there is a way to fight it and I’m not the only one who is opposed to it. The best news was, my Mom didn’t like this chauvanism thing either. For the rest of my formative years, I continued this notion, that my Mom was fighting the patriarchy, which as an adult I now know this is less then true. Just a few years ago, my Mom actually voiced that women should not be doctors or presidents. I’m still recovering from that blow.
But I certainly didn’t self identify as a feminist at that young age. By the time I learned the word feminist, I had also learned about all of the stereotypes that come along with it. Feminism, of course, means that you are a gay, man hating female, who burns bras in her spare time. Luckily, I stumbled upon a women’s studies class in college to fulfill a literary requirement and found my niche. I still couldn’t come out with my new identity since I had a group of loser friends who found feminism to be just the funniest joke they ever heard. My family even made fun of me when I started ranting about how women are portrayed in the mainstream media on family vacations.
I lasted a few years like that, turtling… saying something deemed as feminist and then retreating when I met the slightest bit of opposition. But slowly over time, I kept my head out of my shell just a little bit longer and my sister started to hear what I was saying. And once I had a teammate, it was on and popping. We went to rallies to save Planned Parenthood’s funding and initiated conversations about women being disproportionatley affected by the economy at Occupy. We traded Jessica Valenti books back and forth and talked feverishly about the latest and greatest from feministing.com. That’s how we are today, crazy little fembots. We’re not afraid to call anyone out on any kind of gender descrimination or our 9 year old definition of chauvanism.