When I first learned about feminism last year, I viewed it very much from an outward perspective. I never really included myself amongst the oppressed women in the world because my life is pretty much exactly how I want it to be.
Since then, I have learned a lot about feminism and women's equality and there have been many instances in my life where I have actually experienced sexism and I just want to share some of those with you today.
From the age of roughly 9 months old, I had a boy best friend, he was basically my brother. When we grew slightly to about age four, our different interests began to show. Even from that age, the difference in toys, favourite colours, TV shows were clearly prominent because that was what we had been taught was right. I liked pink, had a collection of barbies, dozens of different princess costumes and I liked to make perfumes out of petals in the garden. He had a collection of hot wheels, one pirate costume and wanted to be a scientist. I think it is crazy how these different stereotypes were pushed onto us from such a young age, if they hadn't been I might have fallen in love with science but I was taught that that was a boy's subject, and I didn't like boys.
When I was a little girl, I used to have really long hair and whenever my mother and I talked to her friends the first thing they would always say to me was "you're going to break lots of boys hearts you will". Thinking about it now, it's a really weird and offensive thing to say; why is that applauded? They were dragging me through the mud, saying that just because I was pretty I was going to be a "tease" (my hatred for that word is an entirely different discussion). That entire concept is just so wrong, i mean, why were they even sexualising an 8 year old girl?
As I grew up, I became very interested in fashion and makeup and I have always loved to dress up. A family member that I haven't seen in a while came to talk to me and after a while they said "Do you want to be a beautician when you're older? I bet you're going to be a fashion designer" naturally assuming that because I am a girl and I wear makeup I am going to go into a typically feminine job, not even adding in the fact that I am an A grade student in English, maths and business studies, and would most likely get a D in any sort of artistic subject. To be totally fair, I am very interested in fashion so the assumption was understandable, but it was quite insulting to me at the time.
When I was in year 9 and had to pick my GCSE options, we had a day where we talked to all the teachers about the subjects. When I asked my business studies teacher about whether he thought it was a subject suitable for me he said "It's typically a subject that a lot of boys take" clearly implying that I shouldn't take it because I was a girl.
When I was younger and discussing with someone I know about careers, he told me that he wouldn't hire a woman that wasn't pretty or nice to look at.
In school, boys are given a much harder treatment if they are bad than girls are. If a boy talks in class, he gets angrily told to leave the classroom, but if a girl talks they are calmly told to be quiet and listen.
When I was at party (age 13) there was a group of boys running round and slapping girls butts and laughing when they screamed. I was one of the girls targeted. Society is so fucked up that I was actually almost flattered, even though I was extremely uncomfortable and humiliated. I realise now that this was sexual harassment.
When I recently told my Granddad that I ran a blog but I wasn't getting many followers, he told me that perhaps I should get a boy to help me because that would get more readers.
My very close friend once gave an 18 year old guy a blowjob because she thought he wouldn't like her anymore if she didn't. I told her if that was the case he wasn't worth liking.
When I started wearing makeup my Dad told me that boys don't like it when girls wear makeup, I said that I did. Other boys tell me that it's "false advertising" I say that I'm not a product for them to buy.
When I wore my favourite skirt the other week my Nan told me that my favourite skirt was too short and that I wouldn't want to provoke old men. I said that if I'm too young to wear the skirt, she's too young to be sexualising me in it. I also said that it if an old man decided to touch me, it wouldn't be the skirts fault, and I would be sure to kick him if he did.
I know that if I was a boy talking about feminism, I would be taken a lot more seriously.
My mother is extremely conscious of her weight. She is very thin and very beautiful, but she's also human and 47 years old, she doesn't look like photo-shopped 20 year old models, and neither do I. Her value is not placed on how she looks, she is the most amazing and beautiful woman I know.
When I get offended when my male friends make sexist jokes, I am told to "lighten up" and "get a sense of humour".
I constantly find myself confused by the media in terms of how I am supposed to look. Some people say I am supposed to be thin, some people say I'm supposed to be curvy, some people say I am supposed to be thin and curvy. Do these people not realise that there is next to nothing I can do to change my size and my shape? Do these people also not realise that I am not their's to look at or decide whether I am worth anything or not?
There are a couple of conventionally "ugly" girls in my class and they heavily ridiculed and patronised just because they're not "pretty". They happen to be extremely intelligent, kind and fragile. It drives me mad to see them put in a corner everyday with no way to defend themselves without being accused of not being able to "take a joke". This happens to boys too from the conventionally "pretty girls", they treat them like dirt and it's not fair. Since when did being "pretty" mean you have to be bitchy, life isn't mean girls, it doesn't make you powerful, it just makes you nasty.
I am very confident with myself, I am so happy with who I am and I am very lucky that I was born into the wonderful life that I have. People don't like the fact that I feel this way. I am often called "up my own arse" and because I am confident I am called "bossy". Girls are not supposed to love themselves and their bodies, but I do and you have a right to as well.
On this blog, my most read posts are the ones about fashion and beauty. As females we are obsessed with how we look, to the point that we feel that we can't read about or do anything other than look good.
Thank you for reading // Jeani