Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Click Moment: How I Discovered Feminism

How silly of me, this blog has been up and running for half a week now and I haven't wrote about my feminist click moment yet. Here's the anticlimactic way I discovered that I was a feminist.

I moved to San Diego from Minnesota in 2007, and was absolutely thrilled when we overturned the ban against gay marriage. I went down to the predominantly gay neighborhood Hillcrest and joined the massive celebration. I watched couples holdings hands and looking so relieved and so in love. Then, I found out about the proposition 8 that would eliminate the right for same sex couples to marry in California. I was disgusted by the proposition, but figured that there was no way it would pass. After all, we're in California -- it's all liberal here, right?

Near the end of the campaign against Prop 8, I began to notice that the pro-Prop 8 movement was gaining traction. I started joining in on the protests and the marches in the city. I figured that there was still no way it would pass, but wanted to show that I was standing in solidarity with the gay rights movement in San Diego. The night of the vote, I sat glued to the television. I saw the results and how close they were all the way to the end, and my heart felt like a huge lump in my chest. When the victory was declared for the pro-Prop 8 movement, I cried. I was heartbroken and absolutely shocked that something like this could happen. Taking the step to grant rights to gay people to marry is a huge progressive step for any state, but taking it away? That's cruel, unjust, and was not what I thought California was about.

Throughout the movement, I spent a lot of time reading blogs and news sites that were liberal and feminist. The majority of sites covering the CA Proposition 8 news were feminist, or at least allies. Just by adding these RSS feeds to my reader, I was exposed to a world that I never knew existed. I learned about feminist concepts I'd never heard of, read about stereotypes against Muslim women, about sex and fat positivity, about the word 'slut' and what it meant or didn't mean, about sexism in media and advertising, about domestic violence, rape culture, wage disparities, and more. I learned about the world that is out there and all of the systematic and cultural things that are wrong with it. I owe a lot to sites like Shakesville, Jezebel,Feministe, Feministing, thisaintlivin, and Womanist Musings, among others.

I thought to myself - "how is it possible that I can be ONLY advocating for equality for LGBT people when all of these things are so closely intertwined?" I started to ravenously devour anything I could about feminism. I started to see things in movies and games and on TV that I never saw before. I started to notice things in my everyday life and conversations that I would never have noticed. Things about the way people treat each other, about their stereotypes and the culture that we are all blind to because we live in it. I had a lot of help in helping me navigate my way into feminist thought from great women like TiredFairy and Brinstar. I thank them for helping to educate me.

I'm still very new to all this. It's been over a year that I've started calling myself a feminist, but I'm still learning. I'm still making mistakes and still trying to fix them. We still have a huge uphill battle for marriage equality in CA and the United States, but it's not the only battle out there to fight. It's impossible to ignore the blatant issues that plague women and other marginalized groups in our society. So that's my click story.