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International Women's Day 2016

It all started in the kitchen of the first house I ever lived in. 

"Mum why do you wear a wedding ring but dad doesn't?". 

Her answer was that women wear rings but men have the option. We moved out of that house in the summer of 1999 so I must have been eight-years-old or younger, and already I was questioning the gender roles that society imposed on us. If the answer had been that my dad just hates jewellery and my mum doesn't feel insecure because he won't wear a piece of jewellery that marks him as off the market, I wouldn't have cared. That's choice. The answer I got didn't sound all that much like choice.

I didn't know what the word feminist meant yet. I wasn't even familiar with the word. But it's quite obvious at that tender age I already was one.  

While there were more moments throughout my early life that raised my eyebrow (why girls couldn't play football, why guys in my class who were no Abercrombie Model would mock girls would weren't Victoria Secret models, why every time I had a male friend I would be asked if he was my boyfriend) my next big feminist clicking point was at some point in early high school while reading a Christina Aguilera interview. 

She was responding to claims she was a slut and should cover up, and her response pointed out that no one would care if she was male. Slut is a word reserved for women, while men are studs. It opened up my eyes and I never used the word slut again. 

Then I bought her Stripped album (with a saucy cover, much to my mum's annoyance) and heard a song that caused a few fist-pumps in my teenage bedroom. It arrived on the music channels not long after. 

(But as an older feminist who now has a grasp of intersectionality, I can see how problematic the video is when it comes to race). 

It does however escape me the moment I knew what the word feminist meant. I wish I could remember. But I remember falling into feminist blogs so it was maybe one of them that did it: Feministe, Feministing, and Bitch Buzz were all internet reading material in my late teens (what do you mean nineteen-year-olds go out and down Jagerbombs?). 

I can't remember the moment I began to use the word feminist, but I know that I've been one since childhood and remain one to this day. I'll remain one until the day catcalls are no more, when girls have access to abortion across the world, when sex education is mandatory and covers consent, when sexual consent is fully understood and isn't just "we'll if she doesn't actually say no...". when board rooms have just as many women as men, when trans women are just as much real women as cis-women, when Batgirl gets her own film and it's hyped as much as a Batman film (okay fine, when any female superhero gets her own much-hyped film) and when all social injustices are dead, because remember "my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit".*

Happy International Womens Day. 

* There are more feminist issues in the world than just these but I forgot to write this post until last night so I'm going for something brief before I hit my pillow. I wrote this last year
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