Our Shared Shelf discussion

808 views
Intersectional Feminism > Experiences/Identifying as A Feminist

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Amanda (last edited Dec 23, 2019 07:44AM) (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments While we should all be feminists, as men and women deserve equal treatment and opportunities, have there been any personal experiences that have contributed to your identity as a feminist? I'm curious to hear other's stories.

Starting from a young age, I was involved in partnership based activities, where I worked with a boy for hours every day, including competitive ballroom dance and competitive ice dance. I quickly discovered that, young girls are usually conditioned to be less assertive than a boy. Anytime my partner had a complaint, concern or comment about an issue we were facing in our program, my coach would always listen to him and try to find a solution. However, most of the times I would have something to say, I was told to stop being dramatic and difficult. (Basically, if you are a girl and dare to be assertive at all, this translates to you being a bitch). I think being shut down for many years of my life by various different authority figures, being told that, "my education was not important because I was a girl", and obviously being a believer in gender equality, have shaped my identitiy as a feminist.


message 2: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie_oberg) | 6 comments When I was a kid, I loved the Batman TV show. It was rumoured there was to be a female character coming;I was distinctly disappointed that it ended up beinBat Girl and not Bat woman. So UNFAIR!That’s my earliest feminist memory


message 3: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
It was media for me as well.

I remember staying up late to watch ER, a tv show in the 90's about doctors working in the emergency room, and I remember that my dad was very angry at the boss doctor who happened to be female. (Looked it up, character was Kerry Weaver)

To me, a young child, who couldn't really follow much of the story line, it seemed like she was the only character who wasn't sneaking off for some hanky panky and the only one who was taking charge of the chaos. So I couldn't understand why this person who I respected so much would call her a *itch.

To me, as a one of 6 children- five of them being girls, it really stuck with me how someone who I loved and respected more than anything else, who spoke very highly about his aspirations for all of my sisters and I to become strong, independent women, would swear at the one person who I saw in the media who was a caregiver unlike most women I saw AND who was the boss.

It didn't compute.


message 4: by Elise (new)

Elise | 22 comments It's hard to say for me as well when I became a feminist, but from that moment on I've been doing research, read every article I could get my hands on and listened to TED talks. On the website of HeForShe, they have really interesting pdf's with so much information.
When I was 18, I had to do this speech for a subject at school and I did it about feminism. Some gave me a few felicitations afterwards that really warmed my heart, but on the downside others really didn't know that it's still so present these times and that gender inequality is still not over yet. It's so sad some think we are overreacting.


message 5: by Florian (new)

Florian (laughingflow) | 220 comments When I was six years old, my sister, my mother and I went to an exhibition. I was looking at the paintings and the painter's name then I voiced a bit frustrated (probably loudly like every single kid): "Mom, why there isn't any women painters?"

Then we found one painter painted by a woman, but I was not quite happy to see only one woman painter in that exhibition. That's the moment my mother realized I was a young feminist while I did not even know what feminism was.


message 6: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Laurie wrote: "When I was a kid, I loved the Batman TV show. It was rumoured there was to be a female character coming;I was distinctly disappointed that it ended up beinBat Girl and not Bat woman. So UNFAIR!That..."

I can definitely see how the portrayal of a character in media like that would serve as some amount of influence.


message 7: by Amanda (last edited Dec 23, 2019 05:42PM) (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Pam wrote: "It was media for me as well.

I remember staying up late to watch ER, a tv show in the 90's about doctors working in the emergency room, and I remember that my dad was very angry at the boss docto..."


Thanks for sharing! What you described is something I've found fascinating for a while- Men can be 'feminists' or treat and respect women well when those women are people they love (spouse, daughter, sister, etc.), but often this fair treatment and respect seems to disappear outside the familial realm. It's okay for a woman who's heavily involved in a man's life to be independent or dare to disagree, but it seems like sometimes if it's a complete stranger (or in this case a fictional character), then they're entitled to call her out for her diva behavior.


message 8: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
Amanda wrote: ". .It's okay for a woman who's heavily involved in a man's life to be independent or dare to disagree, but it seems like sometimes if it's a complete stranger (or in this case a fictional character), then they're entitled to call her out for her diva behavior."

Or, In this case and probably many others, behavior that doesn't have the woman deferring to the guy. Yeahhhhhh.


message 9: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Elise wrote: "It's hard to say for me as well when I became a feminist, but from that moment on I've been doing research, read every article I could get my hands on and listened to TED talks. On the website of H..."

HeForShe was a big influence for me as well. When that started, I was fairly young.


message 10: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Florian wrote: "When I was six years old, my sister, my mother and I went to an exhibition. I was looking at the paintings and the painter's name then I voiced a bit frustrated (probably loudly like every single k..."

Yep, I have had thoughts like that as well with art, film, etc. Lack of representation!


message 11: by Amanda (last edited Dec 24, 2019 03:12PM) (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Evgeny wrote: "How do you see the feminism of the future?"

That's a really interesting question. Are you asking what I think will happen or where feminism should progress in the future? I honestly believe that the answer truly depends on the country, as while feminism has come a long way in the United States, a lot of people still look down on the concept, including people my age who are Gen Z. Seeing as the US is moving more right and so many people believe things like the gender wage gap is a myth, I don't know if the future will bring improvement. However, within the last couple years, there has been a substantial amount of progress with the birth of the Me Too movement. Overall, it is hard to say.

Countries such as New Zealand, Finland and Iceland have moved in a much more progressive, feminist direction (looking at recent elections and politics it's evident), which brings me hope. For the future I would like to see the stigma behind feminism erased and certain issues like the gender wage gap more fundamentally understood, and in developing countries there to better access for girls to receive an education. Will this happen over time? I have no idea. Within the last few months, I've seen events that demonstrate that certain countries are seeming to move more right (especially the United States and United Kingdom) and I believe in a more right leaning society and country, it's challenging for feminism to thrive.


message 12: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Evgeny wrote: "Does Amanda make you stronger feminism?"

In what way do you mean? Yeah I think so, especially as feminism promotes girls and women to be stand up for themselves (especially in male dominated situations) and not be afraid to be intelligent, assertive, confident, etc.


message 13: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Evgeny wrote: "Amanda, have you ever had humiliating jokes about girls in your eyes? If so, would you tell me?"


Yeah I have. I can't really think of the exact jokes, but I have heard two teenage boys mock and joke about the size of a girl's breasts, as well as heard many poorly made jokes about girl's anger in relation to their periods. For girls to hear comments like these continually throughout their lives is very problematic as because even though these are 'jokes', they can easily cause us, especially at a young age, to feel ashamed of ourselves and our bodies.


message 14: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Miranda wrote: "I distinctly remember the day I became a feminist. I was a young teenager, scrolling through Tumblr and came across a post about Nicki Minaj. It was about what a fake woman she was, with her fake b..."

Thanks for sharing. That is quite interesting. I feel like I have had moments like that as well, where I've harshly judged a woman (like Nicki Minaj) without realizing it. Part of what I like so much about feminism is that it not only advocates for men to treat women as equals, but also promotes women to not judge other women for their choices, appearance, etc. Feminism is all about giving women freedom.

I also think what you described shows the constant higher standard women, particularly in the entertainment industry, face.


message 15: by Elise (new)

Elise | 22 comments Amanda wrote: "... but also promotes women to not judge other women for their choices, appearance, etc. ... "

Yeah, I think people easily forget that women can be really harsh to other women. Sadly...


jessica in technicolor 💋 | 1 comments for me, i watched scarlett johansson as black widow, and while i absolutely love her character and her as an actress (some things are problematic but we’ll get into that later), i saw her reduced to bruce’s love interest in age of ultron. i was 13. she was an amazing and complex character, and like always, the male writers and directors reduced her to a body in iron man 2, and did the same here.

if someone as amazing as that was just a love interest, what would i be in the future? a random body? furniture?

then she was killed in endgame, to further clint’s storyline, once again putting a one-dimensional man before her.

i like to think i was a feminist long before these movies, but they just solidified them.


message 17: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 194 comments I didn't start identifying as a feminist until I was in college, simply because I didn't quite realize it was still relevant and the beliefs I had and struggles I faced aligned with feminism. One thing that sticks out in my mind from high school is an argument I consistently had with a boy that I was allowed to hold the door open for HIM, or that I could let HIM into the bus aisle before I went. At some point, it became a game, but even as a game, it annoyed me that he believed it was wrong for me to do these things.

Other than that, I was really just raised to do things my own way and not because of gender. My dad was a big outdoorsy type of guy, so my sister and I went fishing with him, he coached our little league team, taught us to play basketball took us hunting with him and 4-wheeling. My mom wanted us to believe we could do anything we set our minds to because she never got the same support growing up. She didn't want to give us a reason to believe we weren't good enough. My parents don't identify as feminists, so this was not deliberate to "make" my sister or I feminists. It's just how they are. Neither really fit society's "norms" for them, and one of the lessons my dad made sure he taught us was that it's ok to not be "normal" or "popular" or "like everyone else." I think these little things in my childhood and adolescents molded me to be a feminist and education gave me the ability to identify with it.


message 18: by Anne Elisabeth (new)

Anne Elisabeth   (anneelisabeth) | 87 comments Thank you everyone for sharing, it is so interesting to read all the different ways one becomes a feminist. Or perhaps find the words to express that you are/are becoming a feminist.

I am raised in a family where both genders were treated equal, but I think the people that shaped me the most are my mother and my grandmothers.
They are all strong women, even though I lost my maternal grandmother almost a year ago, she will forever live in my memory as a strong, independent and amazing person. My parents are equals, they have no fear for arguing and I think that seeing them as people who could both be angry, happy and all the feelings inbetween helped me to not feel in any way inferior to any man. And as a person with a strong sense of justice, injustice has always been a thing I dislike.
But I will be honest and say that I did not self-identify as a feminist until I was in my twenties. Then I gained the language and the understanding to express my viewpoints in a feminist way. And HeForShe and Emma Watson´s UN speech certainly helped me find my footing :)


message 19: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Jessica wrote: "for me, i watched scarlett johansson as black widow, and while i absolutely love her character and her as an actress (some things are problematic but we’ll get into that later), i saw her reduced t..."

I have felt that way many times in movies, where a female lead is either used as a love interest or to help move the storyline of a male character further along. So frustrating!


message 20: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Ashley wrote: "I didn't start identifying as a feminist until I was in college, simply because I didn't quite realize it was still relevant and the beliefs I had and struggles I faced aligned with feminism. One t..."

Thanks for sharing. I definitely had that influence as well growing up, as my parents always told me I'm capable of achieving anything if I put my mind to it. There was never any mention of gender.


message 21: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Anne Elisabeth wrote: "Thank you everyone for sharing, it is so interesting to read all the different ways one becomes a feminist. Or perhaps find the words to express that you are/are becoming a feminist.

I am raised i..."


Hi! I think if there are strong, independent women in your immediate family that can serve as a more powerful influence than if the women in your family are dependent on men. Obviously, one can still become a feminist without having strong, independent women in their personal lives but it helps.


message 22: by Katie (new)

Katie | 3 comments This question and these comments are so interesting to read, thank you for posting this question and to those who participated in answering!!

While I don't recall if there's ever been one specific moment, my feminist beliefs stem from my frustration of consistently being doubted or questioned. I've always found it ironic that in our childhoods we're told that we are capable of doing or being whatever we wanted! However, numerous times I've felt that my ambitions were shut down or minimized. As I've grown up, I've found that I'm quiet and try to avoid conflict as much as possible. After having my opinions, believes or abilities questioned so many times... I've learned to question myself. My older brother, however, has no problem asserting himself or his ambitions. While I admire my brother, it's been frustrating to be ignored, pushed aside or doubted. EVERY voice deserves to be heard, respectfully, regardless of gender.

I've grown stronger in my beliefs as I've gotten older, and I've worked strongly on my assertiveness, confidence and self-assurance. This is a work in progress and I am far from where I would like to be, however... but awareness is the first step.


message 23: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte (lottikala) | 11 comments I still recall the day my family visited a friend's house. Two men sitting on one table with me said something I can't recall that rather upset me. All I remember is the two of them telling each other "what a little feminist" has become of me and it was clear that, in their eyes, this wasn't meant as a compliment. I told them, "Yes, I am and I think it's great!" Looking back at this day I would say that this was the moment I started identifying as a feminist. Not because someone told me I am, but because I understood that they didn't take my opinion seriously as it was the view of a feminist girl and that hurt and bothered me so much that I developed an even stronger interest and passion for feminism and developed a critical eye on developments around me.


message 24: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Katie wrote: "This question and these comments are so interesting to read, thank you for posting this question and to those who participated in answering!!

While I don't recall if there's ever been one specific..."


Thanks for sharing. Yes! I've had this problem as well. It seems much more difficult for women to be taken seriously and not be doubted. Additionally, I have also become someone who hates conflict and has great difficulty in being assertive, partially due to seeing men treating a confident woman differently than a confident man. This is something I'm working on.


message 25: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 22 comments I can't remember a time when I wasn't a feminist. My parents are strong believers in equality, not in an outspoken way, but in a way where it wasn't even questioned or unusual in my household. We all held doors for each other. My sister mowed the lawn because she was tallest and strongest; my brother did the dishes because he was careful and neat. We did the chores that fit best with our personalities, and we were encouraged to follow our desires in school and the workplace no matter what those "dream jobs" might be. My parents' interactions with each other and others were as equals and seemed to have no basis in gender. That being said, I always saw inequalities outside of my household (from my grandfather only offering to take my brother to baseball games to a little boy at school thinking it was okay to cut off part of my ponytail) which only increased as I got older. I've become a bit more outspoken about feminism than my parents. But I find that the accomplishment of which I'm proudest is when I can take my son somewhere and see him treat boys and girls and everyone else equally.


message 26: by Vi (new)

Vi ✨ being infinite (tanviohol) | 13 comments Really? This is totally opposite from what happens in my house. My mother does the households and my father goes to work. We are three sisters so we divide the work to help my mother. But i guess if I had a brother then he wouldn't have participated in the household chores.But even when my father is at home,all he does is sit and read and I get so angry at him,my blood starts boiling. They say,"Once you put on the feminism glasses,you start realizing how ridiculous things are. I hope I will be able to raise a family in which there are no assingned gender roles.


message 27: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Charlotte wrote: "I still recall the day my family visited a friend's house. Two men sitting on one table with me said something I can't recall that rather upset me. All I remember is the two of them telling each ot..."

Yes, people often use the term feminist as an insult!


message 28: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Hannah wrote: "I can't remember a time when I wasn't a feminist. My parents are strong believers in equality, not in an outspoken way, but in a way where it wasn't even questioned or unusual in my household. We a..."

I love how there's not even really a discussion around feminism/ gender roles, and instead there's an assumption of equal treatment. My experience has been similar, where my family were always great with the concept of equality, but other people outside of that realm acted differently.


message 29: by Hilary ☀️ (new)

Hilary ☀️ (i_am_tofu_rabbit) So cool to read everyone else's experiences. For me, I started taking history classes in college while starting my career out as an engineer on all-male engineering teams. I remember this one class that looked at sex, gender, & power throughout Chinese history that really hit home for me that talked about how ideas of scarcity led to womxn competing against other womxn, which was what I was seeing a lot in industry.

From there, I've been really interested in the intersectionality of feminism, particularly in relation to disability.


message 30: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments Hilary ☀️ wrote: "So cool to read everyone else's experiences. For me, I started taking history classes in college while starting my career out as an engineer on all-male engineering teams. I remember this one class..."

Thanks for sharing! Yes scarcity is a problem, as then there is not enough room for everyone. Women being forced to compete against other women, instead of being able to support one another is something that is just starting to be discussed more I feel.


message 31: by Hanna (new)

Hanna Geneviève | 1 comments Thanks for asking the question! It was really interesting reading all of the replies.

For me, there was no particular personal experience.
Like a lot of women I have been confronted to sexist comments, unfunny jokes about period and PMSing, unequal treatment, have been called hysterical when I was being assertive and spoke my mind.
I have been raised by an incredibly strong and independent woman, so situations like these irked me profoundly and eventually led to me identifying as a feminist.


back to top