Sheree Bekker | On feminism
At this point in my life, I have a lot of free time on my hands and spend whole swathes of time alone. I have crafted my life to be this way. To be honest, I didn’t just decide that this was what I wanted…my whole being pulled me into it. Solitude and time are my bliss. This may, at first glance, seem like an entirely selfish proposition…but I have experienced so much personal growth that I cannot even fathom not having this time for myself anymore. I also believe that, by using this time to find my voice, my life’s work will be of benefit to a big need in this world. I wholeheartedly believe that of your life too.
I still find it such a revelation when I come across stories, research, facts, and whole corners of the world that validate how I feel, and give me the emotional language to put into words why I feel that way. I adore that I have TIME to read and watch and research topics that really matter to me. The introversion/extroversion continuum is one example of that. I am in the process of unlearning who this world taught me to be. I am unmasking myself. In leaning into vulnerability I am SO much more balanced than I have ever given myself chance to be. I can feel that I am certainly becoming my own woman at this point, with my own rich internal tapestry. My mind is exploding with all these ideas and concepts and worldviews that I have not had the courage or emotional language to share in a meaningful way before. In a way I am still learning what my worldview is…and I realise every day how radical it truly is that I have a safe space in which to get to know myself and figure out what is important to me.
I know that what I am becoming and learning of myself now will serve me for the rest of my life. Fuck that, this IS my life. For the first time I now GET IT when experts say that the more they learn the more they realise how little they really do know…I always imagined that that would be a horrible state of affairs for my ordered mind to be in, but I am now realising how delicious that is. It is wonderful to know that there is so much more to learn about these subjects that warm my heart, challenge my thinking, and cultivate my emotional language.
I have a deep knowledge of how ignorant I am1
This leads me to feminism. I had no idea that all of the topics that have haunted me over my lifetime thus far are all feminist topics. Here I discovered a movement based on whole generations of women, and whole rooms, houses, CASTLES of the internet dedicated to validating this language. I have read copious amounts of feminist texts over this past year….and for someone who spends a lot of time critiquing theories and research, learning about this movement has been a personal revelation. Feminism is a polarising concept, and one which I personally have brushed aside in the past with the pervasive thought that that battle had already been won, and that it no longer applied to my generation. The truth is, it never was a battle. It is a movement that remains relevant. Just to set the record straight from the beginning: feminism is not man-hating, and it is not necessarily angry.
Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men
Please watch this, the speech sampled from 01:25 had me saying YES YES YES:
At this point, I don’t think I can explain what feminism is more eloquently than Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this is the full version of her speech sampled in the song:
Please do watch this nuanced speech, from 11:05 it gets very real, very quickly.
Feminism truly sits well with my soul.
Women, be kind to other women. Stop selling yourself short. Let’s tell all of our stories. Compassion and empathy go a long, long way to changing this world. Honouring YOUR life can change this world.
The beautiful thing is that feminism is inclusive. Feminism advocates for the rights of women (cis and trans). Feminism advocates for the rights of people of the LGBTQIA community. Feminism advocates for the rights of children. The most radical part is that feminism has no rules. Feminism is choice – choice for women to live their lives as THEY ALONE wish. No judgement. Ever. Unconditional love and respect.
And what of men?
“The thing is, it’s patriarchy that says men are stupid and monolithic and unchanging and incapable. It’s patriarchy that says men have animalistic instincts and just can’t stop themselves from harassing and assaulting. It’s patriarchy that says men can only be attracted by certain qualities, can only have particular kinds of responses, can only experience the world in narrow ways. Feminism holds that men are capable of more – are more than that. Feminism says that men are better than that, can change, are capable of learning, and have the capacity to be decent and wonderful people“2
There are WONDERFUL humans in this world – male and female and the whole gender continuum alike.
You are vast and brilliant. BE THAT.
“Stop acting so small, you are the universe in ecstatic motion“3