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Everyone has a unique outlook and stance on feminism. In this video I’m not trying to tell you how to behave like a feminist, but I do think it’s important to recognise that being a feminist is more than just a label. After you’ve had your “feminist awakening” as some might call it, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here is my guide on how to be a real feminist.
Obviously the first step to being knowledgeable about feminist issues is educating yourself. There are so many resources out there to help you get started on your feminist education. When I first started out my main source of education was Tumblr. I followed and still follow to this day a number of blogs that would write about feminist issues. It was an excellent way of getting informed because through reading all these opinions and viewpoints on a range of different issues, I was able to form my own stance and my own unique feminist perspective.
Give yourself time.
Becoming a feminist doesn’t happen overnight. It truly takes time to get educated and to change your mindset from the (most likely) patriarchal mindset you were raised with. Be patient with yourself. You might get things wrong or you might be taught something that you think should have been obvious to you in the past. But as long as you’re trying and as long as you let yourself learn, then you’re on the right track.
Realise that we won’t all agree.
Feminists aren’t going to agree about everything and I know that’s a source of frustration for some people, but I myself don’t mind it. We all have different experiences and different reasons that we got into feminism which means that some things are going to be more of a priority to certain people than others. But as long as we agree on the fundamental things, I think it’s okay to have different outlooks. However, I will say it’s important to listen to feminists who might be worse off or less privileged than you are because you can learn so much from those who have experienced the world in a different way to you.
There are so many events out there relating to feminism and a lot of them are very cheap if not free. You learn so much at these events and it can just be really encouraging and inspiring to be around people with the same viewpoints as you. I feel so much love and positivity in the room at a feminist event and even though that may surprise people, it makes me feel really happy. Also there are always causes to get out there for. Research any protests or demonstrations that you’d like to join for a cause that you believe in and go.
It can be tough to discuss feminist issues and you definitely have to choose your crowd. But don’t be afraid to talk to your friends or family about your feminism. After all, it’s not a dirty word and most people are surprised to find out that they actually agree with you when you engage them in a feminist discussion.
Prepare to Hear Difficult Things.
You will hear things that will upset you. You’ll realise that you were wrong in the past or that you used to be quite cruel about something that you just didn’t realise. It’s not always easy to hear other people’s perspectives or to hear about things that you couldn’t accept in the past.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up.
After you hear about times when you may have been wrong or been a bit of an asshole, don’t waste time beating yourself up. We’re all constantly growing and learning in this world. We all make mistakes and we’re all confronted by our pasts in quite ugly ways. But as long as you realise your past mistakes and are now on the right track, you’re doing well.
Prepare to Lose People.
There are a lot of people who are outright anti-feminism and there are people in your life who will probably attack you for your opinions. It’s tough when people that you care about or respect take such issue with your beliefs and even though you can try and work around it, there’s a very real possibility that it will affect your relationships in some way. I wish this wasn’t the case and maybe it won’t be for you, but nevertheless, you should still be as prepared as you can.
Learn to Debate and Challenge.
Now that you’re educated and you have all these opinions, you should know that it’s okay to debate with people or challenge them in a respectful way. If you think that someone is uneducated or that they might benefit from hearing your opinion then you should of course give it. It goes without saying that certain people won’t be receptive to it, so you should also learn when you’re in an environment that’s toxic to debate, but as long as you believe in what you’re saying and you’re respecting other people’s stances, you have every right to exercise your freedom of speech.
Being a “real” feminist isn’t easy but I would urge you to try your best. After all, I’ve found the community of feminists to be some of the most amazingly accepting, inspiring people and I really really hope that others can find the same comfort that I do from the whole world of feminism.