What made me a feminist?

Life Why do I think the way I do?

This isn't the first time I've wondered this and since it's International Women's Day, I thought I'd attempt to trace through my memory to try and work out why I think the way I do about, well everything.

Have I always thought this way?

Quite honestly I don't know.

The only reason I'm asking is because there seem to be so many people who for some reason don't and I feel sorry for them and don't unlike them think they're entitled to have that opinion, not in 2015.

I do have some memories.

My first two best friends were girls, I think because their Mums were my Mum's best friends. I have photos of a birthday party at about the age of five, the three of us sitting around the birthday cake.

At primary school, I remember the story books and later on text books featuring the usual gender roles. Men went out to work. Mothers were housewives.

All my real friends were girls. I have vivid memories of sunny break times sitting in grass and making daisy chains when all the rest of the boys played football. I had friends who were boys but it wasn't same. I didn't like football.

That hasn't really changed. I find women much easier to talk to than men.  I still don't like football.

Except when I began secondary school, it was an all boys school and just as puberty hit, I lost the ability to talk to girls. I'd get nervous. Odd. All my friends were male for years.

Then girls arrived in the sixth form and they were utterly brilliant and thought so even though I couldn't speak to most of them.

There was also the moment at university at a hall formal, which was at a hotel, stuck on a toilet overhearing two blokes at the urinals outside referring to potential conquests as "the blonde one" and "the ginger" and wincing and wishing to god I'd never be anything like them.

I was also bullied a lot at school which has led to a dim view of any kind of oppression.  Gender, race, anything.

Is any of this really relevant? I don't know. Probably not.

But what I'm trying to say is that I can't remember the moment when I became a feminist or at least thought women should have the same rights as men. There's no one thing which made me "get it".

I've just always thought so and can't understand why anyone wouldn't.

Is this unusual? I don't know that either.

People just have the experiences they have I suppose. I was reading Woman Woman comics at an early age. Watched a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a teenager and I expect a lot of my liberalism can be traced back to that. Reading Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and Chaucer and being shocked at the treatment of women in those by societies of the past. Listening to a lot of female singer songwriters dealing with their experiences through lyrics. Tending to identify with female protagonists in films more than men.  Reading The Guardian's Woman pages.

See what I mean?  It's all a bit woolly.

If anything it's become even more focused this past few years, thanks to social media, reading feminist writing, watching my way through this and the general sense of injustice but knowing full well I'm not the right gender to really understand what it's like to live within a patriarchal society, or as I've taken to calling it "the fucking patriarchy".

I have no answer.  So I'll just be pleased that I can see it and hope that someday everyone will.

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