Hi, my name is Kate and I am a feminist. I believe in the empowerment of women and the importance of women in the power systems around the world. By definition, that is: wanting equality, social, political and economic, for the sexes. But I also think feminism is a very individual experience and can mean different things to different people. Reading the stories of successful women, their hardships and inspirations has inspired me to write this article on: what feminism means to me!
Growing up, I don’t remember having many female role models that I looked up to. Like many other young girls my age, I naturally looked up to the Disney princesses. Not sure if that was because of their womanly power or the beauty and magical nature of the films. My favourite was, and still is, Ariel. She was rebellious and followed her dream of living on land (even though this dream was fueled by her love for Eric). Disney have kept pace with modern views in the last few years and created more empowered female characters, but Ariel will always hold a special place in my heart! By primary school, I was mainly inspired by women in sport. I admired their dedication and persistence to get to the professional level they were at. Because of this, at my Grade Seven graduation, I wrote on my power point slide that I wanted to be an Olympic Athlete. While this didn’t eventuate, it was critical to shaping my view of empowerment.
A TV show I watched constantly as an early teenager was Bewitched. I remember I wanted to be just like Samantha, have a family and a husband and children and stay at home and take care of them because that’s what I thought was normal. What I didn’t know was that was the norm for the 1960s and 1970s when it was aired (watching it now as an adult honestly makes me cringe!) I do however acknowledge the power (witchy and non-witchy) that Samantha had and her ability to stand up for herself when needed. While I still have the goals of having the nuclear family one day, like Rihanna always says, “I’ve got things to do first.”
High school was when the idea of feminism was first introduced to me. I regarded myself as a feminist in the way I wanted equal pay when I entered the work force. Looking back, this is a very one-dimensional view on feminism! I still believe in this but I feel like my view on feminism has become more complex. I had to find my own way into the world of feminism and discover my own strength as a woman. This gave me the freedom to discover different women and educate myself on different Her-stories.
When starting my university education, I was so grateful for the opportunity to be able to go in the first place. Picking topics for assignments, I naturally gravitated towards subjects related to women’s studies and female writers because it was something I was genuinely interested in and what I was passionate about. I am very much one of those people who believes “knowledge is power”, and the more I learn about the women who came before me, the women who fought for me to have an education, the female writers who dealt with discrimination for me to have the opportunity to become a writer, the more I gain.
Since graduating, turning twenty-one and being classed as a “real” adult now, I want to continue to learn and educate myself on the world. In continuing my earn for knowledge, learning and reading, I am molding myself into the woman I want to become. Growing up in the Fourth wave of feminism, which is fueled by social media, has given girls the platform to let their voices be heard by millions of people. The more I deep dive into social media, I find more and more inspiration women running their own businesses or just posting empowering content. In a world where social media can be a competition of “my life is better than your life,” finding those accounts that actually make you feel good about scrolling through Instagram is so important. Going through these accounts was actually how I found The Daily Pretty. I loved the refreshing and motivational content from women within different industries!
While I still don’t have a definite list of who my female role models are, I know for sure I am inspired by the women who aren’t afraid to show who they are and work for what they are passionate about. A woman who is unapologetically herself and works to achieve her dreams, is the kind of woman I am building myself to be. This is why I’m working towards being a writer. I’ve never been one of those people who have known what they’ve wanted to do with their life since they were little. Clearly, considering I wanted to be an Olympic Athlete when I was twelve! But becoming a writer has always been in the back of my mind (I just didn’t know how to achieve it).
I have a creative, arty and “always in a day-dream” kind of mind. But, when it came to traditional forms of art like painting and drawing, it frustrated me and I could never fully achieve my vision. During school, I always enjoyed and excelled in the creative writing assignments. By Grade Twelve, I told my career counsellor that I wanted to do creative writing at uni. I was told that I didn’t have good enough grades to succeed in a degree like that and to pick something else. I didn’t. I knew I loved writing and wanted to explore my potential. Choosing my majors of Literature and History meant a lot of essay writing. And I mean A LOT. Through years of academic writing, PEEL paragraphs, hours of research and learning how to reference (don’t even start me on Chicago referencing!), I found my true passion in writing. It filled my creative soul with so much joy. Through writing, I am able to express my creativity and let my voice be heard. I was told by a lot of people that it would be a long and difficult road to be successful as a writer and, so far, they’ve been right. But I love writing. I love creating. I love learning. And I am ready and willing to work for my goal.
This kind of liberation, passion and dedication is what I believe is at the heart of feminism. These attributes are what drove the women of the early 20th century to fight for voting rights and they are the attributes that have been passed down to the women of today. Discovering your identity, your own version of feminism and how you can apply that to your life is empowering. I feel so grateful to have developed this at such a young age and to have the opportunity to bring this with me into my adulthood. I still have plenty of room to grow and change, but this is what I am looking forward to the most.
I’m looking forward to what the future holds, not only for me, but for all women.
About TDP’s guest contributor….
Kate has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Literature and History, which sparked her love for writing! She enjoys focusing on topics that many people, on different levels can relate to – lifestyle, beauty, relationships and mental health. Kate wants to show a different perspective on some of the issues women deal with on a daily basis. Her dream is to become a professional writer and maybe even write a novel or a movie one day!
Stay tuned for more awesome reads from Kate on TDP across topics relevant to modern women!