Monday, 9 March 2015

Growing Up A Girl

Yesterday, on International Women's day 2015, I read a brilliant article by my good friend Rachel over on Femtellectual about how she came about to being a feminist. It left me thinking about how my experience growing up had been very, very different - and yet we'd both ended up proud feminists. From the age of eleven, I went to a school that was near the top of the league tables, and it was solely for girls. This environment had it's positives and negatives, but the message drummed into us every day was simple - we could be whatever we wanted as long as we worked hard for it.

I spent my time in a naive sort of bubble, usually with girls that had been brought up around me in the same school - and so, I never really gave much thought to feminism, or what it meant to me. I could do anything! I could be anyone! Or so I thought at the time. Fast forward right through to sixth form - where suddenly I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life, and I started my first real job. Ah, the job; this was the first big wake up call for me in the real world. I finally got a job in good old McDonald's - and let's not beat around the bush, it was pretty rubbish - but this was the first time I really got to see any kind of discrimination in a workplace, no matter how subtle. In the whole time I was at McDonald's (a lot longer than I might have desired), I saw two girls total ever work in the kitchen. It just wasn't the done thing - both girls and boys did fries, tills and drive thru, but only really boys were ever trained up to work grillside (that's right, I know all the lingo). I saw this further in my second real job, wherein girls waited on and boys did coffee; I want it on the record I make a mean Cappuccino, so that was their mistake - but this is bizarre to me. What made me less suitable for those jobs? Was I less qualified to wrap cheeseburgers the right way? Were my hands too dainty to be able to correctly make coffee?

Form Picture

It's fair to say, real life came as a shock for me - and that's what made me a feminist. I'd grown up thinking I could do anything, only for the world to tell me that actually, I couldn't - and in many ways, even in the 21st century, I was a second class citizen. I believe that I should rightfully be entitled to the same rights as men, but also that men should be entitled to the same rights as women. Feminism is all about the right to choose, the right to be who and whatever you want without limitations that are almost entirely down to your gender - because the idea that I can be whatever I want to be with hard work should be the truth, it shouldn't be broken by a harsh reality because there are too many things that simply don't fit enough to make it true.

Girls shouldn't be losing their enthusiasm for certain subjects because we're told that they're not suitable for us, we are just as suited to all jobs as men - and I refuse to be told differently. We are lucky, as British women (I'm assuming from my readership stats that most of you are), to have the rights that we do - but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep fighting to take it further, until we gain complete equality.

Are you a feminist? What prompted you into it?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Growing Up A Girl 

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