Hello, everyone! This is the last time I’m writing to you this year — so final!– But I will be back again next year to dole out more advice on feminism, sexism and every other kind of “ism.” But, this column is going to be slightly different than my usual Q&A. Since we’re at the end of the year, I thought of seven feminist resolutions we can all make to make 2017 a more aware year. And god knows we could do with one after the one we’ve just had. Let’s begin.
So important that I’m putting it first. Let this be the year we’re able to make space on the bench for everyone—from our trans sisters to people of all castes, religions and classes. It’s not feminism if you’re leaving some women out of your fight, so make sure you check your privilege and make up for it by holding out a helping hand to people who need it more than you do.
Feminism means equal rights, equal rights means choices. Everyone gets to pick their own roads to walk down and nope, you don’t get a say in that, not even if you gave birth to them. Don’t be a mean girl.
It’s sometimes even worse to fail by your own standards than someone else’s. Go easy on yourself, ladies. So you’re not exactly where you want to be right now. You acknowledge the problem, you fix it if you can, and if you can’t, let it go and be your best self anyway.
Every now and then, take a look at your friend/partner/spouse/brother/uncle/dad and ask yourself, “Is this person, even though I love them dearly, helping me be the best version of myself that I can be? Or is he holding me back?” More often than not, men don’t tend to notice when they’re playing into patriarchy, so it’s your job as a woman who loves them to point it out. I only say “it’s your job” because sure, you can totally wait for them to change organically, without any inputs from you, but this way you get to have a conversation about it, and it will, without a doubt, change your relationship with this man for the better. Promise.
Own it! It’s not a scary term, it’s just had some bad press from men’s rights types who are deeply afraid that if women discover they’re strong individuals too, the world will go to hell in a handbasket. Stride and scream all you like, you only get one life, and that life is not one you should spend going, “I’m not a feminist, but.”
Fun activity, open your mail client and do a search for the word “sorry”. How many times have you used it? How many times have your female friends used it? And your male friends? Women tend to apologise more, and this means your words come off as weaker. Be more assertive this year and your life will be much improved!
So your job is perfect and your professional life is kinda kick ass. Now it’s time to return the favour. Don’t be the only woman in the boardroom, when you’re in a position to hire, make sure your workspace is diverse; when you’re in a position to mentor, make sure you’re helping out younger women who may not get the same leg up in other circumstances. Make room at the top, it’s a dangerous myth we all buy into that there’s only so much room, but there’s loads of room, you just have to move up a little.
And that’s it from me. Hope you have a super beginning to a brand new shiny year, filled with so many options.
Aunty Feminist loves to hear from her readers! If you’d like her to answer a burning question you might have, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet your questions to @reddymadhavan.