Something embarrassing happened to me just now that I need to address.
This post is inspired in part by a recent post by hessianwithteeth, who kept the topic of feminism alive in my mind while I clicked on a link Leiah from So, I read this book today posted which led to me to a blog I hadn’t seen before: Why? Because Science.
I read a very informative and entertaining article about ebola (I share the author’s morbid sense of humour (or maybe I just have a knee-jerk reaction, responding to horrible things with jokes because I am actually terrified)). Then I scrolled down to the comments as I usually do and found there was this girl replying to lots of them. She had a lot of interesting things to say, so I clicked on Thea to see what she blogged about and was surprised when the page loaded back to the home page of Why? Because Science.
It took about two seconds for the possibility to enter my mind that this science blog could be written by this woman. Still, though I was now suspecting, I did not entirely believe it. I clicked on the blog’s “Who are you?” page.
The first thing that came up was: “I’m Thea Beckham. And I’m a lady.”
Well, shit. I never thought this would happen to me. For all my talk of acceptance and appreciation of others, I had made a very poor assumption about an obviously well-educated person. I had assumed the scientist with a wry sense of humour was a man. Not only was I wrong, I was surprised in triplicate: she was a she, she was young, and she was pretty. And I was surprised about all of it.
My instinct was to blame my upbringing. Then, that I was working in a male-dominated environment. Then I realised I needed to buck up and face facts: I carry sexist stigmas with me. Not only did I believe this blogger to male, I certainly did not believe her to be young or pretty. I made assumptions about someone I had never met, purely from their words.
I need feminism because I still have a long way to go to stop assuming and presuming things about people I have never met. I need feminism because I shouldn’t expect a scientist to be anything other than a scientist. But most of all, I need feminism because I thought my own mind wasn’t influenced by sexism.
Each of us do not live in our own individual bubble. We are influenced by everything around us, even when we don’t want to be. I need feminism because I don’t want to be passing these unconscious stigmas on when I’m raising my own children. I need feminism because I want to be a teacher myself one day, and I want to be able to walk the walk that I’ve been talking all this time.
I need feminism because I don’t like being a hypocrite, but to change I need help from other people seeking to end gender inequality, expectations and gender-specific roles. I need feminism because I need you.