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It's a little bit late for International Women's Day, but it slipped my mind that I'd planned to replace this post then. But I guess it's always International Women's Day at Ovarit!

We've all got a Peak Trans story, but this thread is more of a 'Peak Patriarchy' - a place to share your journey into feminism.

I'm particularly interested in answers to questions like:

  • What drew you towards feminism?
  • What have been your experiences the feminist movement?
  • How did you first encounter feminist thought? Books or blogs, youtubers or conversatisions with feminst friends?
  • Has your feminism changed over your life? For instance, were you a liberal feminist who radicalised?
  • What changes has becoming a feminist made to your life, your perspectives, your activism, your relationships, etc?
  • What are your priorities as a feminist?

(This is not a questionnaire or a test - these are just prompts to get you thinking.)

Looking forward to reading everyone's responses!

Earlier threads: [1], [2]

It's a little bit late for International Women's Day, but it slipped my mind that I'd planned to replace this post then. But I guess it's always International Women's Day at Ovarit! We've all got a [Peak Trans](https://www.ovarit.com/o/GenderCritical/13499/peak-trans-reprise-iii-tell-your-story-here) story, but this thread is more of a 'Peak Patriarchy' - a place to share your journey into feminism. I'm particularly interested in answers to questions like: - What drew you towards feminism? - What have been your experiences the feminist movement? - How did you first encounter feminist thought? Books or blogs, youtubers or conversatisions with feminst friends? - Has your feminism changed over your life? For instance, were you a liberal feminist who radicalised? - What changes has becoming a feminist made to your life, your perspectives, your activism, your relationships, etc? - What are your priorities as a feminist? (This is not a questionnaire or a test - these are just prompts to get you thinking.) Looking forward to reading everyone's responses! Earlier threads: [[1](https://www.ovarit.com/o/WomensLiberation/2493/how-did-you-become-a-feminist-tell-your-story)], [[2](https://www.ovarit.com/o/WomensLiberation/10146/how-did-you-become-a-feminist-tell-your-story-part-2)]

42 comments

Two things. One: when I was 14, I slept over at my friend’s house. She had a really cool mom who was also a lesbian. I remember I needed something to sleep in and her mom loaned me this t-shirt with a bunch of text on it. I remember I laid the shirt out on the floor and sat there reading it. I have since tried to find the text online but I cant. It was basically a huge long list of all the double standards and prejudices women face. At the end it said “it is for these reasons I am part of the women’s liberation movement.” The examples given were things like “When a man is bossy, he is strong, when a woman is, she is a bitch.” Etc. But they were all incredible points I had never really thought about at that age, and reading them hit me like a punch of wild truth to the gut. It blew my mind. And I copied the whole thing out into my notebook and I recall from that point on just being so much more aware of the ways in which sexism affected my life. Like, oh wait, when the guys at school stand in the hall and comment on the shape of our bodies as we walk by just trying to go to class, or give us number ratings out of 10 for our “hotness,” that isn’t just a generally shitty thing that happens. It is a SEXIST thing.

Oh, and then the next year I got the internet and was introduced to porn. And it didnt escape my notice that 98% of it featured men degrading women. And I felt like that shattered me and made me realize how so many men will never truly regard us as equal unless we keep on fighting to prove that we are.

I was raised by a single father with a distant mother. My whole life, I've been compared to my younger brother and infantilized because of my gender. I was lesser because of my divergent interests and strengths. I was told that I "can't do that." My own mother blamed my period for everything and expoused misogyny. For a long time, I wanted desperately to be a boy or at least not a woman.

I was exposed to MGTOW rhetoric in my late teens and was never the same. How could men think this way? How could they say such hateful things? I spent a lot of time in online spaces dominated by men and saw the sheer ignorance they had about women's rights. The way they talked about women was disgusting and all the other women in those spaces just let it happen.

In college, I encountered my first TiM. He was lauded for putting on woman-face, for parading around in horrible makeup and high heels, for infiltrating women's spaces...

Actually it was just because I really liked reading science fiction when I was a pre-teen and all the good female sci-fi authors feed a lot of feminist type sentiments into their novels or just present enough interesting, well rounded female characters that when you read some of the male authors that are considered to be good the contrast is glaring. At that point you realize that men just don't view woman as categorically the human the way they see other men and you start questioning the implications of that world view.

It's hard to say exactly when I "became" a feminist, but there have been a number of experiences that definitely shaped my views on it. Lot of women in my family have pushed hard against society's limitations on what women are allowed to do, going back generations. Some openly identified themselves as feminists, others just...rebelled, one way or another.

I grew up taking so many recently won rights for granted. I'd read some of the 2nd wave essays and such and it just sounded like they were mostly fighting battles we'd won by then (not in hindsight). But 3rd wave was just so stupid. It was like having women's battle for self-determination and agency in the world reduced down to a bunch of Cosmo articles. How did manspreading become such a highly profile issue in a world where sex trafficking is still rampant? Why was how empowered some 21-year-old felt wearing high heels a regular feature, and not a word on what we can do to reduce the unequal burden of child care on women? Why did all of the answers being provided have the feeling of a sales pitch and the branding of a trendy accessory, and why did they all seem to lead to my friends and I feeling more uncomfortable, demeaned, pressured, disempowered, devalued, miserable? Thought "feminism" had lost the plot, wrote some social media things criticizing the direction it was taking, didn't know where the real feminists had gone and kind of drifted away from it.

Had a few real world experiences in a short window of time that shaped my thoughts on it a lot (including a couple that some Ovarit threads today reminded me of). Learned that men who call themselves feminists and can spend hours pontificating on the importance and nuances of consent can't actually be trusted to back women even in the face of no-ambiguity-whatsoever horrific male violence against us. Had a man who thought it was funny trick a friend and I into coming face to face with a battered and prostituted woman who was absolutely terrified (I can still see her face when morons babble about "SWIW!"). Learned that being female means being vulnerable to men even in your own car, in broad daylight with people around, and how quickly that can escalate. Had neighbors who belonged to a misogynistic cult.

Found feminism again when I found enough strength to actively question the trans nonsense; it went hand in hand. And here you all were.

About, roughly, 10 years ago when I was on my early 20s, I was an ally. But more than that, I was pro-pornography, pro-prostitution, pro-TWAW, etc. Then things started to get a little too much. At some point I was so sick of all the Left™ stuff that I ended up finding myself on redpill groups, MGTOW groups and got close to incel and blackpill crap too. The "funny" thing is that I'm a biological woman (I hate having to use "identifiers" such as "biological" to explain what a woman is, but that's how things are now...), and still I would go to great lengths to try to convince myself that men are the real victims, that feminism is bullshit, that things are fucked up because women and feminism are destroying families and society, etc.

After a year inside that dystopian nightmare, I finally distanced myself from all that and became a "political homeless" and that felt good. I just thought "yeah, I don't care about anything anymore, fuck everyone", and I remained with that mindset until a couple of years ago (before the pandemics) when I saw the result of pushing these ideas out there. I can't pinpoint when or what exactly made me change my mind, but it was a combination of events. More specifically the amount of misogyny from both sides (left and right). One example: when I still had a twitter account, I came across a tweet talking about a TIM who had won a Miss Universe (or country) contest. One of the replies was from a man saying "men are better than women at everything, even at being women". The tone wasn't to mock the TIM, it was to belittle women. After that, there was all the shit show of women losing awards, spaces, recognition and voices because men decided that they were women too and even more oppressed.

Slowly, very slowly (considering it took me almost 10 years) I started changing my mind on many subjects (especially porn and prostitution), but the only group that would agree with me on those was the conservatives (= right) and I just disagreed with them too much to become one of them. Actually, by that time, I was already hating both the left and the right equally. I couldn't believe I was the only human who had this world view, so I googled some ideas and eventually found out about radical feminism and realized that is exactly what I think politically now.

But considering this happened recently, I'm still learning, especially about art. I know I will never change the world and save all women, but I would like to educate myself and make conscious choices when consuming entertainment and other things. I would like to support people who are trying to change both of these dehumanizing views of what women are and how they should behave (I'm also trying to do that in my own stories).

After stuffing myself with redpill crap, I got a fairly good bullshit alarm for the most extreme stuff, but the subtle ones still get me. Sometimes I found myself thinking "is this some weird shit disguised of progressiveness? Am I gonna suddenly be slapped in the face with a 'TWAW' or a 'FUCK OFF, TERF!'?"

I don't want to be paranoid, I just want to develop a better instinct. I have evaluated the media I consume and like and haven't found anything jarring. Of course, sometimes, on unrelated topics (like games, computers and technology) I get some lefty stuff like pronouns, but nothing beyond that (so far). I also wouldn't like to abandon those channels and projects just because they put some pronouns out there, but I'm starting to live with the fear that they will just completely go full TRA and say that people like me should be killed, raped or attempt suicide.

All that being said, how do you navigate the world after going radfem? (This is not a sad question, just trying to learn)

PS.: Sorry if this reads a little odd, English is not my first language.

[–] KollontaiPankhurst SocFem 3 points Edited

What drew you towards feminism?

In short, a lifetime of experience as a woman.

Longer version: I didn't really notice sexism as a little kid, but as soon as I hit puberty, the reality hit me. Catcalls form truckers and construction workers. Boys in school sending sexually explicit messages asking for things (why oh why did I have everyone I knew on facebook?!). My first college bf had a porn collection and didn't understand my problem with it. All of this and more eventually coalesced into my realization: something was fundamentally wrong, and feminism seemed to give me the answer I was looking for ever since puberty hit.

What have been your experiences in the feminist movement?

I find a lot of women I talk to, when I start getting into socialist feminism, become very very excited. I think a lot of women are initially attracted to liberal feminism, but find it a bit void of answers. I usually end up giving out book recommendations, and my hope is they follow suit!

How did you first encounter feminist thought? Books or blogs, youtubers or conversatisions with feminst friends?

Initially, tumblr to be honest. I was a young college activist, and I just straight up went into the feminist tag. It initially seemed I had two options: Liberal feminism or radical feminism. As I branched out into wikipedia, and then books, podcasts, etc. I found way more approaches historically and contemporarily.

Has your feminism changed over your life? For instance, were you a liberal feminist who radicalised?

I was initially kind of on the fence between liberal and radical. I liked some of liberal feminism's goals of putting women in positions of power and changing laws for equality. They had the basic groundwork it seemed. But they were too pro sex industry - and the sex industry was the last straw that drove me to feminism in the first place - so radical feminism, which was blatantly against the sex industry and pro Nordic model, attracted me more. Then I became a radical feminist, and over time, I became a socialist feminist as I began to include a marxist lens. Now I include multiple perspectives, postcolonial feminism and ecofeminism included, but I generally consider myself a socialist feminist first and foremost.

What changes has becoming a feminist made to your life, your perspectives, your activism, your relationships, etc?

being a feminist has led me to question everything, and probably helped hurdle me towards socialism to be honest, as I began to question authority, hierarchy, everything that I was supposed to just accept. It's also made me prioritize women in my life, and never compromise on this matter.

What are your priorities as a feminist?

Liberation of global women from the global economic dependence on men

Abolishing fast fashion, which primarily employs women in the third world under shitty conditions to enrich primarily male shareholders

Abolishing capitalism and the profit motive which keeps workers in poverty and exploits the earth causing climate change

Ensuring that health care and pension is separate from jobs, and universal basic income or other safety nets exist, in particular to enable women to actually choose whether they want to work and put their child in day-care (which needs to be widely available), or spend time with their child (this is a particular concern for me in reference to indigenous and linguistic minority women, who may not share the dominant culture, as economic factors forcing her into poverty to preserve culture or go back to work and potentially have the child be assimilated as very much an issue to me).

Changing the societal attitudes to view prostitution, pornography, and stripping to be misogynistic economic exploitation, including implementing the Nordic model. Honestly, I appreciate Iceland's efforts in this regard, and wish more countries would implement it.

What drew you towards feminism?

I've always been drawn to the idea of making the world a better place, and while looking into why the world is the way it is, and listening to those suffering the most I became aware of just how poorly women are treated on the whole.

How did you first encounter feminist thought?

TED Talks were what got me going. I went through a phase of listening obsessively to TED Talks all day while I had time alone at home, and when I found the lists of talks by women I hopped right on there and what I found broke my heart. Women advocating for victims of FGM, women escaping child marriage then going back to save girls from that fate, and many more. I would watch and listen and just cry and cry.

Has your feminism changed over your life? For instance, were you a liberal feminist who radicalised?

I was radical before I knew what radical was. I never for one second bought into liberal feminism or what I like to call "pop feminism". It astounded me that websites that we're supposedly pro-woman would post articles about BDSM or anal sex. I just didn't believe that those things were good for women. I have gotten angrier and angrier the more I have learned, but now I am at an emotional plateau finally.

What changes has becoming a feminist made to your life, your perspectives, your activism, your relationships, etc?

Since finding radical feminism and having a feminist awakening as a result (mixed with an emotional breakdown around the first covid lockdown) my relationship with my husband has strangely improved. I was able to identify the places I was holding myself back and the behaviours I was falling into in my relationship that were bad for me. I reevaluated where I had landed, and was able to settle into my decisions more strongly. I was lucky that I had picked a good partner to begin with, and that my success and happiness has always been important to him. The other thing is that I have started to pay more attention to the women who are in my life and build those friendships up, as well as make a point to be more friendly to other women in general. I don't stand by anymore when women are being talked about badly behind their backs, I stand up for them.

What are your priorities as a feminist?

  1. Build community with other women
  2. Rise into power together
  3. Make the world a better place

I go into detail on here quite often about my goals, but this sums it up nicely. 😁

What drew you towards feminism?

I was raised catholic, my mother was very conservative and her views on women bothered me from an early age. She had quiverfull cult books on her shelf as well as anti-choice books that painted Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood as evil incarnate. She would listen to Dr. Laura Schlessinger on the way to school, and despite that being terrible I also felt no representation in the opposite - the Howard Stern Show. Both these things made me feel uncomfortable.

As I grew I became an accomplished female student athlete. My mother would rail against me being immodest in class when I would be able to wear the same clothes while competing. I noticed how boys and men were often incompetant then wondered why I as a girl was supposed to submit myself to them because god said so. I think the final straw really for me was the right to abortion. I very early on understood that it could not be murder, despite arguing with my mother about it many times. Its self defense!! Murder is not possible when your life is in danger! So I guess the final straw for me leaving the catholic church at 16, and becoming feminist, was the right to aboriton.

What have been your experiences the feminist movement?

Our Bodies, Ourselves was a lifesaver for me, however by the time I was in high school feminism had fully gone to the side of "empowered sluts" which I felt no connection to whatsoever. I have not really had much experience with feminist movements that really serve me its like they were all underground by the time I graduated college.

How did you first encounter feminist thought? Books or blogs, youtubers or conversatisions with feminst friends?

Actually my first encounter with feminist thought was my best friend in junior high. She planted all the seeds of questioning my indotrination, and the rights of women, and she gave me the period talk I never got from my own mother.

Has your feminism changed over your life? For instance, were you a liberal feminist who radicalised?

Yes I was a liberal-ish feminist who radicalized. But truth be told it was always underneath. I had a fundamental discomfort with the "empowered porn star" narrative of feminism from the 90s especially all the explicit music that dehumanized and scandalized women and women's bodie. Woodstock 99 was a major shock to me as I thought for sure it could have been me (one of the hundreds of girls assaulted and raped), and nobody in the media really bothered to address at all the way it harms girls. The Monica Lewinsky thing also deeply hurt me (it happened to me in junior high), again I knew deep down she didn't deserve the hate she got, yet I couldn't articulate to anyone what that was until I later learned outside of school what patriarchal rape culture means. Same with Brittany Spears. Why did she get so much vile hate? She was talented, beautiful and kind.

I graduated school right at the beginning of a major teenage self-harm/anorexia era which continues to this day. Deep down I knew it was all wrong. Especially as an athlete, who had every reason to love her own body.

I have only become more aware of how horrible it all is. Part of me kind of thought that sex work could be liberating, but since I've done it myself now, I know for a fact it isn't. Next, ofc, the whole TWAW thing was something that I honestly sympathized with but never fully believed and didn't think they expected you to fully believe. The level that they take it has only made me absolutely disgusted with how much men hate women.

What changes has becoming a feminist made to your life, your perspectives, your activism, your relationships, etc?

I was always a feminist from an early age. My own mother disowned me because of me leaving her belief system. I have not made friends, lets just say, because I have my views. I am daily shocked at how much our society caters to men and their fragile masculinity. Even other women do it!!

What are your priorities as a feminist?

Good question. I have to think on it. There's so many issues. Education would be my main priority. We have to prepare our younger generations to stand up for themselves and know what truth is.

I have always been more rad leaning. I am not sure if I agree with radfems on everything

I think being somewhat feminist as a lesbian is inevitable. Reading more stuff on patriarchy from a friend also helped immensely

[–] Livia_Drusila 6 points Edited

I never thought of myself as "a girl" or "a woman", I was always just ME, a very complex being, everything I ever had to perceive and interpret the world, my conscience... You know, there are not even words to describe what "being oneself" means, because you were never anything else. But it was definitely not related to any concept of "masculine" or "feminine". I thought it was perfectly normal to want to read novels or see maps or make experiments in the kitchen instead of playing with dolls, because why not? The concept of "girlish" or "boyish" didn't exist in my world.

That changed when I realized that I lived in a world where "the boys" and "the men" were a distinct category that was placed directly above mine, which was called "girls" and later "women". There were also a set of behaviors and hobbies ascribed to each category. This is when I came to understand that my father's violence didn't exist in a vacuum, and that the lack of consequences for his near-homicidal treatment of my mother was directly related to this power dynamic.

I took a long time to discover feminism because liberal feminism is all I knew, and I thought it was shallow and empty. What the hell do I care about empowering myself through sex work? I thought. Not that I didn't have my flirtations with it: female socialization did do its number on me, and I found myself in all sorts of disgusting situations where I degraded and lowered myself. I "had sex" (more like laid down while men masturbated inside me) with people who I thought saw me as a human being, but they just saw me as a fleshlight. A girl.

I never thought much of the trans thing, but this year I read an article somewhere that talked smack about GC and Ovarit and I discovered the whole radical feminism world, of which I was only vaguely aware before. I started thinking about the trans subject deeply for the first time, and I realized that it was absolutely nonsensical.

The feminist movement here in Argentina is mostly libfem. Supposedly anti-imperialist people chew this propaganda which comes directly from US universities, and roughly came from French philosophy beforehand. Y'know, two of the most powerful countries in the history of the world. But they have no coherence. They say that the Europeans created the categories of "male" and "female", and stuff like that, in the name of the indigenous peoples. You talk about sex trafficking and they call you whorephobic. That sort of thing. Not surprisingly, I don't have feminist friends in real life, and not online either because of the whole fear of doxxing. That's how powerful real feminism is; we're afraid to "come out" as real feminists!

To be honest, I really don't give a damn about what "being a woman" intrinsecally means, if it does mean anything. I am this person, this brain, this baggage of feelings and experience. That is all. I don't think human beings experience "being a gender" in a more significant way that they experience "having two legs". How is that meaningful? I only know that it feels strange and upsetting to be considered subhuman by the other half of the species just because "I am a woman", and I hate it. I read mysoginistic stuff online and it makes my blood boil. It's the same with any other kind of hate for characteristics that you can't control and that don't define you. Other than that, I don't really care about "being feminine" or whatever - I just am a woman, biologically speaking, which is as important to me as my blood type, and it's not something I really think about. Outsiders, however, do think about that when they see me and act accordingly. That is why radical feminism is so important.

If I was a dumb person, I'd have the exact same thoughts and consider myself non-binary. However, I recognize the trick. I acknowledge that, except for these sick transtrenders, nobody "feels" gender. I understand that gender is a social construct, just like race, that still hinders my experience of life. I know that my sex does affect me and I know that my womb has a prize tag.

Due to lockdown I'm not really engaging in any activism outdoors. I just post here as much as possible and keep educating myself through readings of Andrea Dworkin, Sheila Jeffreys, Mary Wollstonecraft... (By the way, I was always an Anglophile and I taught myself English, so it's extra lovely to know that you're referred to as "TERF Island"!)

My priority is to keep learning and to eventually meet rad fems in real life. I'm also a law student and it would be ideal to engage in work that benefits women worldwide. That's really my main goal in life.

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