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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)]

29 comments

[–] CatMage 1 points (+1|-0)

Growing up, I did not have any strong female role models. I was raised in a very traditional environment. My father likes to brag about how modern/progressive he is when in reality he does not allow my mom to make any major decisions and regularly ridicule her as stupid (even though she worked full-time and contributed to half the household expenses) while giving outsiders the impression of him as a mild-manner hen-pecked husband. My older brother had a violent temper and I was absolutely terrified of him but my parents looked the other way for his behavior because Only Male Child. My mother constantly berated me for not being feminine enough (not smiling enough, not being cheerful, being "selfish"/need to think about others first, being too "uppity, being too cold/unemotional, etc etc etc) while my brother got complete freedom to live his life as he wanted.

In college I ended up in a relationship with a very abusive man who constantly used gaslighting to get his way but coming from my sheltered background I had no idea that was a thing (they teach you about physical abuse in school but verbal/psychological is rarely mentioned). I put up with it for too many years because I was socialized to believe that I needed to be in a relationship, I shouldn't be so picky/have standards and that I needed to compromise for a successful relationship (when in reality I was doing all the compromising...). After that dumpsterfire of a relationship finally ended I took a really good look at the past events to fully understand how toxic the whole thing was and how easily it was to be victimized by a male who claimed to be marginalized/mistreated by society. (people who grew up in abusive households tend to normalize that behavior so they don't notice it in their later relationships)

My first exposure to feminist concepts was the book Failing At Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls (Myra and David Sadker). It was quite an eyeopener and I think anyone going into the field of education should read it to ensure they are treating their students equally.

I don't have any major world-changing goals as a feminist. I primarily try to give my support to family and friends, especially those that seek advice and encourage them to seek happiness and not feel obligated to stay in unhappy/unhealthy relationships because of societal expectations of women. We are not required to start relationships with men just because they approached us. We do not have to start a family when the dating pool is so infested with trash. We do not owe men anything.

The older I get the more aware/intolerant I am of male entitlement that infects our society.

[–] Vanya 0 points (+0|-0) Edited

I was raised in a very conservative environment and while I was never super girly those roles were forced on me from a young age. I started encountering mainstream feminism in high school, but I was never deep into liberal feminism. I started noticing a change in the kind of feminist content that I was engaging with when I was about 18, which is when I started seeing more radical content as opposed to "choice feminism". Most of my exposure to feminism has been through social media, but I try to read feminist theory in my free time and I plan on participating in more feminist groups like possibly starting a feminist book club when I graduate college and attending women's festivals and female-only events.

I never really wore makeup or styled my hair outside of braids or a bit of lipstick, but now I own no makeup and keep my hair pretty short (I'm actually thinking of shaving my head this summer but I'm scared of backlash). I wear comfortable clothes including no heels and usually no bras. I want to center women in my life more but the pandemic makes it hard to make connections, which is part of why I'm going to try and be more active on here and I want to join some in-person groups once covid restrictions are lifted.

I'm in STEM and my dream is to work in an all-female lab, although I'm not sure how realistic that is. I'd love to connect with more women in STEM since my classes are primarily mixed and I don't have as many female role models as I used to have.

edit: I never really questioned the patriarchy when I was a kid but I always had a knot in my stomach when grown men would hit on me as a child or I felt self-conscious about my looks. Beauty standards and other gender roles always seemed unattainable but I felt like it was my fault and not a systemic thing.

[–] RadfemBlack 1 points (+1|-0)

I mentioned this under a post lambasting a handmaiden-ass TRA take by Jessica Valenti; her. When I was 12 years old at Barnes & Noble I saw her book, got curious, and got it. I went over the major events in a video I made about my journey lol.

[–] Emmafaber 7 points (+7|-0)

I was born one and my thoughts were all confirmed on the realisation

whenever males form gangs, drug gangs, mafia style gangs, military even,

they automatically turn all there attention towards females and look to exploit them sexually and force them into prostitution.

Men are the real gold diggers, especially when they become pimps and what women are to such men, are a push over, an easy source of revenue for them..

and this is the big thing about males.. whenever they join forces in the name of their manhood they will automatically in a pattern of male behaviour that never alters turn all there focus onto women and girls and hunt them down to rape and torture them and for a fee, provide the rest of their male population an outlet for all their pent up male frustrations by allowing them to abuse their female captives to.

We don't asses men individually we assess them as a group for good reason because our very lives depend on it

[–] [Deleted] 0 points (+0|-0) Edited

We don't asses men individually we assess them as a group for good reason because our very lives depend on it

fact

[–] Alarming-Midnight 5 points (+5|-0) Edited

I've called myself a feminist for as long as I can remember--having an incredibly backwards thinking patriarchal father will do that for you in a jiffy. I was always told what is and isn't proper for me to do as a girl. (I'd get scolded for whistling 'cause only rowdy boys did that.)

In my pre-teen to teenage years my thinking was probably closer to what is considered liberal feminism. My parents wouldn't let me shave my legs to avoid getting bullied in school, wear swimsuits and go swimming with friends, wear tank tops or shorts, etc. I associated feminism with having the right to do these things that I wanted to. But I wasn't really knowledgeable about feminist teachings or social movements. I knew vaguely of the suffragette movement and women's rights--whatever they teach you in school. I associated feminism with becoming equal to men and proving that women and men aren't different.

My Catholic upbringing and education combined with my liberal-leaning community influenced my stance on birth control, abortion, pornography, and prostitution. All those things were not okay for me personally (Catholic part) but if others wanted to use or do those things that's okay since it didn't hurt anyone, or so I believed (liberal part).

By mid to late high school my views were definitely no longer aligned with liberal feminism. My father had just abandoned my family without warning. My mother uplifted our family singlehandedly by returning to the work force (after being a SAHM for almost 20 years) and supporting me and my sister. It seemed like a freak incident but it introduced us to a community of women who all experienced the same thing. Learning how common it was for men to abandon their families and for the separated women to be 'othered' by their old community definitively shattered any illusion I had remaining that men and women are basically the same or that feminism is simply about the equality of the sexes.

A year after college my 2 year serious relationship ended horribly. After the breakup I decided to try dating again. I had never used apps for dating so I began to read a lot of dating advice and stumbled across The Female Dating Strategy subreddit. I learned so much about the current state of dating that I had no idea was going on. For example, I truly thought porn was something only a small percentage of the population used and that it was basically like erotic novels on screen. I had no idea how violent and misogynistic the content is. I also had no idea that women were shamed for not wanting their SO to consume porn. I had no idea just how prevalent hook-up culture was. I didn't know about abuse disguised as PUA strategies. I had no idea that prostitution was being marketed as "empowering sex work" to 18 year olds.

In that same subreddit, someone mentioned Ovarit. I lurked on here for about a month and slowly discovered that a lot of what felt like common sense feminism to me had a name for it: radical feminism. Feminism that's unapologetically for women.

Now I'm trying to be more intentional and academic with regards to feminism. I'm trying to read works by Andrea Dworkin and expand my knowledge. I wouldn't call myself a radical feminist since I'm far too uninformed on the exact tenets of radical feminism or what any of the 1st wave, 2nd wave, etc movements of feminism mean. But I'm grateful for the insightful posts on this forum and looking forward to learning more. I'm also hoping to apply that knowledge to my activism and truly uplift women.

edit: fixed a horrible typo

[–] [Deleted] 1 points (+1|-0)

abuse disguised as PUA strategies.

what do you mean?

don't really have a ton of specifics but I read about it on FDS. negging, being hot and cold with affection to promote unhealthy bonding come to mind

[–] [Deleted] 0 points (+0|-0) Edited

hm, you mean being nasty? just sounds like abuse to me lol. i've always thought pick up artists were abusive and slimey and always run away from them when they start their shit. their stupid manuals in bookstores, i've skimmed them, they've always confirmed my suspicions that "seduction" is stealing. this is why i cross the street 9/10 when a man is coming my way, or completely rubber-neck the architecture at the building across the street, lifting my nose in the air where it belongs.

Thank you so much for your story. So glad that Ovarit resonated with you. Hope you enjoy Dworkin too - I think you probably will!

[–] lofepi7048 6 points (+6|-0) Edited

I was born in the Philippines but sent to live with my retired grandparents in the US for education. My grandparents were extremely protective and didn't let me have much of a social life, so I spent a lot of time online and reading books.

Philippines is a traditional conservative culture that is patriarchal on the surface, but actually a bit matriarchal underneath. It's difficult to frame in western concepts. Typically the husband is the income earner, but the wife makes all the financial decisions, even in matters of family business, if that makes sense? For example it is expected that a husband will give his income to the wife, and then ask for an allowance for his hobbies.

Anyway in HS I was very much into IRC and online forums, and before torrenting or even Napster, people would share mp3s in IRC channels. This led me to discovering a lot of riot grrl bands and other music that just wasn't available in Philippines, so I guess my introduction to feminism as a concept was stuff like Bikini Kill, and then I started reading Simone de Beauvoir, Angela Davis, bell hooks, and also Filipina writers like Benilda Santos, Rosa Henson, Rosario Torres-Yu, and others. The Philippines has always kind of prided itself on our literature because it was one of our main tools against Spanish and American colonialization in the 1800s / 1900s.

It's difficult to frame my feminism in western concepts because politically speaking, I lean center-left in American politics, and maybe liberal-progressive on a case-by-case basis, but I also consider things in my Filipino culture where we may not be as "liberated" as American mentality.

So I think if you were to ask me my views on different feminist issues, I might give you a "Libfem" response for one issue, and a "Radfem" response on another issue, but I think that's absolutely normal of everyone and we all don't fit into neat square little boxes of ideology.

Absolutely normal!

Interesting what you say about the husband as the income earner but the wife as ruler of the domestic realm. I think that's a common pattern in classical patriarchy - I've read a bit on the position of mothers-in-law who rule over their son's wives. Margery Wolf wrote about this in Chinese family structures, I think.

[–] lofepi7048 3 points (+3|-0) Edited

Yes! It can sometimes be similar to Chinese family structure but also very different, the Philippines has been influenced by so many factors. In a way that the US is the "melting pot of the world", the Philippines is like the "melting pot of Asia".

We were colonized by Spain for >300 years, which reinforced many classical patriarchy elements, especially in regard to Catholic religion. Divorce for example is prohibited, you cannot be legally divorced in Philippines. You can obtain an annulment, but it is a lengthy and expensive process.

There is also a toxic masculine culture present, and it is considered 'macho' for a man to have multiple mistresses. You sometimes hear things like "a man should have 1 mistress for every x amount of his income".

This is not technically promoted in our culture, it is more like an elephant in the room. Even though the wife wields the power in domestic-financial matters, she might "look the other way" about her husbands extramarital activities, because of divorce being prohibited, and the shame of her husband's affairs becoming public knowledge.

A Filipina who separates from her husband can easily return to her family, we do not have the Chinese culture of "permanently leaving the family". Our ties to our blood family remain extremely strong, and it is expected that a husband will ingratiate himself as much as possible to his wife's family.

In traditional Filipino culture, courtship ('ligaw') could actually involve the man proving his handiness to a woman's family, before they even granted him permission to being romantically courting her. He would need to do things like chop wood and carry water, to prove that not only could he be a family provider, but also that he could provide for his wife's parents in their old age.

So our family hierarchy is much structured towards elders, and things go up the chain of command when it comes to family matters. Many family disputes can be judged and commented on by for example, a lola (grandmother) or tita (aunt).

If for example a husband is found to be abusive or constantly cheating on his wife, the elders in a wife's family will perhaps have an intervention. In a way, the elders of both person's families will communicate with each other.

So for example if I wanted to leave my husband, I would communicate and ask advice/guidance from my mother, my eldest tita, or my lola (sometimes all 3), and they will consult with my husband's mother/tita/lola.

This also goes the other way. If for example my husband had complaints about me, he would address them to my mother/tita/lola, or perhaps my father.

This is not the same as western culture of telling personal family matters to your mother, this is much more like setting up a "legal matter" within the family unit. Our titas and lolas are like lawyers and judges.

So in fact, the blood family+in-law family combines very much into a hierarchy, with the elders of both sides at the top. This is also perhaps why the elders have a say in the married couple's affairs - a disunion of the couple would actually mean a disunion of the entire clan.

We are also a country of 7,641 islands, where different indigenous cultures may play a role depending where you are. Mindanao (southern Philippines) has a much stronger Muslim influence, compared to Luzon / Cebu which are much more westernized and Catholic / Spanish influenced.

I suppose in a way, our culture has always experienced a bit of an 'identity crisis' trying to discover what it means to be 'truly Filipino'. Pre-colonial Philippines is like an entirely different world, yet we still retain much of our 'Asian sensibilities' even after so much post-colonial influence.

And talking about how feminism relates to all of this, well, thousands more words can be written. Lol!

[–] levitation 9 points (+9|-0) Edited

i grew up in a pretty liberal area, so i just sort of assumed that sexism was a thing of the past. i was also raised religious, so i was taught that some things were just god's plan for me when he made me a woman, and of course a patriarchal god could NEVER be sexist.

but then, when I first started getting sexually harassed by adult men, i realized that sexual harassment from my peers wasn't harmless teasing like my teachers said, but rooted in the same thing: they believe that, because i am female, they get to touch my body however they want even if i scream and beg for them to stop. (little girls with brothers are especially vulnerable because they are treated poorly by their brothers and then the parents write it off as "natural curiosity" about his sister's naked body, and if she gets mad and defends herself it's HER who started the problem, not him by being a peeping tom.)

tumblr circa 2013, cesspool though it was, also helped me realize that rape and sexual harassment were NEVER the victim's fault, and that a woman being beautiful or desirable wasn't an open invitation for men to rape her. my mom told me growing up that wearing certain clothes meant i was a slut or that i was inviting sexual abuse, and had male family friends back her up to basically intimidate me into never wearing crop tops or nightgowns without underwear. seeing other girls talk about how they dressed for THEMSELVES, like I had always wanted to, made me realize that nothing i do is an invitation or justification for abuse.

[–] [Deleted] 1 points (+1|-0)

(little girls with brothers are especially vulnerable because they are treated poorly by their brothers and then the parents write it off as "natural curiosity" about his sister's naked body, and if she gets mad and defends herself it's HER who started the problem, not him by being a peeping tom.)

frightening! never had my bro try to look at me that i know of. yikes. got beaten up? of course. but not peeped on by him. his friend peeped on me once when i was naked through the front door window (those high up diamonds). yuck. shook me to my core.

[–] levitation 2 points (+2|-0)

My brother did all the damn time. It was really upsetting but if I ever hit him for it I was the only one who was punished.

[–] Boudicaea 16 points (+16|-0)

My mom raised me to be a feminist. She's not highly educated, but she knew that if her girls didn't have a means of supporting ourselves independent of men, we'd be vulnerable to abuse. She was adamant that we all become college educated and self-supporting for this reason. That's what feminism meant to her. The ability to live free and independently.

She's had a string of abusive marriages herself, but she finally found a husband who is kind to her. I am very proud of her for making it out of an abusive marriage to my dad, where she was trapped as a SAHM with several kids and no education, to becoming an RN to support herself, to getting herself out of a really violent situation with my first stepdad.

And I definitely learned from her mistakes. I've been fortunate never to be more than verbally abused on occasion.

That said, I never studied feminism very deeply, and mainly took it as presented to me in the media. So liberal feminism to me was feminism. My understanding of second wave/rad fem was that it happened, but they lost steam because they hated men. And then disappeared. So I was told basically it's good and empowering to be a slut and perform femininity. Ended up with an ED and having very unsatisfying relationships.

Eventually I found radical feminism was still alive and not manhating like I thought. It was just realistic. I learned about it through /r/GenderCritical when someone called me a terf online and I had to look up what that meant.

My main priority as a feminist is protecting women and girls from violence, especially male violence and sex-based oppression. Aside from maintaining safe spaces for those who need them, the greatest means for this is economic assistance. So basically rewarding the hard work of mothering financially. Ensuring that women are paid the same as men for the same work. Ensuring that children's needs are met, because their needs disproportionately are met by their mothers. Taking care of kids and women go hand in hand, to me.

So basically rewarding the hard work of mothering financially. Ensuring that women are paid the same as men for the same work. Ensuring that children's needs are met, because their needs disproportionately are met by their mothers. Taking care of kids and women go hand in hand, to me.

I love this! Feminism has failed with respect to mothering, this is where we have to do the hard, hard work that includes recognizing our ineradicable difference from men.

[–] Boudicaea 7 points (+7|-0)

Yep, at the end of the day, our exploitation is centered around our capability to mother children, everywhere and everywhen. Feminism has to address that. And it's not enough to just support women's choice not to be come mothers-- that is important too, but most of us are going to want a child or two. It's just reality.

[–] levitation 6 points (+6|-0)

not to mention, many men will abuse kids if given half a chance. campaigning for the right to vote and campaigning for an end to child labor were done by the same people--women. in contrast, modern psychology was founded on freud bending over backwards to explain away all the children and women who told him about the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of their male relatives as them wanting it. adult male solidarity trumps EVERYTHING, even the safety of their own sons.

[–] EnchantedApple16 15 points (+15|-0)

I first started identifying with the term “feminist” when I was 14. My brother and I moved in with our dad for the first time since we were 5 and 6, and it was insane how differently we were treated. There was a double standard for everything. He was never hassled about his grades but I was constantly grounded for getting anything below a B+, it was fine if his room was a disaster but my room had to be spotless constantly. I had to cook and clean every day (including doing his laundry for him) and his only chore was mowing the lawn in the summer time. I could go on.

That was pretty much the extent of my feminism for a long time. I thought double standards were basically the biggest problem women faced, and I didn’t like how those double standards affected me, but I never thought about how it affected women as a whole.

It was actually tumblr in about 2012 that made me see how misogyny is everywhere, and that rape culture existed. But that was liberal feminism, and it never really sat right with me. I didn’t really know how having casual sex was good for women, or how pop stars dancing in lingerie on stage was empowering. I kept those thoughts to myself, but I completely agreed that TWAW, and that makeup was an art form, and that I shaved/waxed/tweezed every hair on my body because I liked it. My line of thinking was that the reason those things were criticized was because they were things women enjoyed, so it was my feminist duty to be as feminine as possible. Because that was showing the patriarchy that being a woman is okay, right? I didn’t see how all men (yes all men) benefitted from women’s desperation to live up to their impossible beauty standards and how my own choices to conform to those standards was hurting women as a whole.

I peaked trans right before I “peaked patriarchy” (love this phrase, btw). I made a comment on a reddit post that was apparently transphobic, and got downvoted to hell and someone commented something like “/r/gc is leaking” so I went to /r/GC and it was incredible. I’d finally found feminists who knew that prostitution wasn’t empowering, that TWAM, and that pornography was detrimental to women. There were so many people who were able to put my feelings into words a lot better than I ever could. Before finding /r/GC I thought radical feminists were basically libfems on steroids. I didn’t know even there were different kinds of feminism.

This was all just a little over a year ago, and it has been great. It made me look at my choices and think critically about them. It made me confront uncomfortable prejudices that I’d held for a long time against women, made me question my own motives for a lot of the things I did, and changed the way I see my own role in society.

I’m so thankful for this community.