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I AM A FEMINIST!

"I’m neither ‘pro-women’ nor ‘anti-men’. I’m just 'Thumbs up for the six billion'." Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman


" Feminism is not JUST about women’s rights; it is about achieving equality for everyone, regardless of gender. Everyone benefits from feminism because everyone benefits from equality." Swagata S., Feminism and the Advocacy of Women’s Rights: Why Are these Relevant Today?, Rightsofequality.com, 21st September 2022


In 2012, three years before I turned into the mother version of myself, a dear friend came for a visit with a book in hand (she often has a book in hand). Pictured on its cover - which to me still seems very British - was a white woman's face raising her eyebrows underneath thick-black-hair-with-a-stroke-of-white. My friend always had quirky tastes (her appreciation of my art I take as a great compliment). I forgot about the book until my partner mentioned it again, a few weeks later, while I was probably ranting about prevalent sexism, which was by that point becoming a vocal realisation. Of course, I had pretty much always known that women were not treated equally to men. From the age of growing bosom (13 in my case), the dangers of being a woman unravelled as I became increasingly catcalled and harassed by men sometimes old enough to be my dad, if not older. I grew to learn how to be flirtatious enough to seem unthreatening, and little enough as to not seem inviting. All of this was the tip of the iceberg in my understanding of patriarchy*, which I strongly believe everyone is a victim of. The more hours I spend at the British Library, the more I realise that patriarchy is like rot, contaminating stone after stone of our social fortress from the ground up, threatening it to shake and crumble. So, Partner got me the book. Since then, both my appreciation for Caitlin Moran and my awareness of the complexities of an unfair world (and of my own privilege) blossomed. I decided to turn my victim status into an activist status. I discovered feminism isn't a bad word. Feminism is a good, a very good word. An empowering word. A word which emplies equality**. Nobody wants to see their house collapse, yet keeping our eyes shut won't prevent that from happening and causing irreversible damage. I choose to keep my eyes open and my language strong. Feminism is both the belief in and the advocacy for gender equality. And so, believing at heart that we all deserve a chance - to learn, to grow, to earn, to laugh, and to love safely, I use this platform to speak, reflect, question, in all imperfection, à tâtons***, and invite you to join me, just like Caitlin did at her book tour in 2014, in claiming out loud: I AM A FEMINIST! ***




(from left to right) The aforementioned friend, Caitlin Moran, and yours truly at the writer's "How to build a girl" book tour in Birmingham, July 2014 *defined by the Cambridge dictionary as a society controlled by men in which they use their power to their own advantage (personal note: advantage being a goal rather than a consequence of that system) ** equality in this context implies an aim to create equal opportunity regardless of race, class, or gender. *** literally, groping my way.



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debcookshapiro
Sep 13, 2023

I love the way you are "groping your way'... and from my point of view, you are a boss making confident strides in articulating a complex issue simply and beautifully through your art, both visually and verbally!

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debcookshapiro
Sep 13, 2023

Another intelligent and illuminating post from you!! ... I love this, Arlette!!!

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