*If they want to, I mean. This is the end of the Third Wave/start of the Fourth Wave and all. Who the hell am I to tell you what to do?
So, today, the 20th March in the year 2014, is my birthday. I am twenty years old. Woo.
I thought I’d take some time out of my day to reflect on a little internet nugget that has been floating about on my Facebook feed for a while now. No, not that somewhat well intentioned yet misguided “No make up selfie” one, there are enough blog posts criticising that right now. I mean the now infamous “X list of things to do when/before you are Age Y” article.
In particular, now that I am an official member of the twenties club, I’m focusing on a particular article on Thought Catalog that’s done the rounds of late, “Five Things women need to do in their twenties or else the suffragists died for nothing” which is a sort of lovechild subgroup of the horrific “things to do in your twenties” brand of buzzfeed/studentbeans articles. Because if there’s two things that generation Y loves on the t’internet, it’s a) pointless lists and b) THINGS WHICH MAKE YOU FUCKING PARANOID ABOUT WASTING YOUR PRIME ADULT YEARS.
Anyhow, days after people flagged out the obscenity of this article, it turns out it was written by a guy for a joke. If that information doesn’t point out how shitty and poorly researched the world of ThoughtCatalog is, I give up with you people.
Anywho, in light of my new age group and the busting of the article, here’s I think feminist women should actually do in their twenties. If you want.
1) Vote, and Be All Political and Stuff
Hey! Voting is fun. Women threw themselves under horses and starved themselves so you could have the right to do this, so why not actually fucking do it rather than complaining. Turns out the suffragists were not so much about travelling and getting a tan so much as using your political autonomy to have a say in how your local and national councils represent you both nationally and internationally. Whodathunkit.
And if you hate politics, why not do something about it? Don’t “forget” to vote or be too apathetic to bother. Campaign for a better system. Make signs and stand in public places and shout for a bit. Petition councils and governments. Get mad. Do stuff. Don’t sit there on your arse.
2) Know Stuff About The World Around You
That means actually knowing stuff that’s happening which can have an impact on a global scale, e.g. that situation in Ukraine’s that’s a been a bit whacked up recently. Do you know what’s going on like a well-informed and person, or are you too busy to care?
Likewise, there are issues that are not traditionally associated with western Europe but still occur here and worldwide such as FGM, forced marriages, lack of access to education, lack of access to knowledge sources, lack of political representation etc etc etc. Go read a few books, watch the news, know stuff. Then think and act on’t.
3) Actually Like Your Body For Once
If you treat your body gently and with respect then you can look however the hell you want to. Fat? IDGAF. Skinny? Likewise. It’s high time for the fat tummy and chubby arms appreciation society. Knowing yourself and respecting yourself is an important step on the way to adulthood. Go do that.
4) Know That Intersectionality Exists, Work Towards Understanding It
Being an intersectional feminist does not mean “I am privileging race over gender”. As a white woman I occupy a certain area of inherited privilege. If I understand when I fuck up and use that privilege unknowingly, apologise, learn from it, and do my best to not do it again and help understand and help improve experience of women who occupy a more discriminated sphere than myself (trans women, black women, Asian women, disabled women), then I’ll have at least done something. Privilege is a real shitty thing in this society which we need to change. One of the first things you can do is understand that notion of “privilege”, how you are “privileged”, and how that relates in real time in society.
5) Understand that You Have Rights and Responsibilities, and That Action Must Be Taken When Necessary to Protect Them.
If you don’t pay the slightest attention to anything else in this article, then read this point.
As human beings, we all have rights and responsibilities. I have the right to be safe, healthy, well represented with an autonomous voice – and the responsibility to use them to the best of my ability, and not infringe the rights of others or be an arse to anyone else. If my rights or responsibilities are threatened, or if the rights and responsibilities of any other group I know are being threatened, it’s my obligation to give a crap. Again, whether that’s signing a petition or standing on a picket line, THE TRICK IS TO AT LEAST DO SOMETHING rather than writing a Facebook post about it.
Here’s to doing something decent with the next ten years of my life.