In this two-part guest blog series from probably Bristol Woman’s youngest guest blogger so far, we are delighted to welcome 17-year old young feminist and avid blogger, Mollie Semple. In this first post, Mollie discusses her own experience of what it feels like to be a young feminist.
I am, and have always been, an impassioned, opinionated, young feminist. I have no qualms with this, this is very much an integral part of who I am, and yet, for a while, it used to be a very alienating experience. It used to feel as if every one of your peers just wouldn’t open their ears and listen to what you had to say, to what the world was saying, and to what women were saying at the time.
Instead, they’d laugh at you. If you were opinionated enough you’d get a reputation, for which I certainly did. Boys would deliberately rile you up because for them it was amusing, but all you wanted to do was to help them to understand what made you so upset. New terminology was making its rounds as the boys and girls discovered a sexuality they were unable to explore yet. “Gash” was a favourite amongst the lads to refer to their female counterparts as a putrid description of an area they were still to be lucky enough to come close to.
My female peers and I had suddenly become pockets of sexual favours to most of the boys, but we were yet to feel the need to speak so cruelly of them. And to a lot of us, the words started to slide over our heads as we’d numb ourselves to the terms that damaged our worth as human beings just because it was said so frequently. I tried to tell everyone this, but they just said I was silly. I couldn’t understand why even the girls didn’t feel the need to protect themselves as females from a society which sought to undermine them. Why didn’t this make them angry? Why would they not fight back with me? For a while it felt like I would have to do this alone.
And then, as if all of a sudden, I wasn’t the only one who felt so intrinsically linked to this word ‘feminism’. It started to make others feel passionately too. Now I could have heated, one-sided discussions about how desperately the world needed feminism and how great it was to be a young feminist. Now, instead of feeling as if I was shouting at an empty room, others were beginning to shout with me and we were going to teach the world about our newfound club. We were feminists, and we were going to let everybody know about it.
Today, in my first year of 6th form, as a feminist I feel pretty empowered. I have both boys and girls who will defend my arguments vehemently because they understand how important a need there is to educate and to fight for this cause of equality. There is certainly a more positive connotation to the word ‘feminism’ and I think that a part of this is because as we grow older we sadly become more and more aware of the inequalities within our very own society. I think that now a lot of us are looking back on the language we used to use and cringing at how awfully sexist it was. But it wasn’t our fault, we had retrieved those words from the adult world and thrown them around without fully understanding the meaning behind it. Now we can see the meaning, and it is starting to repulse us.
Of course, there are still a few left in our year who are still refusing to accept feminism as a valid or necessary concept in our apparently perfect, middle class society. When I try to approach them in a different way and argue that if not for yourself then fight for the others, they still tend to resist. Fight for the women who are murdered in Honour Killings, for the girls who are not allowed to go to school, but, apparently, that’s different. This does not concern us according to them, and it is only barely worthy of feminism. But don’t worry …. I am working on this.
I think that overall being a young feminist is a positive, exciting thing for me now. I certainly feel deeply entrenched within a worthy cause I won’t ever want to stop fighting for, and what encourages me is that more and more of my peers are beginning to understand and feel that. We are young and passionate, and so I think by nature it’s a pretty powerful thing for us to work towards a freer, more equal world.
Mollie is a 17 year old student in the midst of her A Levels. She’s a passionate blogger at The Fully Intended, and all she really wants to do in life is write. She has been raised by her parents to want nothing more for the world than equality, and so intends to spend a lot of her time making sure her generation gets a little bit closer to just that.