I’m a feminist. For a very long time I denied it. I said that I didn’t care and honestly didn’t believe that genders were unequal. My mom is one of 8 kids… 7 of them are female. My grandmother has 16 grandchildren… 13 are female, 3 are male. Females dominate our family. I just didn’t think gender inequality was a thing.
Why did admitting I was a feminist scare me? Here are a few reasons:
- I love men… and not just in a sexual way. I have so many incredible men in my life who love and care for me in the most genuine way. Friends, family members, teachers, coworkers… there are a lot of guys in my life who I really care about. I had this fucked up feeling that admitting to being a feminist meant that I hated men… or that somewhere along the line, some guy screwed me over and I was jaded.
- I am so far from what I thought feminists think a woman should be. I am very feminine and really love dressing up and being girly. I was in a sorority for God’s sake. Above everything, I want to be a mother and wouldn’t mind being a stay at home mom. I love to cook, grew up cheerleading and spend a ridiculous amount of money on anti-wrinkle cream and agave hair oil. I thought that feminists wouldn’t like me because I’m so feminine.
- I didn’t really understand what the fuss was all about. In my first job, which I held for five years, I made more money and was promoted faster than many of my male coworkers. I had a good amount of self-confidence and thought that men viewed me as an intellectual more than a piece of meat.
Above all, I didn’t want to slap a label on my forehead and have people think that I was an extremist.
Then I started writing… and it was all right there. I wrote strong female characters, which was just what came naturally. It makes sense, right? I grew up in a predominately female household and most of my authority figures were women… why wouldn’t they be the store managers, CEO’s and heads of household in my scenes? But apparently that’s not the norm. All of a sudden people were praising me on being a strong woman myself. I started to seek out other strong females to become my friends and/or mentors. I listened to the stories of my friends and the shit that they’ve heard throughout their life. I realized that not everyone was born into a female dominated family where strength, wittiness and intelligence were respected.
That’s when I met some really great feminists. Many of my comedy teachers and mentors praise women. They encourage us and show us that there’s really nothing we can’t do. They address our fears about weight, beauty and femininity. They taught me that I shouldn’t hold back my energy in a room full of men. That it doesn’t make me unattractive or intimidating. That some of the funniest people are female – and males can appreciate that kind of humor too. Then they admit to being a feminist… and here’s the kicker: most of them are heterosexual white males.
Since I was about 15 or so, I started to break everything down to how my little cousins viewed me. I want my 13 year old cousins to be confident and proud of the wonderful and wacky women that they are. I want them to know that you can speak your mind and be silly without being afraid of what other people think. That if a man is not attracted to you because of how bold and outgoing you are, he’s not someone you should be dating anyways. That stupidity isn’t cute, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know or don’t understand. I want them to realize that you’re not defined by your partner (or lack thereof) and it’s okay if you’re messy and don’t have your shit together. Poise, grace and beauty are great when you want them around… but you should love yourself without them. Don’t feel bad for wanting to look pretty and dress up but also don’t hold back your silliness in fear of looking ugly. Date whoever you want… or no one at all. Love your body, mind, spirit and find what makes you unique. Don’t ever make fun of someone else because they look strange compared to society… but don’t judge the pretty girls either. Be strong and independent but don’t be afraid to crash and burn. There will be days where you’re vulnerable and depressed but as long as you can recognize this, you can live through it. Live a healthy life… stay away from the crash diets but don’t overindulge. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for being yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Don’t let anyone belittle your ambitions.
If being a strong female who wants to empower others to be strong too makes me a feminist… then good. If I don’t admit that I’m a feminist, I’m being hypocritical. It means that I’m afraid to embrace who I am because I’m afraid of what others may assume or think.
And that’s not what Annie Taylor is all about.