REPOST: MY FEMINIST FIGHT: “My engagement with feminism was based on very personal necessity — to bring myself out of a traditional mindset and into the 20th Century. My culture had a very limited pool of knowledge about sexuality and gender relations. We hadn’t even entered the arena of any sort of gender politics. That is to say modernity had not yet arrived in my culture.
This led to a state of affairs where I didn’t understand the sub-texts of any of the social situations I was in. In retrospect, I see a lot was implied about identity, including gender but I didn’t really catch on at the time.
My inability to respond appropriately and to defend what others perceived as my “identity” made me extremely vulnerable to such onslaughts as workplace bullying. I really had no idea what people wanted from me or how to behave normally. To make matters worse, I had internalized attitudes that were socially quite passive. A female in an extremely right-wing, militaristic culture has no need to assert herself. Men are expected to do that for her.
For me, feminism was a way of solving this set of problems, in order to bring myself into modernity.
Feminism gave me the philosophical justification for what I needed to do, which was to engage in a prolonged and difficult battle with my original character structure in order to transform it into something more effective for the modern world.
What surprised me was how few people were able to understand this need and how many — good liberals included — worked actively to sabotage my project. Since I wasn’t able to articulate the nature of my project at the time, the lack of active support can be explained away. The attempts to sabotage my freedom by affirming my father’s perspectives over and against mine really need a lot more explanation, though. It wasn’t just my inability to articulate the deeper nature of the problem at the time I was experiencing it. Rather, it seems that even those who are otherwise impartial in their dealings with others do in fact have a deep emotional attachment to the concept or sensation of patriarchal authority.
So it was that I finally won my battle, but all my own effort, and against the forces of all sorts of attempts to make me feel guilty and repent of my fight for freedom.
Like most aspects of life, unless you’ve been through the experience — in my case, the experience of giving birth to oneself — you have little idea of what it means. You will misconstrue everything.”