Happy International Women’s Day! Today is the day we celebrate the social, political, literary, scientific, historical, and cultural achievements of women. The more I think about the extraordinary women who have paved the way for girls like me, the more I realise I should be more active as a feminist. Read on if you want to know why.
This isn’t the first time I’m writing about feminist literature. For instance, I discussed the novel (and the movie) Persepolis by Marjane Strapi, I wrote about a feminist version of the Trojan War, A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, and last week I dissected Christina Dalcher’s novel Vox. I have said before that I do not really consider myself a feminist, because I consider myself very lucky to live in a country in which there is relative equality between men and women. However, the more I think about feminism and the struggle for equality, the more I realise I should be more aware and involved.
I teach feminism in class. I talk about how the suffragettes fought (literally!) for the right to vote, and how they eventually made it possible. I talk about Virginia Woolf, one of the most important female authors ever, and how she developed an entirely new way of writing, and introduced strong, intelligent female characters to the literary world. I tell my students over and over again how important the early twentieth century was for female emancipation, and how grateful we should all be for those women who changed the world. Their impact is still felt to this day.
While writing this post, I realise that I have taken being a woman for granted. It’s never been hard for me to be a women, because I have never felt like I had to work that much harder than a man would have. But then again, I simply might not have realised that I have. I think that I have put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted to be seen, heard, and appreciated. So here’s a promise to myself: I will always be aware of what it means to be a woman. I will vote for women in the upcoming election (if they’re competent, of course). I will be more aware of the fact that women are still marginalised, underappreciated, and underpaid all over the world. I will pay more attention to female authors, and I will write more about feminist fiction. This way, I will do my part.
From now on, I will be a real feminist.
Who are your favourite female authors? Do let me know in the comments!