The Words to Explain

There are a lot of things I did not know how to describe when I was younger, but now have the words for. I was talking to my brother the other day about how I was such a feminist when I was younger, except I did not have the words for feminism or sexism back then. I would simply be enraged at the unfairness – how come he doesn’t have to wash the dishes? How come he can go to the city with friends and can only go if he comes with me? Why can’t be asked to do the gardening or load bricks? Perhaps other parents could have said it was because of our ages, but since we were twins, that could not be the case. The only difference, then, was that he was a boy and I was a girl. So I would rant at him, saying all this unfairness was just stupid. I had no other words for it. Just unfair and stupid and idiotic (clearly, I had quite the vocabulary). After a while, I found the word illogical. I argued about the lack of logic, how dumb it all was. I did not know the word for sexism. In fact, I probably would never have said it back then either (sex is a bad word!).

Then again, perhaps “stupid” is still a good word to describe sexism now. The word feminism has also been dragged through the mud quite a bit recently. I wish it would return to its original meaning: equality for genders, focusing on women and femininity because these are what require elevation in this patriarchal society…

My brother is thankful of my rants now because he has grown up to see these unfairness-es as unfair. Back then – a preteen boy – he did not bother thinking about it. I suppose when something is quite normal and you are not the one victimised or bothered or affected, it does not cross your mind to rethink it. If no one says there is a problem then no one in power would think of changing what is apparently working.

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