I’m a pretty shit feminist

I’m not very good at voicing strong opinions. Recently I realised that I think several of these opinions actually deserve an airing. So I decided to cluster-bomb all these thoughts together, set them off in quick succession and hope there isn’t too much shrapnel. August seemed like as good a reason as any. Therefore, Adventures in TV-Land somewhere timidly presents: Potentially Problematic Opinions Month. Feel free to disagree with me. That’s kind of the idea.

I have a feminist inside me…I keep her in a cage.
Tim Minchin

Hi, my name’s Alexandra Neill and I’m a pretty shit feminist.
I’m a 21 year old woman who wants to work in a male dominated industry.
Sometimes I get cross when people are sexist and occasionally I have a rant about the frustratingly low number of decent television programmes written by women. I’m eternally grateful for the impact feminism has had on my life. I’m just pretty rubbish at feminism, is all.
Last year I read this piece by Australian author Jack Heath and came to the slightly worrying realisation that my bookshelf featured zero books by women. Not kidding. Actually zero. And I’m a female writer.
I felt rather bad about this for a while. Then I realised that I don’t really listen to any music made by or featuring females. The evidence was stacking up against me.
The strange thing is that I didn’t really feel bad enough about the whole situation to want to actively try and change it. I do read books by women. Pretty regularly. I just don’t own a lot because all my favourite authors happen to be men.
I think that the true definition of equality is that everyone should be treated equally. And you know what? That means not reading something just because it’s by a woman. I believe equality is reading books which you like and enjoy regardless of the gender of the person who penned them.
This is obviously a slightly problematic notion.
A few years ago I read a great article by Hugh Mackay which slightly blew my mind. It made me realise exactly how young feminism is. I’m living in the first generation to grow-up post feminism. People my age are the first people IN HISTORY who are allowed to take these ideas for granted. We’re the first people who can assume that women should be treated equally and feel entitled to get cross if they’re not.
Think about that for a moment. That’s amazing.
This means we should be patient. There are still an awful lot of people alive today for whom feminism is a slightly alien notion. Eventually the young people will inherit the earth and who knows what the world will be like in 100 years. But we need to live through the time between now and then, like it or not. Sometimes old men will be sexist, some industries will continue to be male dominated and a lot of feminists will continue to be really annoying. That’s life.
Feminism to me means that we, as people, get to make our own decisions. It means we can chose to define (or not, as the case may be) what it means to be a woman in a changing world.
Which bring me to another slightly contentious opinion- I like babies.
So many women my age will happily tell you that the very last thing they want in this life is a baby. On the fairly regular occasions when I’m stuck in the middle of a heated exchange about how totally horrible the very IDEA of becoming a mother is, I tend to put my head down and quietly wait for it to blow over.
I often feel like people would judge me if I were to vocally disagree with this opinion, no matter how personal it is.  
But I can’t help marvelling at the idea that you get to make a whole human. A WHOLE HUMAN. And sure it could turn out to be kind of lame but there’s also a chance that it’ll be great. I don’t want a baby anytime soon, god no, but at some point in my life I think it’s something I will want very much. And I don’t see what’s wrong with that, or with admitting that. I find it strange that something which is genetically built into our workings is so regularly belittled.
Life is a strange and mysterious and unpredictable thing. And we definitely shouldn’t criticise people who choose motherhood. We should accept them. Because that’s what equality is.
I think that radical ideas need to be extreme during the early days; things aren’t changed by being meek. But we’re a few decades into the battle for gender equality. The point I think I’m trying to make is that sometimes I feel like feminism leaves a lot of people behind. I regularly feel excluded by a lot of the things feminism preaches. I might be a shit feminist but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in equality.
And, at the end of the day, I think that is more important. 

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year