When I was talking to Ali about being in a little bit of a writing slump, we spoke about what I could write about, what I’ve written about before and he said that right now I need to take some time for myself, because I don’t relax, because even at 22 I’m guilty of wanting to ‘have it all’. In short, I’m exhausted. I’m constantly asked about the future at this age and I get really, really stressed. I get stressed when adverts don’t reflect my body, when eating cake is seen as a ‘cheat’ or ‘treat’ for women, but not for men. I get stressed about my career, about how I look, about how many bullshit articles there are in women’s magazines.
We’re always demonised for wanting to have a family, a career, a happy relationship, told that we’ll burn out. At the same time, there’s still sexism in advertising, women are sold cleaning products, but used to sell sports cars rather than being the ones who want to purchase them. We’re marketed to for cooking, cleaning and particular shows on TV have adverts that are ‘female friendly’ about periods and ovulation, while the football has adverts for beer and cars. Because of all this pressure sometimes I just look at it all and think screw it, why am I doing this? Why am I fighting when I’m exhausted and all I’m seen as is a bunch of hormones who wants to clean and procreate. Is it any wonder I don’t relax?!
I know that I’m not the only one that has thought this way, not the only one to just feel so tired and frustrated with the world. I’ll be honest the past few weeks have been really tough with personal issues and when you’re already down sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever beat sexism. For me as a young 20 something I think about whether I’ll get discriminated against if I choose to have a child, whether I’ll be able to be top in my field while fitting in school runs and plays and parents evenings. Even as recently as yesterday there were comments because of a comment I posted about loving to work and that I didn’t intend to stop working after I have children and this was from another woman.
Even in 2016, I’m still plagued by these worries, these conversations that my other half doesn’t have to deal with. I see magazines and women’s bodies have been manipulated by software and where women are told how to ‘please their man’, rather than focusing on themselves. I see people I know make sexist jokes. I’m the focus of comments that constantly question my feminism because I haven’t always been this forward and I’ll be honest, it’s exhausting. I want to shout feminism and be a warrior for women all the time, but I wanted to be honest and say that sometimes I’m worn down, I look around and think, fuck how are we going to fix this?
This is NOT me giving up, it’s not even me taking a break. It is me reminding not only myself but others out there that it’s ok to feel frustrated, to feel like this is so big, so much bigger than us. Now I’ve calmed down and thought, written, I’ve realised that everyone has these days and that feminism and battling sexism isn’t something someone can take on on their own. I realised that we’re all in this together and that everyone is allowed to be scared or stressed or frustrated, these frustrations keep the fire burning but we can’t let them burn us out because otherwise, we’ll get nowhere.