Ever since I was a child, I was meticulously lectured that we, as youth, are the future of the world. Every school project, every TV program, even every cartoon included notions of this. Sometimes, this seemed to me so encouraging, especially when I would be asked about my dream job. “A teacher by day”, I would reply, “and a writer by night”. Conversely, I also felt the other side of such mechanic repetitiveness of what seemed to me sometimes ' a warning'. You are the youth, you are the future! What this indicated for me was that there is a certain danger that we might cause for this unrecognized, yet, passionately awaited future. The danger, I, later on, came to understand, was of being the same, of resisting the tides of change and movement and force our natural flexibility into frustrating stagnation. Our actions not only are supposed to fix the past, but they are also, and most pertinently, required to save the future from similar failures.
The setting: planet earth. Timing: the twenty-first century. The issue: Youth. In no precedent time in history had the category of youth influenced the world so massively and vividly. However, at the same time, youth have never been this susceptible to the failures of the past. With every progress, it seems, the trajectory of history brings ten counter hurdles that impede youth from fully realizing their potential in leading the future.
One of the most problematic stumbling blocks obstructing youth all over the world is the fact that they are still denied a voice, especially when it comes to providing an opinion that “diverges” from the mainstream Culture.
A young woman myself, I always felt the weight of traditions so heavy and intimidating on my shoulders. Being young in a world ruled by Seniors, and a female crushed under patriarchal feet. Only writing was my outlet and the spring of my voice. To write to me is the first step towards actually becoming the leader of the future. It sincerely means that I refuse to succumb and give up my right of defining who I am and the Woman I want to be. And that is why Youth Magazine.
To this end, I choose to introduce you to a series of articles where I try to attract youth readers to one of the most urgent and highly tenacious topics of our World, viz, Gender Powers.
In each of the following articles I'll be sharing with you in the upcoming weeks, I will try to tackle various facets of the aspect of gender and how it affects our lives as young people.
The first step I choose, is a necessary journey into the past, where I'll share with you more of my personal life and how I became to conceive of feminism an inevitable strategy to liberate young women and men from the shackles of tradition.
Journeying into Myself
I always try to go back to the origin of things, to find out how all of this has started. Yet, when I attempt to recall how I came to be firmly resolved to my commitment to feminism I always arrive at a dead end , the thing that prompts me to say what might seem to many an exaggerated cliché " I was born a feminist", or I can simply be the re-incarnated self of a feminist, who knows! .
To be a feminist in my community and amidst the people I live, study and work with can be so threatening, in the sense that they start to see you as an alien creature, slowly but strongly rebelling against their sacred unity under whatever title and basis they want it to be.
To be a feminist for me, meant more than just rebellion, for rebellion can be in thoughts, words, and actions, it might make a factual change sometimes, but in most times it is subdued by the sacred united majority. To be a feminist for me means putting myself at the cannon's mouth, against all of what I have been meticulously taught, against all the rules and the standards by which my sacred united community defined, regulated and built my existence, dreams, future, life, and death upon. Being a feminist has given me a VOICE to say NO, not anymore, never. Being a feminist has taught me that I am in no way less than my male brother, or classmate or co-worker, father or husband, family member or neighbour. Feminism has taught me that all of these people have no right to control my actions and make decisions for me. Feminism has taught me that I can speak for MYSELF, that there is ME, only ME at the centre of MY world.
Terefore, I take this as my first step of emancipation and change, an inevitable one this time, I believe. With you today, I shall try to remember the first hints of ‘the feminist spirit ‘that has irrupted into my life. In fact, there are few remarkable events that might have sparked this resolve in me. So, let's see, maybe I became a feminist when my father punished me for daring to say that I wanted to go to a summer camp as my brother did every single summer ( maybe 7 years old). Or maybe for yelling at me for going to the nearby shop to do groceries by an order from my mother (probably the same year). For being harassed by the closest people to me – teacher, , neighbour, classmate – and never understanding what was happening in the first place, and never being able to talk about it to anyone. Or maybe for being body shamed by my family not to mention strangers.
With all these memories, I can't find a starting point of feminism in me, but I'm glad that whatever was the beginning, the end is this. I'm glad that I was not brainwashed as most girls not only in my community but the entire world to believe that they are somehow less than men. And I am mostly glad for not being suppressed nor held back by all of these traumatic experiences I went through and still.
Feminism is not only about women, feminism is about men as well and about all of those who are neither. That’s why, whatever your gender is, I want you to share with us your story with feminism (be it positive or negative, be you with or against feminism). Let us make of writing a platform and an outlet for us to share what we can't say in the outer world. Simply through your keyboard, you can make a change, you can make your Voice heard. Please don't hesitate to speak up.