Let me start out by saying that I have no idea if any of the members of the band Superchic(k) identify as feminists. They may read my itty bitty little article and be very offended. But I recently realized that their message of a “one girl revolution” planted the seeds of equality in my baby feminist* heart.
Becoming and identifying as a feminist was a long process for me that started in my early teens. I have had many influences, both positive and negative, that have led me to realize what feminism is and has transformed my thinking. One day I may talk about the positive influence of my grandma or go into depths about the misogyny at home. But that is another day, another blog post.
As a teen I had a hard time expressing the frustration I felt with the world. I couldn’t label what was going on at home as abuse. I couldn’t describe the empathy and strong emotions that I often felt and would become overwhelmed. I didn’t recognize misogyny for what it was and that there were other, better, ways to live. I empty and was longing for a way to escape. As a result, I listened to music a lot and would study the lyrics. I found that these musicians were able to explain what I was feeling much better than I ever was.
Most of these musicians and bands I don’t listen to anymore, mostly because of musical tastes, partially because I now have freedom to listen to whatever I want without fear. Even when I am embarrassed to admit it, these bands really seemed to shape my teen years. One of the biggest examples was the song by Superchic(k) called “Real”. When they sang the words below, I felt my heart connecting with it.
I won’t be the doll you’ll lock up in a box
Don’t expect me to be anything I’m not
Cause I won’t be what I can’t be
But I want to be real
I want to find out who I am
And I will find my way to heal
And I will find my voice my stand
I was frustrated that as woman I felt like I had to act and look a certain way in order to be attractive to the world. And what would I really get from being the way the world told me to be? I couldn’t think of a single benefit to me other than the obscure concept of living the “right” way.
It also hit my soul because I wasn’t allowed to really be myself at home. I had an odd sense of humor, I stood up for people when I heard injustice, and I had a lot of questions about everything. I was also often depressed or sad, often needing to be by myself in order to read, write, collect my thoughts. If the atmosphere wasn’t right at home, if my dad was unhappy with me or wanted me to act a certain way, I had to do it. Gone were the jokes some days, other days I had to make myself laugh at my dad’s jokes so that I wouldn’t be yelled at. I couldn’t ask all the questions I had (this was before I knew what Google was) and I definitely couldn’t say if I thought my dad’s jokes were mean instead of funny.
Of course, there were good times. And I definitely wasn’t perfect, I could be a brat. But this struggle to fit in with the world and at home fed the depression that was growing in me. All I wanted was to be Real, to really be myself. To be in a safe home where I was free to ask questions, laugh, and create. To live in a world where I didn’t need to have a flat stomach or perfect hair. To exist the way I wanted to, the way I felt like God created me to be, without worrying about what the rest of the world thought. These thoughts, these questions, had me thinking about feminism and patriarchy. Why do men feel the need to make women small in order to make themselves feel big? Why do I have to look a certain way or be afraid that I won’t be loved? Why did I have to change my personality in order to get boys to like me?
In the history of women’s rights, this is small potatoes. But it started to open my eyes to the fact that something wasn’t right at home and something wasn’t right in the world. It led me to start seeing that there was something more than what I was being taught by the world
Were there any songs that had an influence in how you thought? What were they?
*I heard the term Baby Feminist from the podcast Call Your Girlfriend. Please check it out. They are amazing, smart, hilarious women.