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How I Became A Feminist Essay

1507 words - 7 pages

Margot Heraud
College Writing 100-61T
Due 10/09/2012

Subject: Feminism.

The way I became who I am isn’t the usual way we become someone. My dad and uncle raised me in the middle of a French restaurant kitchen with no real feminine influence. I would spend my days off in the kitchen, mostly helping out, but it was also the place where I would do my homework after school, where my dad and I would pretend to fight with wood spoons. This kitchen was one of the most familiar places I had ever known but it was also where I would escape. My mother was dealing with illness at that time, until I was about 11 but life couldn’t stop; my friends at schools were mostly boys and, as I grew up, I was ...view middle of the document...

Under the old regime, if the society was not initially opposed to women having access to important functions, the laws created by the succession of Philip IV’s children condemn that women shall have no role in politics in any way. The feminists that influenced me and society the most are Olympe de Gouges and with Anne-Josephe Theroigne Méricourt who were fighting for our rights during the revolution. Feminists of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, such as Louise Weiss to a more modern form, in a France still the prey of inequalities, as Simone de Beauvoir and Françoise Giroud. The word itself "feminism" was created by Charles Fourier but the first political activist was Hubertine Auclert in 1882. The fact that France has such a long history, feminism comes with a bigger past and fight than in any other country.
I was raised with the idea that, for a woman, a man was all or nothing. Since it was the case for me, the most important people in my life were men. It was so much that every time some man’s decision was called into question, the slightest beginning of talking about equality of genders or responsibilities was considered a personal attack. Without taking it too far, my view of men was built on a relationship of power. Therefore, the only injustice I was aware of at the time was the moral idealization of women as "naturally" good, gentle, caring, and welcoming "the future of man." I viewed it this way, as I had never had a women’s influence in my life until that point. It is easy to comprehend that I did not consider or understand what women could feel.
My vision of women changed when I met one of my mom’s clients, who was a professor in gender studies at the university of La Sorbonne in Paris. I was sixteen at the time, and she explained how women had many more values than it appeared and to be proud of them. She discussed how I would be judged later in life for being a woman at, and that I shouldn’t let that dictate who I was. She talked about equality issues in the rest of the world, and how, in some countries, women barely have the right of speech. I had to agree with her both on the arbitrariness of the social roles assigned to women and men and on men’s vision of gender division in work and everyday life. I remember her saying, “We need to protect women against the dirtiness of power.” Because equality between men and women, the fight against violence against women or the protection of their fundamental right should be part of one woman’s preoccupation, some measure have to be taken. I also started analyzing other’s lives and mine at the same time due to the path she had opened for me. Why did men walk in front of their wives in the street, and why did they decide everything for the majority of the time?
Later on I realized that I was more independent that most of the girls, teenagers, young women I knew, and that I did not need the power of a man over me to find myself. I don’t find it normal that women...

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