I’m excited to start a new mini-series within Feminist Friday: How to Be a Feminist.
There’s such a stigma against feminism that I’d like to illustrate how easy it actually is to be a feminist.
As I’ve said before, I proudly identify as a feminist (even though it wasn’t always that way). However, I still find myself slipping up every now and then.
This past Monday was one of those days.
Sean and I have joined a 3D Dodgeball league (dodgeball on trampolines, whaddup!). We play every Monday night, and enjoy it so much that we just signed up to play again in January and February.
This week was our second week, and I felt much more comfortable this time around, so I played a little more intensely. I’d like to say I played better, but that’s not for me to judge.
As a team, though, we played much better, winning 14 games to 6 versus the previous week’s loss, 6 games to 8.
It wasn’t uncommon for us to have a ton of players remaining versus one or two on the other side.
One of those times, I remember thinking to myself, “Oh, it’s just two girls on the other side. We got this.”
Woah woah woah. Back up there, Cheevers. Aren’t you a feminist?
That’s when I realized I need to shift my mindset. Again.
If I’m going to proudly consider myself a feminist, I need to make sure I’m collaborating with other women rather than competing.
I understand this is a dodgeball league, so competition is at the very essence of the relationship, but I shouldn’t shrug them off as weak simply because they are women.
Some women are weak. This is true. I am one of them. However, physical weakness isn’t an inherent trait all women possess.
And on that same page, all men aren’t physically strong. And physical strength isn’t a necessary trait to be a man.
If I’ve seen a particular woman on the other team throw poorly, it’s entirely fair and expected to underestimate her if she ends up being one of the last players standing.
Underestimating her simply because she is a woman, on the other hand? Unacceptable.
As disappointed as I am in myself, I’m framing my experience in a positive light, choosing to see it as a learning opportunity.
Now that I know that my instinct is to underestimate the women on the other team, I can catch myself and shift my mindset. Eventually, I’ll stop underestimating them simply because they are women. And stop overestimating the men simply because they are men.
Laurie Barrie says
I hope someday we can get away from labels, including feminist, and see each other as humans respecting humans. But I may not see this in my lifetime.
I agree that some labels are bad, but I think some are good! Seeing each other simply as humans is good in theory, but it also takes away from our individuality. It’s like the idea of being “colorblind” to race. If we ignore people’s race, we ignore the prejudice they have experienced, which is important to remember.
I like being able to identify as a feminist because it means that I believe in economic, social, and political equality of the sexes, regardless of gender. 🙂
Shipra Taneja says
I wish this all was more common sense. It’s so sad to see us all putting each other down instead of bringing each other up.
Me too! I hate how second-nature it is for me to put other people down. But I’m hoping to fix that. 🙂
I love this a lot. I think we underestimate each other a lot, not only on the playing field, but in life. People are full of surprises, we just have to encourage them to show and celebrate them.
Bring home a trophy, Cheevers.
So true! And you know I will. 🙂
Hoda Katebi says
Great post–I think your writing is really important! I agree with the others too-I wish this wasn’t something we had to think twice about! I’m actually working on a post about feminism related to fashion that is going up Sunday 🙂 I think women’s rights are such an important topic and not being hypocritical is vital. Again, thank you for taking the time to write this!
<(') Hoda | JooJoo Azad
Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to reading your post. 🙂
Valerie Vanderheiden-Rath says
Great post! Thanks for sharing!
Cara of Stylish+Geek Blog says
I really enjoyed this post! I completely agree…it is counter productive to put each other down. We should be encouraging each other. That is one of the reasons why I am loving my blogging community. The camaraderie among strangers (and women at that!) is amazing!
I agree! That’s what I love about the blogging community–we don’t have to compete! 🙂
Angelic @ SimplySinova.com says
Loved this post! I think as women we have to support each other more. How can we expect to be treated as equals to men when we can’t even leaner to love and support our fellow ladies <3
Thank you! That’s exactly my thought! 🙂
This is a great post and reminder to stop putting each other down. I am so guilty of this and need to check myself when I find myself being negative.
Thank you! I’ve found the best way to combat it is to recognize when you do it, so you can eventually stop yourself. 🙂 Good luck!
it’s so hard to be around other people who are like that (putting people down). I try not to have them in my life, but sometimes it’s not as easy as one would think.
Agreed! Especially when that person is yourself. 😉 But yes, it’s definitely best to get the negative people out of your life, because the people you spend time with have a really big influence on you and your personality!
Natalie V. says
Absolutely! I don’t ever remember NOT being a feminist–my parents were all about instilling great traits in my sister and I–and I minored in gender studies in college, so clearly, I’m behind you 100% on this topic!
That’s awesome! I wish I would have taken women’s studies / gender studies courses in college. And your parents sound awesome. 😉
Andi Fisher says
The fact that you caught yourself judging in the first place is a testament to your character! Making the adjustment shows you have a strong character!
Julie @ Run Away Freckles says
Okay I love your post but I have just gotta say, 3D dodge ball!? What! That sounds crazy and dangerous
RIght?! It’s awesome! It’s on trampolines! I definitely got a trampoline burn on my elbow… during warm-ups. Whoops!
This seems so obvious, but if it were, women wouldn’t be so mean to each other all the time….or underestimate one another! I love this, thanks for sharing!
Exactly! I hate how second-nature it is to underestimate and put down each other!
Karissa Ancell says
This is a great post, I agree so much, I will share this because I really love what you wrote.
Thank you so much! That means a lot 🙂
Stefany @ ToBeThode says
I’ll be honest and say I have done the same. I do need to change my mindset too, especially for my girls!
The first step is admitting it! 🙂 Hopefully we can both successfully change our mindset.
Michelle Webber says
It’s so easy to slip up, and have our heads fall back to stereotypes and gender roles, when we, as women, should be empowering one another (and men too for that matter) at every opportunity! Great post.
Exactly! Thank you so much 🙂
Great post! I feel like everyone should know this but so many people don’t!
Thank you so much!
i think the world has changed so much, just look at all the amazing blogs, mostly by women! =)
Agreed! We still have a ways to go, but we are definitely making good progress 🙂
This is a great reminder! I find myself sometimes thinking the same things (underestimating other women) and then I feel ashamed that I even considered that thought!
I agree! But I try to think of myself noticing it as a good thing: it means I’m thinking about it and can therefore change the habit!
I love posts like these people they are so inspirational! Being a women and blogger!
Thank you so much! 🙂
Brenda Lawrence says
This is a great post. It’s really helpful to be reminded that we shouldn’t be underestimating and judging each other, especially as much as we do.
Thank you! Catching yourself is the first step to stopping a bad habit. 🙂
Erin Shebish says
I absolutely love this post!
Thank you so much!
Michelle Chouinard says
I love this post. We are all, sadly, still brought up in a society that teaches us biased gender expectations, and that’s not an easy thing to change, even in our own minds. It’s great that you saw it, and made a conscious decision to change it. That’s a huge part of what we have to do to make that change we want in society. 🙂
Exactly! I can tell people not to judge others all I want, but it doesn’t mean a thing if I’m doing it myself.
Good perspective and realization. 🙂 Another thought that I’d share in terms of creating new mindsets is thinking “okay, they’ve got a certain demographic.. what can they do, utilizing that, that we should watch out for?” Then it’s not about under/overestimating at all, it’s just about straight strategy analysis. 😉
Definitely! And I find it interesting that there are some girls I don’t underestimate and others that I do. Body type and mannerisms have a lot to do with it. Maybe I should use this to my advantage and use some of those mannerisms so the other team underestimates me! 😉
You shared so many great points! I really enjoyed this post!
Thank you! 🙂
As much as we wish we were perfect at being the person we hope to be, years of mental re-training are necessary. It’s easy to fall back in bad habits, but acknowledging them and righting them is half the battle.
Definitely! It’s a tough process, but I’m glad that I’ve at least started catching myself.