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Handbook versus Report

I’m a woman and, in the jungle of a male-dominated world, I often appreciate a safe haven. Can feminism please not become another place where I feel I need to perform, be a super-hero and always get things right. Can I please not develop some concept of being a “good” feminist or a “real” feminist or a “true” feminist. So many things in life already have these imposed (and often ridiculous and inaccurate) gradations, our bodies, our hair, our careers, our vaginas and so on. Recently in a conversation I saw how easy it is to look at someone who says she or he’s a feminist and judge them, if you were a real feminist then you would…if you were a true feminist then you wouldn’t…

I can understand that if my actions consistently do not match my declarations then something is definitely amiss. But gender oppressions are both blatant and insidious. I find I am constantly grappling with myself, the ideals I hold high and the gap between having those ideals and fulfilling on them. I am a feminist but there is no way in which I could profess to being the poster-child for feminism. There are times I compromise myself, succumb, sell-out. I don’t appear to know where I put my handbook on life and what to do in every single moment, how to always be true.

The only thing I have is mostly unsatisfactory because it is not a handbook but a report on events already happened. The handbook would ensure I always come out tops, I make no mistakes or very few and I always always look good. The report goes over what happened, the mess, and attempts to put things in place that help for the next time. Except there’s seldom an identical next time, only a variation if you’re lucky or, more likely than not, something not even from the same family.

As a feminist, as a human being, I compile reports. They aren’t sexy. I mostly look an idiot coupled with intense moments of regret at the misplacing of the blasted handbook. So why am I telling you all this? Well, I’m running out of report storage space and I’m not quite ready to digitise – can I drop some boxes off at your place?

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