I am delighted to welcome the very lovely Nyomi from Nomipalony. Nyomi is a supportive blogger who is always really encouraging. I love Nyomi’s very beautiful blog in which she shares honest posts that really tug at your heartstrings! Alongside practical and informative posts, Nyomi also likes to write about feminism, which she does with passion and eloquence. Over to Nyomi.
Nyomi from Nomipalony
Do you like the term feminism?
I love the term feminism. It’s a controversial word due to some of the negativity around the previous waves of feminism, where aggressive (necessary) tactics were used to promote the cause but I find it annoying when people don’t like to identify with the term. If you don’t like it, reclaim it. Like the brilliant Caitlin Moran says, if you have a vagina and you want to control that vagina, then you are a feminist.
I think when you discount the term feminist it is a slap in the face of our feminist sisters who fought for the rights we enjoy today – like voting, or ending a pregnancy when we want or need to, or breastfeeding in public or maternity leave and pay.
We live in a patriarchal society and whilst things are better for us in the west, we still have a long way to go before we achieve equality. The gender pay gap isn’t going to close for 70 years at the current rate – meaning our daughters will never be paid the same as our sons. Our government is ages away from being representative and in America we just saw a very qualified and competent woman lose the presidential rate to a male buffoon who has never even held office and had a catalogue of PR disasters during his campaign. We have a looooonnnng way to go. And don’t even get me started on our sisters elsewhere in the world. If you want to read up on that I urge you to read Half the Sky- Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide as it is a true eye opener.
What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me is just the fight for gender equality. It’s really simple. It just wants men and women to be treated equally and fairly. It’s also a movement that fights for the rights of those who are LGBTI. However you identify in terms of your gender or sexuality then feminism wants you to be treated fairly. Or in other words, every day of the week we try to smash the patriarchy.
Do you call yourself a feminist?
Proudly. My blog is a feminist family lifestyle blog. My most passionate blog posts are ones on feminism and if you meet me I’ll definitely be chatting about one feminist issue or another within our first conversation. If people think the fight is over then they haven’t opened their eyes.
Has your outlook on feminism changed post-children?
Yes, absolutely. Firstly I think that pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding highlight a lot of feminist issues especially regarding women’s autonomy and their bodies. I didn’t like how health professionals often viewed me solely as a ‘vessel’ for my babies and didn’t take my opinions seriously. Its well documented how health practitioners don’t take women as seriously as men when we make medical complaints and this was highlighted to me during pregnancy and birth.
The whole birth system in our country gets me riled up. The biggest and most successful con I’ve ever witnessed is the way hospitals and doctors make pregnant women think that they aren’t in charge during THEIR pregnancy and labour. How many women have you heard say ‘I wasn’t allowed to do X or Y’ when talking about their births? Loads. Guess what, we are the boss, the medical staff must respect your informed choice. You get to say what you do and don’t want and will or won’t allow. Once I became aware of what coercion by ‘health professionals’ was during my pregnancies I realised how truly rife it was and I hear far too many examples of it from the birth stories of women around me.
Secondly, being a feminist and having children makes me super conscious about being mindful of how I’m raising them. Or maybe a better way to describe it is that it puts my feminist beliefs to the test. For example, I strongly believe that women shouldn’t have remove all their damn body hair on a never ending fruitless cycle (I once had a rant about that in this blog post – http://www.nomipalony.com/how-the-patriarchy-ruins-sex/) yet I still bow to societal pressure say if I’m going to the swimming pool or wearing a dress or whatever. But now I have kids I’m even more mindful of this and considering stopping shaving in front of them or shaving full stop as I don’t want to perpetuate this cycle. I don’t want my daughter’s first thoughts of growing body hair to be ones of shame like mine were. It’s a really difficult issue and I’ve not quite figured it out yet. I put makeup on in front of my daughter but I don’t want her to grow up only feeling attractive if she wears make up. The list is endless!
I find other issues like not restricting them by gender norms much easier – it’s easier for me to avoid language that restricts my son from showing emotions or being ‘soft’. I’m mindful of the toys and clothes I buy them. I’m not worried about the colours pink or blue so much but more what you can do with the toys or clothes and whether they have a broad exposure. I see lots of girls restricted by their outfits or shoes and I want my daughter to be dressed practically, whatever colour that is. I was really shocked the other day when I was dropping my 4 year old off at school and saw a girl in his reception class wearing an a-line fitted skirt so tight she had to make smaller strides and she had shoes with a heel so she was having to totter along. How can you develop and play properly at the age of 4 if your clothes are already restricting your movement?!
My daughter has shown more of an interest in dolls and cuddly toys than my son did and I don’t have an issue with getting those things as long as she’s exposed to other toys like construction toys, vehicles etc (which she certainly is through her older brother). Actually, when she was given a pink dolly for her first birthday her big brother actually became really attached to it and named it Betty and slept with it for a year.
The other thing that has made me more feminist since having children is the reduction in opportunities I’ve discovered in the workplace. If you want to work part-time, its slim pickings out there (which I recently wrote a post on here – http://www.nomipalony.com/do-you-want-more-flexible-working-options/ ) It makes you more aware of the gender pay gap and your ever dwindling pension reserves. I’ll stop there as I could go on about this subject all day but if you do want to hear me rant more about feminist topics then make sure you follow my facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/nomipalony/ My next feminist post is going to be a roundup review of all the feminist books I read in 2016 so watch out for that one soon!
Nyomi, thank you for sharing your opinions on feminism. I could relate to so much of what Nyomi said, especially her comments regarding her birth experiences. I too felt that I didn’t have my opinions or wishes listened too, and like Nyomi says, “we are the boss”, we know our bodies best! What did you think of Nyomi’s post? We would love to hear your opinions. In the meantime let’s get smashing that patriarchy
Nyomi blogs at www.nomipalony.com – a feminist family lifestyle blog from North East England. If you like raw parenting and feminist posts then make sure to follow her blog on her social media.
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We need you!
We are the real face of feminism. We are reclaiming it and redefining it. Yes, we might have children but we can still be a feminist. Us mothers want our voices to be heard too. We are part of the feminist movement. We want to be seen and heard! The Mother Feminist series is inviting all of you to share what feminism means to you:
- Do you like the term feminism?
- What does feminism mean to you?
- Do you call yourself a feminist?
- Has your outlook on feminism changed post-children?
I want to hear your opinions, ideals and feminist role-models. If you would like to get involved then please drop me an email at email@example.com
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