I’m a feminist…let me in!

Being called a man insults and infuriates me. It’s hard to articulate why but being left out of playing ‘choo choo train’ with the boys in lower school meant I never really fitted in with those I had to share a toilet with. Being labelled the thing you where never allowed to be a part of is unfathomably frustrating.

To this day masculinity continues to alienate me, although nowadays it’s very much a mutual exchange of alienation – I don’t really like men let alone the gay ones. I’m too fat and camp to be considered attractive by faggots, too faggy to be considered a bloke by men and neither camp can quite get their heads around the fact I wear ladies clothes and don’t tell jokes about women’s vaginas.

Since being that ostracised fat kid left in the playground’s equivalent of no man’s land I’ve found solace in hanging out with the other sex. Girls didn’t mind the fact I gesticulated when I was telling them overly dramatic stories about my Mum’s preparation of my packed lunch – at 6 years old I knew I had found my people.

My Mum raised me with books like ‘Fat is a Feminist’ issue on the kitchen table as she battled with her bulimia. I was encouraged to sit with her friends and listen to them talk about class, I was sent to Costcutter to buy sanitary towels and encouraged to understand women with long chats with my Mum as she sat in the bath and told me what it was like to be alone, in a hospital in 1985 after giving birth and handed condom’s to stop ‘future mistakes’. I was raised with the intention of becoming the first generation boy-feminists.

My friends question my right to be a feminist  ‘…because you like women it doesn’t make you a feminist Scottee’. Wrong – I don’t like women - I relate to them and understand the injustice of misogony. I shun this idea that the reason women like gay men is because we have good taste in shoes.

I recognise that we share a similar place in society – we’re marginalised for being something that is out of our control, we have to fight and lobby for equality - its not given and we are oppressed by the same oppressor – we understand each other.

As my political voice becomes more astute and feminism becomes more pop, a strange thing is happening – I’m increasingly finding myself on the sidelines of a world that promotes equality - feminism. I’m often overlooked and left outside feminist festivals and events because I own what certain echelons of the femme movement call a penis, this somehow defines me and my stance on women’s rights – could you imagine if I made the same presumption with the vagina.

I am the proud creator of Hamburger Queen – a talent show that explores fat pride and body liberation. It has a big femme following and most of the contestants are of the same persuasion. Being fat and proud has meant the project has received a lot of press attention but when these high profile feminist festivals and broadcasters approach me to find a spokesperson for the project they all declined when I put myself forward. Of course what would I know about being a fat woman? I’ve only organised a major, non-profit arts project for the past three years that gives women a platform to explore their fat freedom.

This session is very much about hearing from women in relation to size, otherwise I'd ask you to be on there, obviously.’

As Jackson Katz brilliantly delivers in his TEDtalk on violence against women – feminism, domestic abuse and rape are men’s issues. Women know these injustices its men who need to take ownership of these issues and not switch off when they hear ‘women’s issues’. Ultimately, as painful as it is, gender equality will only be reached when men come on board.

But last month I received an email from Feminist Times asking if I would come and talk about fatness in the context of feminism – For the first time I feel like I’m allowed to be apart of the gang and this time I don’t have to pretend to like Thomas the Tank Engine.

This evening I’ve spent my jet lag recovery period watching Catlin Moran talk bollox about 'How to be a Woman' and why she’d like to wear highheels but feels oppressed by them (try the wider foot at Evans, love) and reread the string of trans phobic diatribes by Suzanne Moore and The Julie’s. I’ve come to the conclusion that us feminists have the ability to be just an gender phobic or trans phobic as the best / worst of them but if you look in the right direction you’ll find your own version of feminism that suits you.

Bryony Kimmings’ version is my light at the end of the tunnel –
Do you believe that women and men are equal? Yes? OK then you are a feminist.

Dear fellow feminists, I’m a feminist faggot femme and if you can’t get your head around that then it’s you who doesn’t believe in gender equality. 

Hamburger Queen is looking for entrants for 2014 contest - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TtSUip3TXCELNaYPEjfzreBvdeP-bYdNAhNC80iNC-E/viewform

Is Fat still a Feminists Issue? hosted by Feminist Times is this Thursday - http://www.feministtimes.com/events/

No comments: