Conditioning

Now that LadyNews has finally caught up with the real world, and joined Twitter, I get the benefit of the super-awesome wisdom of some rockin’ feminists. This tweet from Natalie summed up something I have been thinking about a lot lately

Just because I identify as feminist, it doesn’t mean I have successfully shed all the conditioning I’ve been subjected to.

Lately I have been berating myself a lot for being a ‘bad feminist’, because I have noticed a lot of things I do and patterns of thought that I have, and they’re things I don’t like and don’t feel are representative of where I’m at with my feminism. But this tweet reminded me that some things, especially ones that take years to build up, aren’t broken down as easily as we would like. Years and years of endless conditioning isn’t something that disappears overnight, and I feel that for me it might take as long to shed as it did to become entrenched in the first place. So, shedding of my conditioned thoughts and behaviours and responses is still a work in progress. But I think awareness of this is the key, really.

Also, when I think ‘I am a bad feminist’ thoughts, I remind myself that ‘bad feminist’ is just part of my conditioning to think that I have to be perfect, and that small flaws are major, and that I won’t ever be good enough. And that’s something that is a huge part of what girls and women are being taught to feel. ┬áSo, I’m happy to give myself a mental slap on the wrist whenever I call myself a bad feminist.

2 Comments

  1. Amanda says:

    Right there with you!

    I’ve spent a lot of this year unpacking body issues. I’ve also come to the realization how AWESOME women are, and I’m finding them much easier to write about in my fiction. It does my head in some days how I’ve been conditioned to see women as other, less or uninteresting.

    Learning to love myself has gone a long way towards learning to love other women in my life.

    • steph says:

      Solidarity! It’s the best. That’s one of the reasons Natalie’s tweet meant so much, because it’s incredibly reassuring to know that other people feel the same way, and deal with similar issues.