by Georgia Luckhurst
One of the biggest problems many young feminists face is the blatant disrespect their peers have for them. When I first began to get interested in modern-day sexism, and began to wonder how I could change it, I was scared of how my classmates, and worse, my friends, would react. But then I realized something: I didn’t have to jump on tables midway through English Lit and yell, “I’m a feminist!” I didn’t have to grab their attention by staging massive protests outside the school gates. I acknowledge it – it’s part of who I am, a teen feminist - but mostly I spread the word quietly. I still make an impact, just in different ways to what their stereotypes of feminism/activism would suggest. So, here are a few ideas to get you started on how to make a change if you don’t otherwise have any idea how.
1) Google It: Search “Miss Representation” & read the backlogs of SPARK! We both have fantastic advice on beginning your journey–especially do this if this is your first time visiting the SPARK site! Both SPARK and Miss Representation have great lists of references and resources, including action guides, statistics, and links to partners.
2) Tweet It: Use any social media you can. If you’re worried about your peers reading your feminist opinions – though you shouldn’t be, because everyone has a right to free speech – then create a new account on Twitter etc. You don’t just have to use words, either: take pictures of sexist ads and caption them on Tumblr.
3) Blog It: If your ideas can’t be contained in 140 characters, create your own blog [ed. note: we like Tumblr & WordPress]. It’s a scary step, but it’s also hugely rewarding and leads me to…
4) Vlog It: If you’re not a words kinda person, trying making a Video Blog (or Vlog). It’s really simple, because all you need to do is be yourself and talk from the heart, so there are no worries about grammar or spelling. Once your vlog is done, post it to a site like YouTube or Vimeo to share your thoughts.
5) Create It: One of my favourite things to do is express myself through art. You can paint, sketch, make collages… I often cut up magazines and make collages to tackle negative-body image. Even if you don’t feel talented at art, or if you need inspiration, you can research some great female artists, like Frida Kahlo and Tracey Emin, and see how they made their voices heard.
6) Write It (Even If No One Sees It): One of the best ways to understand your own feminism and beliefs is to write it all down. I write poetry and stories to help myself understand how I really feel about all of it, and sometimes I even just doodle an idea. It all counts.
Whether you blog, Tweet, draw or make, remember that the most important thing about activism is getting your voices heard and helping yourself understand why you feel the way you do. If you’re angry or upset about something in this world, try to change it! I’ve found that since beginning my journey as a teen feminist, my friends have been very supportive, some of them even becoming feminists themselves. It’s wholly rewarding and exciting to be a part of a movement you really truly believe in and for every one negative comment there are a thousand positive ones. So get out there and start, because there are teams of us, including here at SPARK, supporting you all the way.