When I began identifying myself as a feminist, I never thought that the actions I partook in would be considered activism. While I knew that the label “feminist” was often associated with activism and the history which it entails, I was under the impression that one could be both a feminist and not an activist in what one may deem the “traditional” sense. Although I do believe an argument can still be made for this assertion, in my opinion, identifying as a feminist is an act of activism in itself.
When you begin identifying as a feminist, from my experience, you begin to look at your life from a different perspective. You begin seeing the discrimination, the prejudice and, possibly the worst, the casual sexism and other acts of bigotry which you may have missed before, sometimes coming from your closest friends. When you notice this, or are confronted with the question of whether or not you are, in fact, a feminist, you are being asked to defend your beliefs, and to identify with a system, a group, that has a history of activist nature. Just by saying to the casual sexist in your life, “Hey, I’m a feminist”, you are giving the feminist movement a familiar face, humanizing a strain of activism which has been demonized over the years.
This is where my identity as an activist initially took root. I didn’t so much as put myself out there, so to speak, as I was put into certain situations which called for me to speak out. I had to realize that activism isn’t just picketing outside of the capitol, it’s also being able to make a difference in your own life, even if it is just raising awareness.