Having run out of steam somewhat with last year’s monthly challenges, I spent the first few months of 2015 blog-free. Don’t think that means I haven’t been thinking about it. I’ve written many a blog post in my head in that time. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around quite where I was going with it all. Isms, it turns out, is where I’m going with it.
My flirtation with isms is a relatively recent affair and definitely began with feminism. I don’t know if it’s a generational thing, or what, but I spent most of my youth (up to around five years ago) under the impression that women had won the fight and we were all living happily and equally ever after. We can vote, can’t we? And wasn’t there some law passed on equal pay or something? And the Spice Girls pretty much confirmed it with all that girl power stuff, didn’t they?
Alas, it seems I was a little hasty in my celebration of equality. Things have improved, absolutely. We no longer have to chuck ourselves under a horse to get a say in who governs the country. We still have some way to go, though. Equal pay hasn’t quite got its shit together yet and though the Spice Girls’ message was empowering, it turns out they don’t think they’re feminists! And it’s not just women who are disadvantaged by the currently unlevel (shush, I know it’s not a word, but it should be) playing field. More to come on that.
Anyway, Earlier this year, my mum invited me to the Women of the World conference in London. I spent two days fully in awe of other women. All those wonderful women, out there making a difference. Campaigning, blogging, lobbying, and good old-fashioned, on-the-ground helping. Making things happen. They weren’t just whining about inequality, they were out there doing something about it. Amazing. Then I heard Eve Ensler’s keynote – god she’s fantastic – and a woman in the audience asked her how one might get started being an activist. Being an activist sounds intimidating and inaccessible to me, so her answer really struck me for it’s simple attainability. Start with acts of kindness, she said. Just be kind to people wherever you can and you’ll probably find a niche, a particular area of injustice that bugs you enough to do more about it. What a gorgeous idea. Then she played a video of her One Billion Rising movement and aside from being blown away by poignance of it all, I found myself thinking “I could do that!”. I teach at a local salsa night. I probably have (or could easily make) the contacts to organise an event where I live. That right there was my first flirtation with activism. The first time I felt the urge to do something, to take action, to try and make a difference. Even if just a tiny one.
That still remains a flirtation. I haven’t acted on it yet, but I plan to. The next One Billion Rising won’t be until early next year, which gives me time to get my head around how I’m going to make it happen in Bath. In the meantime, I’ll be blogging my efforts to take Eve’s advice. This is a record of my tentative (I’m still slightly intimidated by all this) journey towards activism via acts of kindness (altruism!). I’ll blog about how I get on with that, along with some musings on various isms; trying some of them out for size, exploring how they can do good things, and (hopefully) doing good things with them. Goodisms, if you will.