On days I should really be thinking of starting an imminent deadline, it is not uncommon for me to browse Button Poetry on Youtube.
One of my favourites is Blythe Baird’s 2016 slam poem ‘Pocket-Sized Feminism’, where she describes her own struggle to always wear her feminism with pride. In the poem she admits to failing to express her opinion around people who she knows don’t feel the same. When I recently re-watched it I was left questioning my own experiences of speaking out.
Baird’s line: “There are days when I want people to like me more than I want to change the world.” made me realise I am also guilty of grabbing my words out of the air before they have a chance to go unheard.
Since starting university, I have subconsciously started to wear my feminism in my pocket. I downplay my views, laugh off jokes that make my skin burn with uneasiness, and swallow my pride in the hope I will be met with a warm welcome.
Using Baird’s words as comfort I now realise it’s natural for feminists to grow tired. It is exasperating constantly arguing back, to only be met with an “actually” and a growing distant look. It is sometimes more convenient to ignore the injustice.
However, this is something we may admit to ourselves but not accept. Pocket-sized feminism does not offer any source of help for women who aren’t in a position to fight their own corner. Pocket-sized feminism is only for the women who are fortunate and privileged enough not to need feminism. Using your privilege to give a platform to people who don’t have one is part of the foundations of intersectional feminism. Even when it is uncomfortable, even when it elicits a black clash – step up.
I have since decided to be unapologetically true to myself. But, this is not something that comes ease. We have to acknowledge that it is an ongoing struggle, that we will sometimes fail, and constantly have to watch ourselves, but that even if we don’t succeed all the time it’s crucial that we try.
To check out Blythe Baird’s poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT74LH0W8ig