Finding My Voice
Up until quite recently, I believed that I had been granted a certain privilege in the sense that I, as a young woman in the modern world, have found my voice. Being able to speak freely about my ideas and opinions was something for which I felt a sense of gratitude towards my community for granting me the opportunity to do.
I certainly am incredibly grateful that I feel secure enough to speak freely without facing persecution, especially recognizing that there are many girls and women around the world who do not have that ability. Yet, I have come to realize that I should not be seeing it as a privilege, or something which I have been granted. It is something which belongs to me, a fundamental human right that I have simply exercised.
My voice, my ability to be heard as an equal in both intellect and eloquence, is a birthright, something which I have and should be able to experience without the need to feel indebtedness. A right in the same way that one does not feel privileged that our government does not impede on our democratic rights: we expect it. This is not to say that I do not feel incredibly sad for those who don’t have those rights upheld, but one can learn not to take something for granted while at the same time understanding that they have a fundamental right to it.
Once we, as women, learn that we should expect equality, rather than cherish it as a rare commodity, we will have taken a large step. American feminist writer Audre Lorde once said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own” and that fight is still being fought today. Although it may be true that I, as a young woman in Canada, experience a freedom of expression, that does not mean that I am truly free. So long as women around the world have to view the ability to be taken seriously as a privilege rather than a basic human right, we are all, in a sense, shackled.
And that, in essence, is why I call myself a feminist.
Amelia H, Allard, ‘20