For as long as I can remember I have been a feminist. I have always believed that girls can do anything. What is there to hold them back? The answer to that question I have discovered as I have aged, and I'm not happy with that answer.
I marched in the Women's March London. It was my first time marching or protesting anything. Not because I didn't think anything else before wasn't worth protesting, merely that this warranted a 2 hour trip to London and back - it was that important. I posted on Facebook that I was going, of course. A particularly outspoken friend asked what I was marching for. After all, women were doing alright in the UK. I had to really think about my answer, other than 'well you would think that as a white British man, wouldn't you?!' At first I was scared of saying the wrong thing, or not enough. But then I embraced the questioning and worked out why I marched and why I am a feminist:
I am a feminist because no one should be stopped from doing whatever they want in life.
I am a feminist because I don't see why a girl needs a pink Nerf gun what turns into a handbag when all the rest are white and orange and way more fun.
I'm a feminist because I don't understand why there is a gender pay gap.
I'm a feminist because no one should have to wear high heels to work if they don't want to.
I'm a feminist because it shouldn't matter who you love, the colour of your skin, your religion or cultural background, the sex you identify as or how able you are; you should be treated the same as the person next to you - like a human being.
I'm a feminist because my body is mine and no one gets to touch it without my permission or have a say what I do with it.
I'm a feminist because women died for me to vote, to have rights over my children, to not be a possession.
I'm a feminist because I shouldn't automatically think of ways the defend myself when I walk down the street on my own. Neither should anyone else.
I'm a feminist because even though I like to cook and sew, that doesn't mean that that is only my responsibility in the house.
I'm a feminist because all girls deserve a full education no matter where they are in the world.
I marched for these things, I will continue to fight for these things. I was woken up by the election of Donald Trump. Even as a white British woman it shocked me to my core and made me realise there is still so much work to do. As a white woman I realised I need to pay attention to my privilege and use it to the advantage of friends who don't have that privilege- and I welcome them reminding me of it. Even though I feel we are doing OK in Britain, there is still so much to do.
I want to be there every step of the way.
My name is Joanne and I’m creative. I’m also strong minded and like doing things my way. My background is quite diverse – I’ve worked in theatre, travelled the world on cruise ships, taught teenagers, worked in the charity sector, had my embroidery exhibited around the world, supported young girls through Girl Guiding, worked for KISS, and lived in America, Germany, Italy and Britain, where I’m originally from. All the while I’ve done things my way no matter what. I’m also a feminist and a pagan and will stand up for my rights and yours – no matter what!