So the other day I got hit with a comment about when I would finally become a mother. This came from a female family member, and at the time I didn't really know how to react properly, it just left me feeling deeply uncomfortable, angry even, though I wasn't exactly sure why that was.
But maybe it was more of a joke right? After all, said family member knows I don't want kids. It really wasn't though, she was serious about it. What revolts me so about this seemingly innocent comment isn't just that I never wanted children and that the person that said it is well aware of that. It's that I'm a human being first, not a woman whose purpose is child-bearing and rearing; it was disrespectful of the choices I made and make in my own life and negates, by way of social pressure, the right to make these choices. It was a sexist comment to boot, and it hurt, still does.
Of course it's easy to shrug these kinds of comments off because it's just something people say. Except that's not true. It's very entrenched sexism that's at work here, the kind that's so difficult to work against because it's self-propagating. Personally, it took me years to realize this and to actually call myself a feminist, and all time I was living in a country (Germany) that is certainly doing its part to maintain inequality on an institutional level. Yet, I thought I didn't need to be a feminist because things were already pretty good; they weren't then and they aren't now.
I am angry about being reduced to my gender, and rightfully so. I am angry because women's issues and feminism are still seen as issues that only concern women, something men had best not get involved with. I'm angry because it's socially acceptable still to expect motherhood of everyone born with a vagina. I'm angry because I grew up thinking I needn't be a feminist because feminism wasn't necessary anymore. Most of all I am angry because you feel alone in such situations even though you aren't.