It has been a year since I first created BRAg, and what a year it has been for this blog, myself and our incredibly misogynistic world! My first post (excluding the introductory post) detailed the Women's March on Washington and a year since that event women STILL have countless reasons to protest with the same vigour we did last year. I guess this ever relevant image should have clued me in on that lol.
I did not expect my blog to change the world but I did expect it to be a medium by which I may share my ideas and what I learn with others, enlightening them on the pervasiveness of sexism in our society. And, to the glory of God, I can say I have been successful. Thank you to everyone who has read and continues to read my posts, thank you for sharing with your friends but thank you most of all for supporting me and encouraging me. There might be only 4 other people out there who actually care about this blog but that my work means anything to anyone is enough to keep me going.
I want to say a few thank yous, so please bear with me as I go through my Oscar's speech.
Firstly, thanks go to Dede for coming up with my cool logo, he really was one of the first people to make it feel real. Next up, my amazing supportive friends and family, who cheered me on before and during BRAg's launch, and continue to support me now. Of those friends, a special thanks go to Tofe and Ore who have both proofread almost all of my posts, so I'm sure I'm not shelling or spewing trash. Thank you to Fike who became part of this team, having someone alongside me in this saved us from crumbling! And shout out to Feyi and Ore who ran the IG story through two interesting events at their uni.
Thanks go everybody who has contributed to the blog this past year, without them this blog definitely wouldn't have been the diverse bank of knowledge I set it up to be. I truly appreciate each and every one of you and your brilliant posts, thank you thank you for being a part of this with me!
Finally, PRAISE GOD for, like, everything!! For the idea, the motivation, the support, the wins... everything! He really blessed me with this, I'm so grateful.
And I cannot forget to thank BRAg. I have learned so much this year thanks to this blog. I have become more sensitive to social issues, more receptive of criticism and alternative perspectives and more alert to patriarchal modes of oppression. I have learned more about myself, what interests me, what bores me, my skills and my maybe-you-shouldn't-bothers... I have also learned some cool new words, androcentric being my favourite. Seeing as this year has been characterised by learning, my primary aim for this blog has been achieved *takes a bow*, I want to use our first birthday to share with you some of the new knowledge, understanding and, dare I say, wisdom I have gained. I definitely still have lots more learning to do, but here is where we are at so far:
1) "It's everywhere, don't run from it... Go towards it... It's your friend"
Although the patriarchy is NOT our friend, I have learned that it is EVERYWHERE, I shouldn't run from it, I should go toward it and I should talk about it. I have written posts about rape, about rap, about religion, eating disorders, and even about the Japanese Imperial line of succession. These topics seem to have very little to do with each other but they have all been relevant to this blog. Why? Because patriarchy isn't just evident in wage gaps and rape culture, it is the foundation upon which our society was built so everything within it must be questioned.
2) Just because you 'know' doesn't mean others do.
Even though I am doing a very shoddy job of it, I have learned that I need to be more understanding of people who don't see things the way I do. Because I know what it feels like to be Grace, I need to understand that not everyone will. I am done with expecting everyone to believe what I believe just because I believe it is right. That isn't to say I don't think everyone should be a feminist, but I don't expect everyone to be a feminist, not until they actually know what we know and see what we see. That can't be achieved by me shouting you're stupid and getting blocked up and down, so I am trying to be less of a dick and more helpful, in explaining and convincing. Hopefully this year I'll do well.
3) I have learned to long for the same feminist enthusiasm from both men and women.
There is this common expectation that women should be feminists simply because they are women and women are the oppressed. I don't ascribe to this. Firstly, it implies that feminism is solely for women, ignoring the movement's ability to offer liberation for all. Secondly, we all had the same social conditioning and some women don’t actually feel limited by their gender. People argue that women must be feminists maybe because they feel like even if they aren't limited by their gender they should be more empathetic to other women, but so should men! We should hold men and women to the same standard. I actually think the whole “how can a woman not be a feminist” is rather misogynistic. Even within this social movement we have come to be more disappointed in women for doing the same thing that men do, simply because they are women. Also expecting more from women gives men more room to get away with not being feminists, and we know man people love to take that mile when you've given them an inch, I just don't think it is productive. This lesson was definitely an interesting concept to unravel so my favourite to share.
4) Talk about it!!!
I am trying not to keep all my thoughts in my head unchecked, cos I don't know it all. I have made a group where I share my thoughts and my girls will tell me they agree or will add points so we all learn more. They are also meant to disagree but we all think the same so that hardly happens lol. Beside them, I will try to engage in discussions where I have diverging views with the other party, because from there I will learn more, even if I don't change my mind.
5) related to that is looking beyond what I see.
Someone might express something incredibly dense but I am trying to not rule it out as that. I try to understand where they are coming from and see if there is any positive take home on what they have said. I learned that this was important just the other day so this change is rather fresh but it's one for which I am excited. Like "you're dumb but it taught me something".
I'm gonna leave it at that cos 5 is one of those numbers and if I don't stop now I could go on forever, it really has been an enlightening year. Thank you all for sticking with me through the first of many years of learning with BRAg, it would mean nothing without you!
We are 1!!!!