Hello there, and welcome to the club.
I have been trying to write this introduction for ages. For over a year. For over a year I have been sitting in front of my computer staring at the blankness of this page. That’s a long time to have that hideous blinking cursor winking at you. I started planning this site before the last presidential election. That feels soooooooo long ago. I have been paralyzed with stage fright, and self doubt. There have been so many times that I have wished to have a place to share, to vent, to mobilize, so today I am just going to start.
When I first envisioned this project, it looked a little different than it does now. I have no doubt that it will continue to grow and change. At first I was hoping to carve out a space online to celebrate the girls who don’t fit in. I want this club to embrace young people on the precipice of womanhood who are feeling the crushing weight of the world trying to form them into something they don’t have to be.
As I tried to define a club about that, I began to think about all of the people who feel that weight. I really want to talk about puberty, and about how it changes you in ways we don’t discuss with our girls. Really though, It’s not just getting your period that makes female adolescence a hellscape. I also want to reach out to people who were not born biological females.
As I tried to define a club for all women, I began to think about they way we treat boys on the precipice of manhood. They need a place in this club too. We all need a supportive place to explore our identities.
I have been a feminist my entire life. I know people have a hard time with that term. I have been sitting in my chair, meditating on that blinking cursor for so many months, trying to come up for another word for this club. Just like I urge my daughters to call an elbow an elbow and a vagina a vagina, I must call this philosophy of mine feminism. It’s scary, because it’s coded. There a 100 million memes about the angry feminist. There are many preconceived notions about feminism.
I can fumble along trying to explain, but I think I will direct you to the wise words of Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie from her essay, We Should All Be Feminists:
Some people ask, “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general – but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem should acknowledge that.
It feels impossible to address the failings of modern feminism by myself. I know that’s why I have been stuck. I want to include everyone, I want to avoid making mistakes and hurting others with my ignorance. I know that’s going to happen. I am only human and this is some heady stuff. It finally dawned on me though, THAT’S WHERE THE CLUB COMES IN. I can’t do it alone. I hope to reach out to everyone. I want you to share your viewpoint and your words of wisdom. I will be posting submissions guidelines, and I hope that you will get involved.
To once again quote Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
I would like today to ask that we should begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier woman who are truer to themselves. And this is how we start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.
I can’t wait to start this project and hit publish on this post. Mostly so that I can move on from the dreaming stage of this project and get to it! I’ll leave you with this video and song that so well capture the spirit of my thoughts and indeed this project. Because you know, “this is pretty nuanced stuff” and “it’s so hard to navigate this crap.”