As International Women's Day came and went yesterday it got me thinking about my role as a woman in society. I have always positively disassociated myself with the term 'feminism'. For me it brings too many associations to the kinds of women who try to put other women out of jobs by campaigning against page 3, hold breast feeding sit ins and fail to shave their armpits. Thanks to these kind of self proclaimed feminists, I find the whole movement an embarrassment and the last place I want to be found is sheltering under the feminism umbrella.
I like to consider myself a strong, independent woman. I run my own mortgage, pay my own bills, I chose to be a single mum and I have never relied on a man for anything. I do my best to support other woman. I try to encourage sisterhood and have never gone after another woman's man. Does any of this make me a feminist? I don't know. What I do know is that when I talk of women, I talk of all women. Not just those with the exposed breasts and the big mouths, or the timid and the vulnerable, but the women suffering every day just for being born a different species to us humans.
One of the turning points in my life was becoming a mum and discovering breast feeding. I learned of pain, love, heartache and the agony of mastitis. Learning that for cows in the milk industry this is a regular occurrence made me feel sick to the stomach. That they continue to be forcefully hooked to machines and milked throughout the infection pained me. That those in the organic industry receive no antibiotics to keep things organic horrified me. Finding that the cycle of producing milk involves them getting raped with a human fist to artificially inseminate them and impregnate them, only to have their newborn stolen a day after birth to be raised into the cycle if female or killed if male, then have her breast milk forcefully stolen until she can give no more and is ready to go through the whole torturous process again. As a woman the thought of rape frightens me and I cannot bring myself to imagine what having my newborn taken from me would be like , just the thought is agony to me.
I'm vegan because I care for other women, whatever their species. As a maternal creature, I feel the pain of other mothers, other females, other sisters. Whilst I would never want to call myself a feminist, I struggle to understand how others can call themselves one whilst playing a part in the suffering of other women by supporting industries such as the dairy and egg industries.
Aaron Tilley, owner of Blood Tight Apparel, put it better than me yesterday when he said
"Funny how people only care about women humans and not the women animals that are forced into pregnancy like cows that then have their new born taken away so they don't drink the milk humans want. Depriving them of that mother child bond then to be hooked up to a machine to be sucked the crap out of for years until she runs dry. Then off to the slaughter house. Don't pretend to give a fuck about female life if you ignore the fact thousands of females are abused every day. After all you are celebrating the gender that gave life to us all. Celebrate all life."
It's ok if you want to be a feminist, it's ok if you don't want to be too, it doesn't really matter what label you choose to adopt, if any, but be for all women rather than just the human kind. After all we are all just sisters walking the earth in one way or another. A true woman's love should extend to all.