I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but I wasn’t really a feminist before my divorce. I was one of those people who assumed all feminists were feisty, bra-burning, man-hating maniacs, and as a woman who enjoyed doing the housework I didn’t identify with this.
Yet now, on the wonderful occasion that is International Women’s Day, I am super proud to call myself a feminist. I even went on a date with one of those people who assume that all feminists are bra-burners recently and it ended with me crying and stamping my feet in frustration. Which was a first in a date situation. I think he enjoyed my passion for the cause!
When I was married my partnership with my husband was really insular. We had friends, but these friends were couple friends, and it was rare we’d break out to have friendships without the other. I did have friends, of course, but my best friend was my husband and I unconsciously believed the women in my life to be somewhat disposable. My husband was for life, my friends were just… there.
This all changed when we split, when I started to need the comfort of the women in my life more than ever. I remember turning up at my friend Bryony’s house about six months post-split, bottle of Prosecco in hand, and bursting into tears on her doorstep. I have slightly wet eyes thinking now how that one moment was so important to me in my induction into lifelong women friendship: it was when I realised just how important this one woman was, and would be to me, forever.
It’s a strange fact that I’ve always felt that little more comfortable in the company of men. When I was with women I sometimes felt that undertone of competitiveness and bitchy behaviour, and it made me uneasy. With men you know where you are: banter, pints and inappropriate comments.
Perhaps it was the split with my ex-husband that brought the change in my attitude? After the divorce it completely switched. I relied on women more and altogether started enjoying their company. A raucous night with a woman over a bottle of Sauv Blanc vs banter over beers? No contest.
And that’s the way it’s remained. I’m so happy to have strong female friendships on my life: I know that, should I need to call them weeping with a huuuge issue (and I often do!) that they’ll thoroughly be there for me. There’s still work to be done – when you’re a mother (me) and wife (them), or if there’s an ocean in the way, it can be tricky to get together, and I have friendships of days past that I want to re-discover. But we’ll get there: until we can be available in person we have Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
God bless the internet, am I right?
There’s also the power of inspiring women that I never considered before. Coming from a corporate world where most of my bosses were male, looking to women leaders has been a new thing for me. Yet I can’t tell you how exciting it is, how inspiring and energizing I find it to meet these powerhouses of creativity who are following their hearts, juggling families, friends and relationships to make it big and to carve new pathways.
Women: we are AMAZING.
I spent today with a bunch of inspiring women who I know you’ll love. Thanks to Eastpak I was on the road (with women cabbies!) in London, dropping in on tattoo studios, social enterprises, flower businesses, leading chefs. ALL WOMEN. More about them another time, but let me leave you with a big warm Who Run The World? and an altogether feminist IWD high five.
We still have a way to go, but man does it feel good to be female.