This has got to be up there with the funniest things doctors have said to me regarding my ‘mental health.’ I’ve not had a totally joyous experience with doctors and what I like to refer to as my quirkiness. Today I went to the doctors because I’m a bit mad at moment and I would quite like to know what it is that has been festering in me. I said, I would like to see a psychiatrist, (the audacity) and I would like a diagnosis. I was met with the hilarious response above; ‘what would you do with a diagnosis?’ OH I DON’T KNOW. Maybe I’d dress it up, take it for long walks in the park, watch mid-nineties Hugh Grant films with it, go and get matching tats with it, I don’t know. WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT?! Thankfully I did not response with sarcastic vitriol. I said something vaguely like, I’d like to get better you know, and I can’t do that until I know what’s wrong with me. What would I do with a diagnosis? The very cheek of it.
I have oft been pondering the answer to this question, and I am regularly prodded as to why I am, usually by highly logical young males who have quasi-defensive superiority complexes about me. Over the course of this blog post I will be agonizing as to why I think I’m a Feminist, and why I even write it with a capital letter. I’m not convinced it’s grammatically correct, but let me dissect myself one insecurity at a time.
The first time I really began to consider the concept of Feminism was sat in a Prose lecture at university. The sarcastic sparrow of a man genius that is Prof Jeremy Davies confronted the cohort with ‘who here is a Feminist?’ A smattering of truculent adolescent hands curled into the air, but the majority of us kept out of it. Feminism has a bad press. No one wants to be tarred with that particular brush, too many awkward questions, too many contradictions in the way we lived our debauched little lives. I myself knew very little about Feminism (in the grown up, fiercely intellectual Norton Anthology sense of the word) at this time and as usual thought to myself, ‘shit, got to go read about that now, don’t know about that, shit, why I am I at university, why did they let me in? I know nothing, I am an empty clanging twat of a vessel, masquerading as an intellectual in this Russell Group university.’ I also probably hadn’t done the recommended reading for that lecture because I was holed up in my grotty little room watching re-runs of Silent Witness.
Anyway, moving away from the delights of Nicky Alexander and company, I snuggled down to listen to Jeremy, mightily pleased with myself that I had resisted the urge to pretend I was a Feminist and join the smug little club of what my North Nottinghamshire family would refer to as Lefty Southerners with parents who worked in Local Education. Over the course of the lecture I vaguely remember that Jeremy was highly critical of the way that a Telegraph journalist Andrew Brown had written about some judo women in the Olympics. When Jeremy read out the article, I began to understand that lots of people still see women as inferior, not so much in a ‘bitch make me a sandwich, give me a son’ kind of way, but in a more sinister, educated and deeply entrenched way that masquerades as caring or even faux-chivalry. The article can be found here. Like many people before me, and many people after me, I was part of the vague school of thought that Feminism wasn’t required anymore because we had the vote and the pill and that and it was okay now. This article set me on my merry way to needling out the intrinsic sexism and chauvinism that still exists, and it made me feel excited about something.