Thursday, March 10, 2011

Coming to Awareness Often Comes With a Click Moment

Daisy is a hippie grandma, feminist, vegetarian and lifelong activist, living in South Carolina.  She blogs at Daisy's Dead Air

Back in the 70s, the old Ms. Magazine had an informal sort of "essay department" in which women wrote in describing their "click" moments.

The "click" moment was the second it all came together for them; the moment they "got it"--a feminist epiphany.  The concept of the "click" was that you could take a mental photograph of the moment and preserve it.  Your woman-centered awareness was frozen in time and place, like a Polaroid snapshot.

Some "click" moments:

:: One young mother was shocked when her little girl said, "I don't want to be *anything* when I grow up.  I'm going to be a mommy instead!"

:: One professional woman lovingly described the house of her dreams, which she had finally saved up to buy at long last... only to be informed by the bank that she had a wonderful husband who would buy such a lovely house for her.  (note: she didn't have a husband)

:: Other women remembered the moments their young sons turned to them and demanded drink refills, or ordered them around like servants.

:: One accomplished scientist (who had once believed feminism was "too strident") described coming in from field research.  All the male scientists who had accompanied her handed her their dirty towels and shirts, as if she was the maid, to wash them.

:: One woman arrived at a podium to give a speech.  The event organizer began giving stage directions to her husband, assuming he was the one giving the speech.

:: And one of my favorites:  a man entering an office full of women and asking "Is anyone here?"  (Obviously, he meant, you know, real people, not an office full of females.)  I have encountered this one myself.

I wish I remembered more of them.  Most were very simple moments like this, not big grandstand-moments of oppression and mistreatment.  This is probably why the "click moments" had such an impact.  These incidents occurred in an everyday context.  "Why have I never noticed this before?" -- was a common, repeated question in the hundreds of different accounts I read.    

And what about you?  Did your awareness of sexism come suddenly, in this manner, or slowly, over time?  Did you consider the ideas of feminism and then--click--something "happened" to solidify your beliefs and permanently raise your consciousness?  (What did you 'notice' one day, that you had never noticed before?)  Did any man ever turn to you and hand you his dirty laundry?  (Expect you to change a diaper, wash dishes or make him some microwave soup?)

Please share your 'click moments' here!  I would love to have another collection of these, applicable for the current generation.