The other day I was given a free copy of the January issue of a popular women’s magazine. One of the articles was on ways to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. Of course, they mention that diet you promised to start or the quantities of alcohol you decided to cut down on. While these resolutions are all well and good, I think that there are more important issues that we can address through the promises we make to ourselves. If there is one thing my mother has emphasised throughout my life, it’s that independence is your greatest asset. Perhaps it is this independence of mind and body which has brought me closer to being a feminist than anything else. So this is a new set of resolutions for anyone who is a budding feminist.
Get educated: The greatest asset you possess is your brain. An education is the one thing that can never be taken away from you. It also leads to both intellectual and financial independence. If you can’t afford to get a formal education, your local library is free. Get reading.
Learn to say “no!”: Whether you need to say no to some guy who is pressuring you into have sex, or speaking up about something you don’t agree with, or even saying no to another chocolate bar, there is power in a simple “no”.
Re-negotiate sex: Take some time out to think about what you’re comfortable with, what more you need to in your sexual relationship to make you happy, the circumstances in which you are willing to have sex, or do any of those other things that come with it sexual relationships between people, and then stick to the decisions you make.
Take a self-defence class: South Africa is not a safe country. If the opportunity comes up, take a self-defence class and learn how to protect yourself.
Join a women’s support group: Women in South Africa need the support of other women. Domestic violence and rape are rife. We need to support the survivors, protest about what is happening and grow together as a new generation of feminists.
Contribute to a bursary for a female student: Giving a young girl the gift of education is a contribution that lasts a lifetime. You could contribute to a family’s wellbeing and help to break the cycle of poverty.
Get knowledgeable: This is not the same as getting educated. This involves learning how to change a tyre, check your oil and water, use a drill, tune a TV, change a plug and braai a steak (amongst other things). There is no greater thrill in life than doing something for yourself; especially if you always ask the nearest male to do these things for you.
Learn to ask “why?”: Just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean that it is right. Questioning why something is the way it is will allow you to see how little of what we do has reason. Women these days no longer have to get married, or have children, or even date men. We have these freedoms; now we just need to acknowledge them.
Dump your baggage: Holding onto a grudge, or refusing to forgive someone for the hurt they caused, can ruin your future relationships and make you more unhappy. Baggage also comes in the human shape. If you have a friendship or relationship which makes you unhappy, dump it.
Masturbate: Yes, you heard me. I tell all my friends to do this. Now I am telling you.
Now, after all of that, you may still find time to try a new diet, spend more “me-time” with yourself, find some time for nature, get a new gym membership or do any of those other things which women’s magazines suggest.
Have a wonderful year!