As some of you may be aware, I am ‘Serbian’. To be specific, I am British with family members from Former Yugoslavia. If you want to be REALLY specific about my family, they are Croats who are actually Serbs because they were Serbs born in Croatia and for all we flipping know my ancestors were Turkish, and before that African, and then if you want to add religion into the mess, from Adam and Eve. And if you haven’t gathered by now – no I have no opinion in the politics of Yugoslavia, and my ethnicity is so confusing to explain that it’s just simpler to call myself human – just like everyone else on this planet.
But my Balkan bloodline comes with a whole lotta culture to it, and what happens to be included in that is anti-feminism, and namely sexism. Do you wanna know how many times I’ve been told to get married as soon as I graduate in the space of 48 hours? 7 times. No I’m not exaggerating. I’ve been told by 7 Balkaners, family or family friends, “When are you getting married then?” “oooh it’s good you’re graduating soon, you can marry!” “have you met any nice future husbands in Serbia to marry once you’ve graduated?” “You and your boyfriend will marry at about 22, that’ll be nice for you when you’ve graduated.” NO NO NO NO NO AND NO!
Do you wanna know how many times my brother has been asked or told when to get married in the past 48 hours? 0 times. Not once. Nobody has asked him. Why haven’t they asked him? He is only two years younger than me, 18, I’m pretty young at 20 so there isn’t much difference between our ages. The only thing I can truly whittle all this down to is the fact I am, a balkan woman. And as a balkan woman, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie refers to in that all famous feminist speech (y’all know the one I’m talking about!) marriage is the most important thing in my life as a woman. I MUST aspire to marriage, because I am a woman, and that is allegedly my main purpose in life as this gender.
It is firstly, entirely unfair, for any young person to be told how they should live their life and what are good and bad choices for them to make. I was told tonight, that I should become a doctor. So, the same man that told me to get married, and that being a feminist would lower my potential in finding a husband, that I should become a doctor. Hey, at least he is all about women doctors(!) but I am doing entirely the wrong degree to be a doctor, and right now I don’t want to be a doctor. So why should I be told what to do, and what would be the least disappointing thing for me to do in his eyes?
Everyone is entitled to their own choices in life. Nobody should be told how to live their life, and people should be free to be able to do whatever they want and feel like. It’s that persons life, not yours, there is no need to dictate it, you go ahead and live your own and don’t push your own expectations of other people onto them. Nobody deserves to feel like they should please people to be successful, but to please themselves only in order to be truly happy and successful.
Secondly, it is also unfair to be made to feel like a disappointing woman, for both being a feminist and not wanting to marry at the age of 22, or to have marriage as my main goal in life. Tonight, I wore a jumper. It says…
FEMINISM- The radical notion that women are people.
At first, yes, it’s a kick up the bum to anti-feminists, so apologies I didn’t have my rack out instead like a good woman should or focus on wearing something that people would like. Personally, I don’t find the jumper offensive. I find it amusing, and great at the same time, and hope it just makes people look at it and have a bit of a think. I mean, there are definitely worse things you could have on a jumper. Like racist, sexist, derogatory comments and all sorts more.
I was laughed at for my jumper. “Feminism!? Oh no not that…” (by a woman) and the highlight of comments “Well, just for some advice you won’t attract many men with that jumper.”
q1: So my one purpose in life is to attract men now? I can’t have equal rights, opinions or wear what I like because my purpose is to attract men and by wearing this jumper it stops that from happening.
q2: You’re about 56 years old, and you think it’s socially appropriate to tell a stranger who is 20 years old you’re offensive “advice”, what?
q3: So wanting equal rights is unattractive?
q4: So if I came to this party with my rack out, people would be elated to know at least I didn’t wear this jumper?
I do believe, it is a common thing in balkan culture, as I’ve experienced from my own upbringing and personal accounts with my family to be very male-dominant. Women are joked about, deeply sexualised and are shown that they should be constantly in the kitchen, it’s ‘their role’ as women. Men are the head of the house.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and this post won’t appeal to everybody. This is just a post, on a whim as my blog consistently is, saying that being a feminist in a balkan cultured family – sucks. I replied in jest to that man, and said “Well, the men that aren’t attracted to me by my jumper alone are obviously not my type of men.”
I don’t want to be told what my main priority in life should be, and I especially don’t want to be told it’s to get married. I am not disappointed in myself, despite maybe disappointing many members of my family that this isn’t my main ambition in life. I also don’t want to be told what to wear, specifically because it’s unattractive to the opposite sex and thus be told that I should consider how attractive I look to the opposite sex when I decide what I wear for the day, as if that too is a priority.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But nobody is entitled to dictate how other people should be living their life, what they should believe or think. And nobody should share their utter disappointment in you for not being what they personally deem is the right thing to be. That counts for ALL cultures and ALL people.
I’m a proud feminist, and I will disappoint you’re expectations of me as a woman and as someone undergoing higher education. I like my jumper, and I don’t have a life plan. And for that, I’m not sorry. Not one little bit.