‘Growing up in Lithuania, I was completely oblivious to feminism. I had no idea something like that existed, and I was blind to the fact that I lived in an extremely misogynistic country. It all changed somewhere around four years ago, not with a direct encounter with feminism, but with a website called TV Tropes.
Since that website is mostly about taking fiction apart and charting all the recurring patterns, they do end up mentioning feminist criticisms quite a bit. The more I read that website, the more I realized how awful the treatment of women in fiction was. Once I got to the “Double Standards” page and read through all the examples, I was pretty much a feminist.
That caused me to go through such an enormous shift in perception, that there isn’t really anything I could compare it to. And as the months went on, that shift in perception made me to not only look at everything I read and watched with feminist eyes, but also to look at the world around me in a new way.
When I was little, my grandmother would often tell me of how her parents one day told her that they found a husband for her, and that she’ll have to marry him or they will throw her out of the house. So my grandmother decided to stage a protest and spent a few hours sitting out in the front yard, butt-naked, in the snow, in the middle of winter. It didn’t really work, though, and she did end up marrying my grandfather, even though he was a complete stranger to her, and nine years older than she was.
As a little girl, I always found that story really boring, and it was only after I became a feminist that I suddenly realized that my grandmother was forced into marriage, and how appalling that was. And as I kept thinking more, I remembered how my grandmother would sometimes walk around with bruises on her face, and how some kind of wall in my mind prevented me from realizing that my grandfather was beating her.
And I started to look at my parents with different eyes too. I suddenly noticed that even though my dad is unemployed, he just sits around watching TV all day, and once mom comes back from work, he starts shouting at her, and insulting her, and telling her to make him dinner. I started to see how when she returns home from working the second shift, he follows her around telling her that she’s prostitute, because only prostitutes work so late.
I’m a feminist because I want women to be free of patriarchal oppression. I don’t want women to live lives as those that my grandmother lived and my mom still has to live, but I have to admit that I don’t have much hope for the country I live in, feminism is just as non-existent around here as it ever was, and when I tried to explain feminism to my mom, she just declared “But men and women are already equal around here!”, despite the fact that there’s no “equality” in her life at all.
If the women of the world ever become liberated, it probably won’t happen in my lifetime, but I’m optimistic enough to hope that, if I ever have children, then maybe at least they will live to see it happen’.