[Written By: Rachel Shnapp]
[Picture taken by: Erin Robinson]
Throughout British history, it was believed that some women were witches – and for this ‘crime’, they were killed.
Now we know that this claim was made up by various political and religious powers who felt threatened by women (Thomas Lolis asserts this, among many other historians). Even though I know for certain that women aren’t witches, I do believe they are magic, in a way.
Studying English, there was only so much time that would pass before I, like most of my classmates, became wrapped up in feminist theory. De Beauviour, Butler, Braidotti, Cixous, hooks – you name it, I’ve probably read it. It was through reading these writers that my thoughts came together, and I began to understand how and why women are treated the way they are. I also began to understand what could be done to change that.
I always knew there was something wrong about the contrast between things that girls ‘could’ do and boys ‘could’ do. I remember getting into my first (and last) fist fight with a boy in primary school because he said boys were better at football than girls. I remember being infuriated that girls had to wear tops or bras under their shirts in high school; skirts of a specific length; shoes of a certain style, whereas boys were far less imposed upon. Even worse, I remember teachers seating girls in between badly behaved boys in classes to act as a barricade for their disruption. I remember the first time I was wolf-whistled at, when I was about 13, by much older men driving past me. The list goes on, but all these moments (and there are many), that I feel infuriated by, have given me the opportunity to reflect on why these things occurred, and what I can do to try stop them happening again.
Every day, Women are fighting ideologies that work against them, that aim to supress them, demean them, disrupt their daily lives. Women fight for themselves, they fight for other women, they fight for people. Women are magic. To celebrate this, I want to say a special thank you to some of the women who have taught me valuable lessons about what it means to be a girl:
To my 1st year maths teacher in 2007, thank you for proving to me that girls are just as clever as boys.
To the woman I saw in a club in London in 2012, dancing in trackies, a hoodie, and white Air Max. Thank you for teaching me that I can wear whatever I want whenever I want – the choice is mine.
To Petra Collins, who I discovered in 2015, who has inspired me to aim as high as I can in my career goals.
To all the women in the Me Too campaign who showed me how powerful women can be.
To my family, from my first day and every day since, for showing me how diverse the word ‘girl’ is, for showing me that women can achieve whatever they want to.
To all women, thank you for showing me that women are magic.