The feeling is all too familiar. Walking into a room, sitting in a conference, or participating in a meeting, and that lingering thought itches in the back of your mind whispering, “You do not belong here”. This pesky thought is what can leave us feeling out of place or even like a fraud in a room full of other people and honestly, it can be kind of scary. This is imposter syndrome (IS). It does not matter your background, skills, experiences, or even accomplishments, anyone can be its victim.
I was convinced that I was the only one in the world experiencing this phenomenon, and I often avoided situations where these feelings would emerge. However, there are ways to minimize the impact of IS and it is even possible to work towards a place where you no longer feel like you are a ‘fraud’ waiting to be discovered. By educating yourself, talking about it, and reminding yourself who you are, we can work towards a life where our own thoughts aren’t our worst enemies.
Growing up a Feminist
Although being a feminist is a large part of my identity and has helped shape me as an individual, there were many years where I felt a strong sense of embarrassment being associated with the term. Growing up as a self-proclaimed feminist, I was often met with eye-rolls and snide remarks that insinuated feminism is a form of misandry or radicalism.
Feminists are often mischaracterized using negative stereotypes, including that they are angry, torch carrying, bra burning social justice warriors that hate men. This false narrative discourages individuals from supporting the feminist movement. However, this piece aims to provide clarity as to what feminism truly represents.
Since I was young I’ve wanted to make a difference in this world, have my voice heard, have my voice matter. My parents taught me to be kind, compassionate, and treat others the way I wanted to be treated. They nurtured me into the strong and confident woman I am today. I thought politics was the place for me to be able to share my voice and have it matter, however throughout my own time on social media and courses, I’ve learned it may not be the space for me.
I’ve always known, but been somewhat oblivious to the fact, that women in political office face 40% more online hate than men. Yet it wasn’t until sitting in POLS 280 (Introduction to Women, Gender and Politics), that I really understood how horrendous it is. Typically, male politicians are subject to online hate and abuse related to their profession, policy, and voting choices. However, women politicians are more likely to be harassed online about their lifestyle, personality, and physical characteristics.
Growing up in Canada, I have never forgotten where I came from; my parents made sure. With most of my family back home in Colombia, events that occur still hit close to home. To begin with, it's rare for social justice issues from Latin American countries to reach Western or mainstream media because unless it's from the United States or Canada, chances are "the whole world" will not be watching. The most recent protest in Colombia against the Duque administration over tax and healthcare reform ended up reaching national news. That would not have been the case if it weren't for teenagers and young adults uploading videos of what was going on in the cities of Cali, Medellin, and Bogota to social media. Moreover, having the hashtag #soscolombia allowed for such posts to go "viral" and attract the world’s attention.
The COVID-19 pandemic has invoked a revealing test of global leadership. When looking for successful leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic, six countries stand out in particular. The women leading New Zealand, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Taiwan, and Norway have demonstrated how early lockdowns and strong communication can flatten the curve. These results suggest a strong correlation between successful pandemic plans and women in political leadership.
While there are more women heads of state across the globe than ever before, there is still a long way to go to achieve equal gender representation in politics. This article will analyze the strategies that women-led countries implemented that put them at the forefront of pandemic recovery.
On November 7th, 2020 not only did the first woman but the first woman of colour to hold a seat in the United States presidential office walked on stage in a stunning white pantsuit and a silk pussy-bow blouse. Kamala Harris walked with pride and promise across the stage, understanding what her nomination meant to the millions of girls watching. Her outfit, though seemingly a simple fashion choice, served as an important homage to the suffragists and powerful women that have come before her, paving the way for her success.
As a woman, a person of colour, and an aspiring politician, I had goosebumps watching her speak with such triumph and strength. I felt liberated.
Society’s perception of young girls’ bodies needs to change, starting with dress codes
Trigger Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault, Pedophilia, Slut-Shaming
As a collective, we have conditioned and been conditioned to encourage and force girls to become little women.
I am using the term in the very literal sense: girls as physically small womxn. I believe that most girls are never given the chance to overlap their girlhood with young womanhood or experience the discomfort of adolescence for a long period of time.
The fight for gender equality in the sports industry is far from over
The first place my parents took me after I was born was a soccer game. Needless to say, sports became a large part of my life.
My parents put me in house league when I was six years old, and if you asked me what I wanted to be when I was older, I would have said a professional soccer player. My love for the sport only grew, but when I started playing competitively, I became more conscious of the challenges and barriers faced by women in sports. Although every woman’s experience in sport is varied, some of the main challenges include sexualization and lack of media coverage. The challenges faced by Black female athletes are also unique because of how stereotypes about gender and race intersect.
The sexualization of women in sports is experienced at all levels.
How the Different Candidates’ Language Demonstrate Double Standards for Women
Note to reader: QFLIP is a non-partisan organization. Partisan-based blog posts are written from the perspective of contributors.
Watching the first Presidential debate of 2020, I had a lot of thoughts, worries, and overall confusion like many others. To quote CNN’s Dana Bash, it was a “shit show.”
Current President, Donald Trump was the main contributor to this. He never once let democratic nominee Joe Biden finish a sentence and continuously interrupted him. It got to the point where Biden told President Trump to “shut up, man.” Across social media, news outlets and other platforms, Biden was wildly praised. Everyone was proud of Biden for telling Trump the words they wanted to say.
As I’ve been completing my environmental science degree and have been working with groups who advocate for environmental justice, my passion for environmentalism has flourished. So as I sat down to write for this blog, I felt out of place. It wasn’t the writing that felt daunting as I’ve written multiple articles and blog posts for various environmental groups before. It was the theme of feminism, as this is a feminist journal.
While I identify as a feminist, I have always focused my activism on environmental issues. Perhaps this is due to my realm of education, or maybe it’s due to a subconscious feeling that I should limit my focus to a concentrated impact. Whatever the reason, it felt like a daunting task to write for a platform filled with amazing women who so strongly advocate for feminism.
How my family conversations around not wanting children opened me up to unwarranted criticism
I still remember the conversation I had with my grandmother that brought her to tears. It was in the evening while we were sitting around the television when the topic of having children in the future was brought up. I told her—I don’t want kids, I have no intention of bringing them to the world.
My grandma started tearing up, “you don’t mean that,” she said.
For many years I have been adamant on not wanting children for the sake of a career. As a politics major, staying busy and rejecting that homebody lifestyle has always been a part of my plan. My career goals have remained as ambitious and time consuming as ever, not proving ideal to raise children in my future. Yet, every time I express my desire to abandon motherhood for the likes of a career and other ambitions, it is often met with criticism.
I started off writing a piece on the role clubs can play in doing antiracism work on campus. In light of the Black Lives Matter movement and subsequent discussions about racial justice, I firmly believed that as spaces led by and made for students, there were clear steps we could take to change the culture at Queen’s campus—especially as a predominantly white institution. I wanted to write about my discontent with what I saw as a tone-deaf decision made by a club I was a part of regarding taking stronger actions against racism. In doing this, I hoped the piece could serve as a guideline for others looking to take action at the club-level.
I did write that piece, and in reading it several times, I realize that I was wrong. I was wrong to believe that there is a specific list of actions each club can take to challenge systemic racism. I’ve learned that antiracism work is deeply personal, as our own lived experiences inform our perspectives and response to the world around us. If this is the case and we are all at different places, how can we expect to distill the possible actions that need to be taken down to a select few? Perhaps it can be done, but I don’t believe that I am the person to do this.
When I was in my second year at Queen’s—my first year as a sparkly new politics major—a new conference popped up, run by two incredible women from my own year. I have to admit that when I first heard about QFLIP, my desire to attend the conference was my second thought. Because my first thought was “oh my god how did they do this already, I am so behind.”
While I was really excited for a conference that combined two of my biggest passions (politics and girl power), I originally let myself be bogged down by the fact that these two awesome leaders seemed years ahead of me in ambition and general together-ness, and we were the same age.
How could I be behind already? How would I ever be like them?
Girl Boss. ShEO. Boss Lady—all of these names have hit popular discourse and for good reason. The push for gender parity in the workplace has completely shifted in the last decade, as women choose to forgo staying at home and are taking over the working world.
Although this movement towards workplace empowerment is important, it is critical to consider what this means for stay-at-home moms, or the concept of motherhood in general. Since the 1950s, the birth rate has almost halved, which has a positive correlation with the increase of women in the workplace.
Countries where women’s rights movements have grown see a significant drop in their population replenishment rates, or even the age at which women are choosing to have children.
Notes to reader: Discussions of representation in this context refer to descriptive representation, i.e. the physical presence of diverse bodies. Intersectionality is the understanding that there are interconnections between facets of identities and associated oppressions that combine to create various forms of power and privilege.
I’d like to preface the following by noting my own privileges — I am able to receive a university education, I am able-bodied, I am cis-gendered and heterosexual. I’d also like to note that discussions of race can feel uncomfortable and maybe even antagonizing at times, however, to brush the “race card” under the rug will only result in the perpetuation of oppression and adversity.
Being a racialized female puts you at a specific intersection where you often have to pick if your skin colour is more important than being a woman.
I frequently think back to the time that I told an attorney that I had interest in becoming a lawyer. At eleven years old, I confidently declared that being a lawyer was the right path for me and eagerly waited for what I hoped would be an encouraging reply.
He lowered his voice and said “being a lawyer is a tough place for a woman. There are a lot of late nights, what’s going to happen to your marriage? And what about kids? It’s extremely difficult for a woman to maintain a home whilst being a lawyer. And with all those late nights, there is ample chance for you to be taken advantage of and sexually assaulted. Why worry your pretty little head? Pick something less stressful.”
I was stunned with his reply. At eleven years old, the first concerns that were being thrown my way were already classifying me into a role where I was expected to consider being a wife and a mother before my own career. Even scarier, is that I was told by choosing a career with late working hours I was making myself available for the possibility of such assaults.
In mid-October, a memo went public outlining the Trump administration’s plan to legally define sex and gender as inextricably tied to one’s genitals. If implemented, this will justify giving more power to doctors, psychologists, and discriminatory individuals to commit violence against transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people.
While this policy’s attempted removal of folks’ self-determination is upsetting, many of us in the LGBTQIA+ community weren’t surprised by it. Unfortunately this violence’s legal and social manifestation is not new—not to Americans, nor to queer, transgender and intersex Canadians.
The definition of identity may be within the legal boundaries of the United States, but as biological determinism, it lacks borders.
So while we support our friends in the States, we cannot position ourselves as a safe haven for “diversity” the way we often do. To do so is to ignore that transgender and intersex folks in our communities exist under very similar systems of domination.
This thought process began when I first read a quote from a blogger I’ve been following for a while. She expressed how she has always been fearful of coming on too strong— being too much to love, too much to handle, or simply too much to deal with. However, it wasn’t until she said something along the lines of refusing to be watered-down tequila because she’s one hundred proof, that I was sent down a vortex of thoughts.
I, too, have worried about being too much or too overpowering. I held back certain aspects of myself in order to reserve popular public opinion to avoid being “too much”. This was never a conscious effort; it was simply the way it was. I would be written off as shy, and when I became close to people, they soon realized their first impression of me is not always the way I am.
Hello, my name is Gabrielle Koenig and welcome to Feminism on Tap, QFLIP’s very own blog! I created Feminism on Tap because of my yearning for a space where individuals can articulate their thoughts regarding empowerment and feminism, and how this intersects in their lives. I think there is such beauty in vulnerability, and spaces where free thinking is encouraged should be integral. I wrote our inaugural piece “Unwavering Empowerment” as a means to express my own journey with our readers and hope that at least one person finds inspiration within it.
"Feminism on Tap" was meant to signify that your thoughts for this blog can be free-flowing - covering serious topics or fun and happy ones as needed. If you'd like to be a part of opening this tap and letting the feminist thoughts flow, feel free to send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.