Feminist at the age of three

I have been a feminist

since the age of three.

 

Before I could read the word

before, even, I had heard of it,

I knew that life was rigged –

that I was not in the position of privilege,

and my two siblings would walk a path

that was free from the hurdles on mine.

 

I learned at three.

 

It was fine that I had brothers,

and that the sister was me,

but I did not know that these were gendered terms.

Being me was fine,

for I did not know

I was not like them.

 

My sibling saw that I wasn’t like him.

At the age of shared baths,

he said, “is she broken?”

The answer we were told

I had not known,

and I wanted to disagree.

 

Mother taught us:

You are different

because he is going to be a daddy someday,

and someday, you

will be a mommy.

 

Stop!

I don’t want to be a mommy someday!

I want to be a daddy too!

I am going to be a daddy someday!

Why not me?

 

I was adamant.

Me at three.

I had opinions,

I didn’t like being told my inescapable future.

It seemed cruelly unfair.

 

Daddies had opinions,

and mommies didn’t,

and I wanted to keep mine!

So it was a daddies life for me,

but they told me no.

They told me I was going to be a mommy,

and that was that.

 

My poor mom,

maybe she thought I loved dad more.

That’s not why, though.

It’s what I had seen

about who makes the decisions,

about whose happiness comes first,

about who supper waits for.

 

I hadn’t gone to kindergarten,

much less learned about equitable work

and gender roles,

yet,

I wanted to be a daddy,

and it wasn’t because I liked his clothes.

 

I craved something that he had,

although I couldn’t name it at three,

and still struggle to pin it down now.

Did I see men as powerful?

Did I want to have authority?

What did you see, little feminist me?

 

I wanted to hold my own voice,

to be the only seal that stamped my words –

as genuine, as real, as truthful, as worthy.

I wanted to be human.

And human only.

 

 

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