Going home for the holidays is usually never a mediocre experience. It is either horrifyingly awful and will lead to your demise or it is the best time of the year; you can unwind, talk to family members who love you, drink fine wine you’re too young to enjoy, and catch up with old friends.
However, it’s a little bit awkward to go home for the holidays wearing your feminist t-shirt and playing Eryka Badu songs in the car on your iPod. So for all of us who have yet to figure it out, here are four ways to survive the holidays as a feminist.
1. Don’t let it get to you.
I know that when my mother asks me about my feminism and makes a comment that in no way reflects any type of feminism, I am mostly hurt by the invalidation of my opinions and my beliefs. Feminism is a HUGE part of who I am as a person, so when my own mother, my flesh and blood, basically tells me what I believe is stupid, you better believe it hurts. It’s a string many of us know all too well. The best way to get past this is to just ignore it. Understand that your mother, your brother, your uncle, whoever doesn’t see things the way you do. This may not actually be okay, but in order to get through the 2-4 weeks you’re going to be spending with your family, you’re going to have to realize that for now, they do not have to.
2. Be Open, But Be Respectful
When someone asks you about your feminism and they begin to try to tell you why you’re wrong, it’s really hard not to call them stupid. It’s hard not to run to your room, grab all the books you have on feminism that yes, you have read, and literally throw the book at them. However, when this could happen, the best way to solve the problem is to explain what you think and not to get defensive when someone tells you you’re wrong when you’re so obviously right. We all hold different beliefs and the best way to get through the holidays is to respect the beliefs of the family you have, even when you don’t agree with it.
3. Take Time To Yourself When You Need It
Some of us may only see our families once a year. Some of us see them every weekend. But when it starts to really work your nerves that they are saying things to you, it’s okay to leave. It’s okay to kindly pick up your plate, scrape it off, put it in the sink, and take a walk. It’s okay to ask for some time alone. We are so used to catering to the needs of others that we can frequently forget that we are people with feelings and emotions that need care.
4. Don’t Back Down
To please other people, it’s a common tactic to renege on all of our beliefs when they are present. As women, we are socialized to be nice. We are told that we need to be nice so men will like us so we can get married and have the successful life that we are supposed to want. There are at least a billion things wrong with that argument, but it causes women to frequently, no matter how enlightened they are, to apologize for what they believe, even when they believe something that is right and true. So during these times, don’t back down. Stick to your guns. You deserve it. You’re a goddess.
We are feminists united. We deserve to enjoy the holidays.