I love twitter. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s true. I love the stalking potential. I love the way it lets me have normal conversations when I feel like I can’t face leaving the house. I love being sarcastic about whatever’s on TV in the company of many other equally sarcastic people. I love sex-pesting members of McFly. And I suppose, if I’m being adult about it, I love the way it makes me instantly up-to-date with everything.
But lately I’ve been coming to love it even more, because I’ve been realising that it’s having a strange new effect on me. It’s making me more feminist.
Not that I wasn’t feminist before; I haven’t suddenly had all my opinions altered in the face of 140 characters. I’d just…not really thought about it before. I spent many years of my life sitting in some kind of weird academic bubble where I would drink too much wine and smoke too many Marlboro menthols and debate all sorts of stuff in an Academic Fashion without ever really thinking that it might have some application in the real world.
And feminism was part of that for me; it was good for debates in the pub, and for applying to literature, and for using to destroy people’s brains (Judith Butler is to this day better known as “Judy Melty Face” amongst my friends). But I never, even once, bothered to think about real-world applications, because I was 21 and pretentious.
And part of it is probably that I have had a stupidly lucky upbringing; I went to a good all girls school, and I was brought up believing that the fact that I was a girl was absolutely no hindrance whatsoever. So I just stomped through life without really giving it much thought, because I didn’t really see the need.
But over the past few months, twitter has been making me realise that actually all this time there has been a great big feminist sitting there somewhere in my ribcage just waiting for me to notice her. And it’s not just because of the inevitable Daily Mail anger that does the rounds on twitter at least twice a week (although honestly, who doesn’t love a bit of filthy sneaky sidebar action). It’s just the whole spirit of the place – or, at least, the spirit amongst those I follow and talk to.
I get some brilliant stuff in my timeline; really smart, really witty pieces about why FemFresh are patriarchal bastards, and about pants and work and makeup and relationships and REAL WORLD APPLICATIONS of things. And then we all sit there and form our own opinions of them in less than 140 characters. And, as will all other things that are discussed on twitter, having so few characters forces you to really work out what you actually think.
Which is how I realised that I am definitely a feminist. Maybe not a Judy Melty Face feminist, but a feminist nonetheless; one of the Caitlin Moran “will you please fuck off and stop telling me what pants I should be wearing” school. Which seems like a pretty good school to me. Least of all because everyone in it seems to have really big hair.