I was encouraged to write this down by the following situation: I`ve decided to go to the debate that was within the FemiNis festival with the same topic, My Personal Feminism Story. It crossed my mind what would I tell and how would I describe my feminism. Here`s what I was thinking.
First of all, I must emphasize that I believe that each of us women has hers own feminism and that she`s aware of it, as much as she needs it or as much as she wants it, or even as much as it`s allowed to her. As a talent ... you`re born to be a painter, but in your life you don`t use your talent, because you don`t need it, or you don`t want to do that, but the talent is there all along, just waiting for the moment to wake up, because it fell asleep from your forgetfulness. Well, yes ... how my talent woke up, m, I mean my feminism? From the day I was born, I was very silent and shy girl who would rather cry than laugh. I grew up in a middle-patriarchal family. It looks like this, your mom and dad are equal in sharing decisions about all important things, but the father is the one who leaves the house, earns money, watches matches and movies, sometimes buys drink for guests and helps with the math (which I didn`t like), on the other hand, mom carries everything on her back: neat house, preparations of meals, helps with homework, and temperature and pox and lice, the first friendships and the first love ... So in my family we talked about models from the magazine "Burda," about recipes, which pepper is good for chutney this year, that I need to wash the dishes first and after that I can go out and play, etc. ... So, we talked about everything (if we were joking) and about feminism ... I haven`t got a clue that that term even existed, especially what it means.
I heard this term for the first time from my Marxism professor in the gymnasium. So, I was 16, 17 years old. I was totally confused. But I liked the professor a lot, her way of talking to us and how positive she was and always with the smile on her face and her style was very interesting to me, so I decided to be a little more engaged on her lessons. I didn`t get all the answers, but maybe my questions were not asked properly. So, my feminism fell asleep again. At that time, I lived "crazy years", suffering and crying because of not retaliated love, wrote, socialized. I was good daughter and a good student and nothing more. When I think about that time from the distance, I can only say that I was bored.
Interesting things in my life starts when I begin to study in 1992. Then I, also, started to work in art gallery and had an opportunity to meet different people and listen to them (I always prefer to listen than to talk). Then I, also, met my friend Tanja. Well, then I really woke up and the most important thing is that I'm awake till today and I'm not tired at all and 15, 16 years passed since then. In fact, I watched a TV show where our three professors were guests: Nevena Petrusic, Slobodanka Boba Kostadinovic and Natalija Zunic. They were talking about violence against women and in the end they mentioned that there will be training for new volunteers for SOS Helpline for Women and Children Victims of Violence. I told my impressions and intentions to Tanja and we went to sign up. It was in 1996. I was very excited and when we all set in a circle and talked about our experience with violence ... uh ... but in the same time somewhere in the depths of my soul I felt that I was in the right place and that it was a place where I can do something for others and for myself. And so it was. There my feminism arose. There I matured and grew up, there I started to learn and inform myself.
Unfortunately, but maybe fortunately, I didn`t have approval from my close family. They thought that what I do is just a waste of time and who am I to be able to help someone. However, I didn`t give up, and I stopped talking about it with them. I was active, I visited workshops, lectures and seminars. I even did workshops during the air raid in 1999 with the girls from just founded "Center for Girls." I was active as I felt I should be, maybe, my feminism was a little slow and shy, but it's definitely visible. I feel it and see it. Frankly, I managed to grow up into a strong and powerful woman, to find out what my rights are and to break a lot of my prejudices. Feminism helped me to make some decisions in life and to get answers to some questions. It empowered me, gave me a voice that I can yell and shout. It gave me new experiences and new acquaintances. It gave me hope and faith in the future of the whole women's movement. That we want now, that we know a lot and that we can forever!