A school play… made me a feminist

Standard Issue writers are exploring when they knew they were feminist. For Sally-Anne Hayward it was what she did with a doll in a school play that sealed the deal.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Feminism has always been a natural part of my being. I don’t ever remember thinking that my future would be any different or more challenging than that of my brother.

I don’t know if this is the way I was brought up or the way I was born. From an early age I thought of myself as an independent young woman. People would ask me if I wanted to get married and I could genuinely not understand why this was important.

I was brought up in a traditional household where my dad went out to work and my mum kept house. I was neither desperate for a life like this, nor was I repelled.

I like to be reassured by the knowledge that I can keep myself financially, socially, emotionally and spiritually. It can be tough though, even in 2016. Today, I noticed the man I’d paid to take my compost bin and compost away had taken the bin but chucked all the compost behind the shrubs and into my miniature pond.

I was incredibly frustrated by this and also adamant that he wouldn’t have done this to a man. However, I sent him two texts signifying my displeasure and he is going to call me tomorrow to discuss. Watch this space.*

I often wonder what people will be saying while looking back at photos of all of us in 100 years’ time. I think they will be saying, “I can’t believe that people cycled among traffic.” But I also want them to be saying, “What? Women were paid less than men for the same job? Can you repeat that, please. I just can’t get my head around it. And, sorry what now, the royal baby gender in line to the throne thingy wasn’t changed until 2011? Can we get some coffee over here? I need to sober up. I know I haven’t drunk any alcohol.”

If there was just one moment when I knew I was a feminist then it must have been when I was playing the part of ‘Sarah’ in a primary school production. I can’t remember what the play was called, but my character was pregnant and had a baby behind a wooden box (the box, I think, was symbolising a house).

I went behind the box with a cushion up my jumper and came out minus the cushion and plus a doll (child). I then immediately handed the doll to another character to look after and stated, “I must get to work.”

From the audience, I heard my mum say, quite distinctly, “Oh, that’d be right.”

*He never called and I couldn’t be fucked to chase it up.

Read about more of our writers’ feminist lightbulb moments here.


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Written by Sally-Anne Hayward

Sally-Anne Hayward is a comedian, writer and dribbling fool. She reckons she has got 30 years tops left on this earth so enjoy her while she is still rabbiting on. www.sallyannehayward.co.uk