In the darkest, most damp corner of my back shed, where mildew garnishes the attic sheets and spider’s webs overlap into chains of nonagons and obscure hexagons, lives an old feminist high horse. She is steady on her hooves despite her inconceivably long, wirey horsey legs. Sometimes when I visit my feminist high horse to feed her a daily bucket of misandry, her brown horsey brow furrows at the sight of me- a young woman who looks defeated, angry and exhausted. She encourages me to hop onto her feminist high horse back and ride her all day. But I just can’t seem to reach.
A very long, long time ago, indeed, the feminist high horse lived in a magical queendom. In her queendom, the feminist high horse would parade her very long, very strong and very fine mousy brown tail to the other horses. Her average looking, yet exceptionally strong and accurate tail was made to swat and swipe away pesky man flies, who would try very hard to land on her very long, very strong body and make her feel itchy and uncomfortable in her own skin.
The feminist high horse was nothing spectacular compared to some of other horses, her abdomen was spotted black and rounder than the others, her flanks were thicker than the other horses and sometimes they would touch- unlike the other horses with flank gaps. The feminist high horse had legs that were longer and ganglier than a giraffe. She towered over the other horses and despite her less than spectacular exterior, the feminist high horse knew she had as much right to exist in the Queendom as the other flies and horses.
The magical queendom, was truly a spectacular place. When the feminist high horse felt thirsty she drank from an ever-flowing, crystal clear trough of white cis man tears*. When another horse told her that her mane looked raggedy, and curly and she should try styling it like the other horses, she brushed her hair with bristles made of micro aggressions. With every stroke of her unruly feminist high horse mane, a bristle fell to the ground and tiny bristle screams echoed in the air, “why the long face?”, “only high horses hurt their calves”, “don’t talk to horses with long legs they will steal things”, they screamed. The feminist high horse continued to brush her entire body with the micro aggressive bristle brush, in the style that made her feel most comfortable and like the confident and smart feminist high horse she is. She brushed her hair so thoroughly that all of the little bristles had fallen to the ground and could no longer affect the way she thought about her own feminist high horse body or those around her.
The feminist high horse galloped all throughout the queendom draped by a bridle of voting rights and equal parliament representation. In the queendom over 50% of the horses in parliament were feminist high horses and the Minister for mares was in fact a female high horse too, and not a stallion like the previous minister. The feminist high horse lived in a magical equine world that would not tolerate sjambok whippings and violence towards 1 in 3 mares. The feminist high horse would neigh very loudly, huff and make a great deal of noise with her hooves when other horses told her she had taken her high horse feminism “too far”. Sometimes the other horses told her she needed to go back to her stable, stop clicking her hooves, eat some hay peppered by systemic misogyny. The very strong, very clever and very fast feminist high horse never let hurtful things other horses said control the direction she would gallop in.
Until one day a stallion who was quite familiar to the very tall, and very strong high horse told her, “you need to get off your feminist high horse”. According to the stallion, the high horse had taken her feminism too far. Particularly when she told the stallion that it is not okay to enquire about another mare’s relationship status immediately after the stallion had been informed that this mare is the most successful young business horse in all of the queendom. The feminist high horse, felt broken by the stallion. She felt as if her legs had been cut in half, and that she could not trot, swat or gallop around the queendom anymore. The stallion made her feel inferior for directing attention toward the mare’s achievements, rather than questioning why she has not managed to catch a horse partner.
Just like the broken high horse, I have also been told to stop riding my feminist high horse too. I imagine these people picture us as feminist cowboys- buckling up our saddles of responsibility (because feminists are expected to solve all the ethical problems), ready to ride through the idle deserts of misandry and shoot down every man in our “warped, and extreme tunnel vision sight”, (direct quote from person who suggested I get off my feminist high horse). Who has the warped sense of reality now?
The old and wise feminist high horse, who used to sit small in the dampest, coldest and most dark corner of my shed once again stood tall and straight. She wriggled her long mousy brown tail and asked me to hop on so we can ride tall together.
Once someone tells you what you believe in, like gender equity, is inherently wrong or stupid -sometimes you start to believe it. Until the day where a woman wins a gold medal at the commonwealth games and her relationship status (or lack thereof) receives less attention than her sporting achievement or when you find out a young woman of 27 has reached a senior management position and earning of $120,000 a year in a field dominated by men and no one asks about her relationship status immediately after, that is the day I will come off my feminist high horse. Until then, you’ll find me amongst the tumbleweeds riding the feminist high horse, tall and strong throughout the feminist desert and queendom (and definitely not killing first nations people like a regular white cow boy).
*No men were harmed in the making of this story.