Growing up I never gave much thought to the word feminism or the works of feminists. Instead, I believed that feminism wasn’t needed since women in contemporary Western societies had more freedom now than at any other times in history. My beliefs about feminism were informed by the readily available stereotypes circulating in society that characterize feminists as angry women, man haters, ugly women, outspoken women, and many other negative descriptive words. Listening to the connotations surrounding feminism, I was convinced that I wasn’t a feminist, for ‘I didn’t hate men, I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t ugly; I was contented.' All this further confirmed what I already knew: that I wasn’t a feminist. Moreover, none of the people I surrounded myself with claimed to be feminists, so labelling myself as a non-feminist made perfect sense.
Growing up in Tanzania, I felt beautiful. Of course, people rarely tell you how beautiful you are because that isn’t (wasn’t when I was growing up) part of my culture. I grew up surrounded by people who mostly resembled me. Black, cornrowed or braided hair, good meat on the bone, because in my country having meat on your bones was an admirable trait, a sign of wealth and good fortune.