The most notable change in myself, before and after I became a feminist, is how I compliment other women.
Before I became a feminist, I treated compliments to other women as a weapon. It was to be used selectively, and my main thought wasn’t whether the compliment was genuine or deserved, but how it could benefit me. Could I use it as a passive aggressive insult? Would complimenting her help me get ahead by me looking like the better woman?
Now, as a feminist, I compliment other women endlessly and honestly. I compliment their work on a project and mean it. I compliment their writing and offer my help in editing. I compliment their outfits, their scholarship, their dreams and goals. And I mean all of it.
I’m happier this way. I can still compete with other women and I do my best in my own work, but I no longer engage in cloak-and-dagger strategies that, in my own mind, are meant to undermine others.
In other words, becoming a feminist made me less paranoid about other women. It was a truly great gift.