Turning 30 is a pretty major milestone; it's one of those birthdays where large parties, floods of presents and many bouquets from besotted admirers seem to be in order. And as a woman and a feminist, I'm here to offer some additional
30th birthday ideas that will make your party a feminist-as-heck celebration of women, yourself included. Who needs cake when you can smash the patriarchy? (I mean, that's a trick question. You can smash the patriarchy and eat cake, too.)
Chances are that, as you enter your 30s, you're finally getting some things figured out: what you want, what you like, how to answer back when your Aunt Gladys asks for the fifteenth time why you're still single (or insert any number of incredibly irritating comments about your personal life here). With the new year and new decade, your birthday celebrations are a chance to reflect on your reality, and embrace what it means to be a grown-ass, empowered, feminist woman. You deserve the time to take a look back on the ways you've been an ally to women, the ways other women have supported you, and how you're going to keep your feminism going strong into your fourth decade. Bonus points if you crack open a piñata in the shape of a mansplainer, and discover candy and
Did you ever think about how
failing can be a feminist act? If women are given the chance to do something, we'd better do it perfectly — better than perfectly — or we're seen as letting down our entire gender. If men mess up, they get second chances, new movie deals, fresh opportunities. To highlight how ridiculous this double standard is, fail brutally at something to cement your status as a grown-ass woman. Invite your friends to fail, too — and support each other as you get back up again. In practical terms, you can do this by taking a class at something you think you'll be terrible at (pottery! baking! underwater basket weaving!). If you succeed then, hey, there's a new skill, and if you fail, that's a new skill, too. Win-win.
Women have had their
tones policed for centuries and still do today, told to be meeker and quieter and less volatile, to express themselves "nicely," because fury in a woman's voice is seen as unpredictable and threatening. Well, too bad. For your 30th, stop caring about whether other people find you "aggressive" or loud. Have a screaming party. Howl at the television. Yell at the news. Make some noise.
Volunteer For A Feminist Cause
You're in your 30s, so hopefully you have more time or money than you did before (even though chances are you're
working for less than your male counterparts). Be the anti-patriarchy capitalist you want to see in the world, and start doing some philanthropy. You can donate your money or your time to any number of amazing feminist organizations that need your help, either internationally or right in your backyard.
Support Women's Art & Ideas
Here's a bit of truth: the world is full of talented and amazing women, historical and contemporary, who want to show you things they've made. As you turn 30, be unashamed in supporting the female artists and creators you love, whether they make podcasts, films, images, music, books, technology, or some 20-ton display in a gallery that you can't quite figure out but is definitely going on your Pinterest wishlist. Go gallery hopping with your BFFs and support a living artist. Fill your walls and shelves and don't forget about
Patreons and Kickstarters to fund the creators and thinkers of the future.
I will stand up for the right for women to be frivolous until the day I die. Too often, it's been argued that women who want to be "taken seriously" should only confine themselves to topics and interests that have been declared to be acceptably "serious" — that's if we're allowed to be serious at all. Women, however, contain multitudes (obviously): We are no less serious and formidable if we love political freedom and shoes, feminist discourse and fancy parties. To celebrate that, do something incredibly "frivolous" and take no sh*t for it.
Declare A No-Emotional-Labor Zone
what emotional labor is? It was initially coined as a term for the performative emotions that people in service industries count as part of their jobs (smiling for customers, for instance), but has been adopted by feminists to explain the unpaid, often unobserved emotional burdens that women do daily. From remembering the chores list for an entire family to being the 'nurturing one' in a crisis, women's emotional labor is often expected unquestioningly and taken without reward. For your thirtieth, declare that you're out. If you don't want to listen to somebody else's problems for fifteen minutes, you don't have to. Throw up the radioactive barriers and put on headphones.
Get Your Career In Order
Now is the time to get yourself in gear for reaching your dreams. That CV-boosting course you've been putting off? Book it. That job you're too scared to apply for? Go for it. Put in some professional elbow grease to move your career to where you'd like it to be. There's nothing more feminist than a woman empowered to reach her own goals, and between sorting your finances, taking control of your professional future and finally scheduling that mentoring session, now is the time to do it. Those chances aren't going to snatch themselves.
Even if you want to celebrate leaving your twenties by snuggling up, eating toast and watching five episodes of
The Great British Baking Show, that's a damn excellent way to do things. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.