ON FEMININITY | Sizakele Marutlulle, she/her.
“I’ve never wanted to be a woman who is pretty, I’ve never wanted that at all. I always wanted to be smart — smart because Jackie, who was one of the grown-up girls at school, said, ‘Your looks will fade, your brain will grow, so what would you rather invest in?’ and I figured I’d invest in my brain. Learning, growing, acquiring knowledge, and contributing knowledge was an important part of that.
I’m telling you this because when we then did our thesis work on childfree Black females — which was a subject that hadn’t been looked at before, because the assumption is that Black women just breed, which is problematic, or that all women must breed, which is also problematic — it was just... allowing that community to surface from the margins of society. Being childfree was not a choice I made because I wanted to advance my career. Being childfree is not a lack. So the contribution therefore is to help young African children, girl children, to know that being childfree is a valid reproductive choice that you don’t have to explain.”