I am a feminist.
Go ahead and gasp now. Go ahead and think I’m an angsty lesbian who doesn’t shave and hates men. If those are really the first things that pop into your head when you read the above statement, then I invite you to read the rest of this, because you need it most. If your first instinct is to laugh and not take me seriously, you also would do well to hear me out. And go read some other, more eloquent works than mine, while you’re at it. Education is the best way to combat misogyny.
Before we begin, no, I don’t hate men. Not at all. The first friend I ever made in kindergarten was a boy. Everyone called him my boyfriend because apparently women aren’t allowed to have guys who are just plain friends. But that’s more to do with heteronormativity. And I know there’s an awful lot of injustice towards men too–people forget that with all the gender roles women are supposed to conform to, it’s also hard to have everyone expect you to be strong, physically capable, dominant, and in control of your emotions. I know that things are dreadfully unfair to people who don’t conform to our gender binary, they don’t even have a legally recognized gender, and to say that is an injustice is putting it more than mildly. There are so many things that need fixing in our society. I’ll probably post more about those later. But today I am here to talk to you about feminism, and why I consider myself a feminist.
I don’t typically like to post when I’m angry. Ranting gets you nowhere, generally speaking, and I believe people often say things in anger they don’t mean. But with social justice issues, I think it’s different. Getting furious about injustice towards women gives me an odd sort of clarity on the subject, and if I’m ranting then so be it. It’s time I brought the conversation about feminism to my own blog, because much as people talk about it there is still an incredible amount not being done to change things. I need to talk about this.
Because there are those who stick up for people like Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and himself because he believed he was entitled to the women who rejected him, and the people defending him say those he killed had it coming. That the girls owed him sex because he “needed” it. And tweets and other social media statements are rarely as “soft” as “I don’t blame guns, I blame blondes for this one.”
Because my dad doesn’t believe he is a misogynist, and when I try to call him out on it I get told I’m “overreacting.” And if he were reading this, I would get into trouble for saying so.
Because feminists everywhere get told they are overreacting. Because nine times out of ten people laugh at me, or give me pitying looks, or adopt a “look what the cat dragged in” expression when I start talking about feminism. Because nobody takes me seriously. Because in our society to be an angry woman is to be not taken seriously.
Because every time I go out, I have to think about what I have with me to make sure I could use it as a weapon in case of an emergency, and when I’m walking I go through scenarios in my head to prepare myself for what I’d do. Because every time I’m walking alone and a car drives by a hair too slowly, a man is behind me a block too long, I start feeling panicky and my heart rate speeds up and I hold whatever I’m carrying in a position that makes it easiest to clock someone across the head with. Because I shouldn’t have to fear for my life just because I’m not accompanied by a man.
Because I have been taught that I am a sexual object, whether because the clothes I wear might cause someone to abuse me or that I have to watch the way I act or else I “have it coming.” I understand that in these times those things are a matter of safety, even life or death for me. And that is fucked up.
Because when I wear an outfit that makes me feel sexy I feel equally guilty for having the audacity to dress in a way I’ve been taught is wrong. Because I am a sexy being, and I’ve been taught that I shouldn’t be, but that paradoxically I’m supposed to have sex with all the guys because I owe it to them. Because I feel equally afraid of what could happen to me if I dress like I know I’m an attractive girl.
Because it’s simply ingrained in our society that girls owe sex to guys, and consensual sex is something that actually needs to be talked about.
Because sex education programs do such a terrible job of this and rarely discuss birth-control methods with women in depth, or even at all, and they are incredibly heterocentric and biased.
Because obviously a woman thinking for herself or being in control of her own body is dangerous, and we need to de-educate her or she’ll see the injustices we’ve been doing.
Because I am mocked or disregarded for thinking for myself.
Because rape culture is a huge problem, from the actual sheer amount of sexual assaults happening to songs with lyrics along the lines of “mmm gurl you hot come on I know you want it come make out with me now” to boys “accidentally” brushing up against my butt or my chest. Because this happens to every girl I know, and it still gets told off with the same “boys will be boys.”
Because I’ll get told I’m “just being an angry feminist again” when I try to call these issues to attention.
Because identifying as a feminist can be anything from something that’ll get you laughed at to something downright dangerous.
Because there are so many more issues, and I can’t fit them into a single post, or ten posts, or a hundred posts.
Because inevitably someone, or multiple someones, will comment on this calling me dirty names and saying I’m blowing the whole issue out of proportion. And that’s if I’m lucky.