Like a lot of girls my age, I’ve found it really difficult to publicly call myself a feminist. Because when a non-feminist hears that word they immediately think of expressions such as ‘man hater’, ‘feminazi’ (yeah, because wanting equal rights is just like invading Poland), or I just get a condescending laugh. As soon as a woman begins developing her own opinions, and she’s strong and independent, she’s shamed for it.
First of all, let’s establish what a feminist is. Feminism is the belief that both men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
Woah! Paint me green and call me a cucumber! This is just too radical! *hint of sarcasm*
See how simple it is?
Does your skin crawl at the thought of rape culture? Congratulations you’re a feminist. Do you hate being told to ‘man-up? Congratulations you’re a feminist. Do you want control over your own body? How you dress it, how you use it? Congratulations, you’re a feminist. Do you want equality for all humans? Guess what, you’re a feminist.
So why has it become so hard to admit?
Whenever I start talking about women empowerment I also often get “You’ll scare off guys with that feminist crap”. Sorry, the kind of guy who has a problem with me wanting to be treated as his equal is totally the sort of guy I want to attract. My mistake.There is something completely messed up about the fact that a girl being a feminist is a turn-off to guys. It literally translates to a guy saying he doesn’t want a girl who requires respect because that’s just no fun. It’s really just further proof that sexism exists, and only fuels the feminist movement more.
Any man who says he’s not a feminist should go explain to his female friends why he doesn’t want equality for them. Go on, see how that goes down. When she tears your ear off, (and rightly so), you’ll probably call her crazy. Well as Kendra Wells said, “If you think women are crazy, you’ve never had a dude go from hitting on you to literally threatening to kill you in the time it takes to say ‘No thanks'”. Anti-feminists (let’s just call them sexists), be aware that there is most likely women in your life who have experienced some form of sexual assault. So when you victim blame or women shame, in all likelihood, at least one women you know and love, silently decides she cannot trust you. This is literally her life you are humiliating, not just some political crap you obviously know nothing about. Feminism is for absolutely everybody, no matter your gender, or sexual preferences.
Whenever I have a problem with what someone is saying, I say it. There’s this really awesome thing that happens to you when you get older; You stop giving ‘two hoots’ (I normally use a different expression but mum might read this) about what other people think. It’s so liberating! So I don’t have a problem with calling myself a feminist anymore. I use to stay quiet in times that I should’ve spoken up about the cause, but trust me, pretending to not care about something you’re passionate about is just too much effort. Be bold and be challenging in the pursuit to fight for rights. It’s so satisfying leaving a guy speechless after you’ve just taught him a thing or two about feminism. Go on and try it, watch them just gawk at you with no come backs. That is progress! The moment men realise feminism isn’t a threat, rather a step forward in society as a whole. Best. Feeling. Ever. You can thank me later.
So, instead of laughing at us when we say we’re feminists, ask us to educate you on the topic. Both men and women can undoubtedly contribute to the fight against inequality purely through their willingness to learn. I hate that some people still feel like they have to go hide under a rock the moment they start to develop these feminist ideas. I’m sick of the stigmas associated with being a feminist. No one should be ashamed to stand up for something they believe in. Embrace feminism! And be proud of the freaking incredible people who have made it possible for us be actively involved in this movement.
You don’t have to decide right this second if you’re a feminist or not. All I ask is that you don’t completely dismiss the idea as irrelevant. As these blog posts come rolling in, please use Mission Activism to educate yourself, your friends, your colleagues, your dog, on these important issues that our world faces each and every day. Hopefully from here, you’ll develop your own ideas also. And when you do, be bold and be challenging in the pursuit to fight for your rights.