I’ve seen a recent trend in the media toward discussions concerning gender inequality and feminism, so I feel compelled to speak a bit about it as well–mostly, through my personal experiences.
Firstly, I want to clarify that feminism is not synonymous to misandry. Feminism, by definition, is the belief that all genders should have equal rights and opportunities. Misandry is the hatred of men. I’m a feminist. I’m not a misandrist. I believe that whether you’re a man, woman, both, neither, or another gender entirely, you are entitled to equal rights and opportunities.
I’m a feminist because I experienced sexualization and objectification every day–starting at the age of six when a boy told me I should wear girlier clothes to impress him.
I’m a feminist because magazines, advertisements, films, tv shows, news broadcasts, and every media in between told me I had to be skinny, pretty, quiet, soft, nice, and obedient in order to be loved.
I’m a feminist because I was told that I had to wear dresses and skirts, but they couldn’t be too short because then I was a slut.
I’m a feminist because male strangers say I should have stayed like this:
And not look like this:
Regardless of how I want to look or what makes me feel comfortable.
I’m a feminist because at the age of twelve I was sexually harassed or assaulted multiple times a day. Then when I told people about it, they said, “Boys will be boys,” as if that justified being treated as less than a human being.
[Edit: I use the legal definition of “sexual assault,” which is sexual touching without consent. NOT RAPE. If I talk about rape, I’ll use the term “rape.” Sorry if I concerned or confused anyone.]
I’m a feminist because my best friend was nearly beaten to death for being both feminine and gay. Because he was called “pussy” and “bitch” and “weak.” And I realized the worst insults a man can receive are ones tantamount to being called a woman.
I’m a feminist because a male friend, whom I trusted and cared for, attempted to rape me when I refused to sleep with him after “tricking him with mixed signals.”
I’m a feminist because the first questions anyone asked me after a sexual assault were “Did you lead him on?” “What were you wearing?” “Why were you there?”
I’m a feminist because men who suffer domestic abuse are almost invisible in the media, or worse, they’re blamed for not being “manly” enough.
I’m a feminist because both men and women participate in everyday misogyny and misandry without knowing it.
I’m a feminist because 60% of my friends, male and female, have been raped at least once in their lifetime and were afraid of either being blamed for the rape or appearing weak.
I’m a feminist because I want to create a world where all genders are equal.
Below are links you should check out on feminism and Emma Watson’s speech at the U.N. about feminism and the HeForShe campaign, which is well worth a watch.