Growing up, my parents would always tell me to be properly dressed around my brothers. Never mind that they were walking around in short boxer briefs, it was me who had to be presentable. I was the girl, after all.
In school, I was always taught that the way I dressed affected a boy’s education. I was taught that the slight peek of my shoulder was enough to get me sent to the head office. It was much too distracting, because after all, a boy’s education had to be more important than a girl’s. At least, that was what they were teaching me.
This is why I’m a feminist.
I’m a feminist because it is 2017, and when I talk about how unfair it is that a professional athlete gets to walk away from the accusation of raping a girl without a single ding to their career, I’m some sort of radical that needs to calm down. Because that poor girl’s life will never be the same, but said athlete’s career is perfectly intact.
I’m a feminist because my aunt says things like, “Oh, those feminists, they just need to shave their armpits and get over it.” Because somehow the grooming of my body hair has everything to do with the rights I’m fighting for.
I’m a feminist because people still think you must have a vagina to be considered a woman.
I’m a feminist because I am 20 years old, and when I tell people I’m not sure I want to have kids, they look at me like I just defied all womankind.
I’m a feminist because when mothers choose to work rather than stay at home with their children, they aren’t doing “enough.”
I’m a feminist because when fathers choose to stay at home with their children rather than work, they somehow aren’t as “manly.”
I’m a feminist because parents still won’t let their sons play with Barbies.
I’m a feminist because young boys are taught that crying is bad. Showing emotion is bad, better to bottle it up and never feel. If you cry, you’re a girl, and no one wants to be a girl.
I’m a feminist because when my family talks about the Women’s March that happened yesterday, they say things like, “What’s protesting going to change?” and “They’re honestly just wasting their time. Nobody’s going to listen to them.” Never mind that the country we are living in found its freedom through protesting—No Taxation Without Representation. But I suppose that’s okay. It was men protesting then.
I’m a feminist because when my aunt saw a picture of a man marching with women yesterday, she snorted and said, “What’s he doing there? Doesn’t he have something better to do?” Her seven year old son was sitting next to her.
I’m a feminist because a highly qualified politician lost the presidential election to a less than mediocre businessman who based his campaign on misogyny, racism, bigotry, and slander. Because this country would rather see an over privileged, racist, homophobic, white man, whose years of experience sums up to zero, in office rather than a woman whose qualifications are more than his will ever be. Because I somehow have to have years of experience before I can even get my first job, but Donald Trump can get sworn into office without a single day of political experience.
I’m a feminist because the President of the United States speaks vilely of women and all minorities, and I’m the terrible one for disliking him.
I’m a feminist because I get made fun of for being a feminist.
I’m a feminist because I want the next generation of girls to live in a better world than mine.
I’m a feminist for these reasons and so many others.