I am five years old. My mother just told me to go fetch a sweater because an adult man would be coming over soon, and I need to cover up.
I am seven years old. A boy wouldn’t stop chasing me on the playground and throwing rocks at me. I’m upset. My best friend says it’s because he likes me and she told me boys are mean to girls they like.
I am ten years old. We just had our first health class in school. The teachers were trying to educate us on sexual assault. After class, my friends told me to scream fire instead of rape if I’m ever being attacked, because no one will come if they hear the word rape being screamed.
I am twelve years old. I just got my first period. A pad fell out of my book bag at school and everyone started laughing. Apparently, periods aren’t normal and they should be hidden at all costs.
I am fifteen years old. I’m in the office crying because a boy I don’t know kept following me down the hallway and grabbing my ass even after I told him to stop. The administrator scolds me.
“maybe you shouldn’t be wearing leggings if you don’t want that kind of attention”
she sends me home with a dress code violation. She marked the “distracting” box.
I am seventeen years old. I’ve just been slapped because a boy got angry with me after I wouldn’t let him put his hands down my pants. Apparently, I led him on by letting him copy my math assignment.
I am twenty-one years old. My best friend has bought me special nail polish to wear to the bar. She says it changes color if it’s dipped in a drink that has a date rape drug in it.
I am twenty-three years old. I’m reading this to the first class I will ever teach. A student raises her hand and says, “no offense, but doesn’t this stuff happen to every girl?”
So yes, I am a feminist. And when you ask me why, I will read this to you. Again, and again, and again.
I like the idea of someone whose company I enjoy who makes me feel good about myself and understands the jokes I make and likes the stupid things I say but accepts that I’m not his but also knows that just because I flirt with other boys it doesn’t mean he’s not still my favorite.