LINES: I Am A Feminist

Hey! So the past four years I have been a part of LINES (Leaning Into New Experiences and Situations). This is a presentation for the freshman during summer orientation to address issues of inclusion and diversity. This year, I will be presenting a piece called “I Am A Feminist” which was composed from a compilation of some of my blog posts. All of the monologues are based off of experiences of the students and staff on campus and are so important that I want to share them with you. So here is my piece.


So, the other day, a friend of a friend posted an article called “I’m a Female and I’m So Over Feminism”. In the comments, she insisted that she wasn’t a feminist because she doesn’t believe that women should assert themselves to be the dominant gender, that all genders should be seen and treated as equal.

That is literally the historical definition of feminism. If you are a person who believes in the equality of all genders, then you are a feminist. There’s no way around it. It is what it is.

What is it about the word feminism that makes people freak out? Is it the “fem” part of the word? Is it shying away from a word that is similar to female or feminine and thinking that is somehow insulting? Is it a lack of understanding of what feminism truly is or negative connotations of the word? If you believe in everything that feminism stands for, but do not want to call your one, are you letting other people determine how you define yourself? Feminism isn’t a dirty word. But, I get it. I don’t think I understood the word fully until I got to college.by people who identify as feminists and it was evident in everything they did.

Close your eyes. When I say the word feminist, who are you thinking of? There’s this convoluted image of feminist as…

White

Man-hating

Uptight

Bra burning

Angry

Not only are these stereotypes ridiculous, but they are dangerous. Why? It allows you to be preoccupied with how often I shave my legs instead of the fact that all things are not equal. And you know what else? It minimalizes the ideology and the movement, and ignores completely the impact that race, ability, class, and sexuality has on how we experience oppression due to these identities. It ignores intersectionality.

For example, “traditional feminism” advocates will educate you that when it comes to pay equity, women make 79 cents for every dollar that a man makes. “Intersectional feminists” will remind you that…that’s the statistic for some women. Black women and Latinas make 64 cents and 54 cents, respectively. That not even including those in the LGBTQ community or those over the age of 65 or those with disabilities.  It’s all interconnected. That’s my brand of feminism. I can’t say that I support a group of people and then choose which members of that group I support.

Combating feminism by claiming to be a “humanist” or “equalist” does nothing but reinforce the false assumptions that people have about feminism. So, if you want to claim that you are not a feminist, that is your choice. However, you need to understand what that actually means. At the end of the day, if you are anti-feminist, then you are anti-equality. Feminism is about equality and equity.

I am a feminist because I believe that women should have the same rights as men, men should have the same rights as women, and gender non-conforming individuals should be part of this conversation………because I know that my worth is not determined by what is or what isn’t between my legs………because men shouldn’t believe that they can’t show emotion without being perceived as weak……. Because the people that tell me that being cat-called on the street by strangers is a compliment are full of shit

I am a feminist because I am the only person in the world who has a right to decide what happens to my body

Because having a bathroom that you feel safe to use, shouldn’t be a privilege, it’s a right

Because I know that men can suffer from physical, verbal, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse but are constantly told that they can’t

Because as a woman I have the right to decide that I don’t want to have children without being seen as “selfish”

Because rape culture and privilege are real and demonstrated when a vile and traumatic violent crime is referred to as “20 minutes of action. So instead of teaching “don’t wear that” and “don’t drink too much” we should be teaching “DON’T BE A FUCKING RAPIST”

I am a feminist because my rights are not based on being someone’s daughter or sister, but on the fact that I am a person too

Because no one is ever “asking for it

Because being told that you do something “like a girl” shouldn’t be an insult

Because cleaning, cooking and bearing children are choices not birthrights

I am a feminist because I have absolutely no reason not to be.

Feminist – fem. Uh. Nist. Noun. Definition: Any person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of all genders, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, ability, and sexual orientation

You’re welcome.

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