Why am I a feminist?
A few weeks ago, Katiee and I published our “Ask a Feminist” posts. Both of us touched on why we’re feminists, but we realized that it was gonna take a lot more than just a meaty paragraph to explain our very personal ties to these identities. As such, I present to you part two of our collaboration: “Why am I a feminist?”
For Katiee, feminism is about equality. In her words, “I am a feminist because I don’t want to rely on a man for a damn thing. Not for money, not for safety when walking at night, and not for an excuse to keep other men from undressing me in their mind.” Check out more of her post here.
I grew up in a household of girls: myself, my two sisters, my mother and my father. My mom has always been intensely strong willed and supportive. She’s always believe that a girl is capable of anything a guy can do and has instilled that confidence in me ever since I was a lil kiddo. While I oftentimes get frustrated that she claims my room should be clean “because I’m a girl” or that I should sit straight “because I’m a girl” (internalized misogyny, anyone?), her belief in my abilities has allowed me to never feel held back due to my gender. Thus, I suppose I’ve always been a feminist, but it wasn’t until my first ever women’s studies class that I became such a staunch supporter of women’s rights and also added intersectionality to my beliefs as a feminist.
Our first readings for the class included ones that talked about the stereotypes against feminists. What really got me, though, was this piece that talked about why some girls don’t consider themselves feminists.
I will never forget how incredibly shocked I was after reading the article. “Not everyone calls themselves a feminist? What?” was all I could think. It just didn’t make sense to me. Why wouldn’t you believe in empowering women? Why wouldn’t you believe in gender equality?
It took awhile to settle in, but eventually, I understood. Two girls in class even raised their hands to admit that they wouldn’t refer to themselves as a feminist simply because they don’t want to be “man-haters.” And yeah, I wouldn’t want to be a “man-hater,” either. But that’s just the thing. Feminists are not man-haters. In fact, part of why I’m a feminist is because of toxic masculinity. More on that another time, though. The point is, feminists are stereotyped and thus, many people either don’t want to be associated with such stereotypes or believe such stereotypes and thus would never consider themselves a feminist.
Learning about this, however, only solidified my beliefs. I decided that I would bear my badge loud and proud and claim my feminist identity. After all, there’s so many reasons to be a feminist.
Women are disproportionately affected by rape, sexual violence, and abusive relationships. Women are discriminated against in the workforce, dealing with sexual harassment at the hands of our bosses and lesser pay than our male counterparts. Assertive women are called “bossy” while assertive men are praised for their “leadership abilities.” Women are expected to cover up to avoid getting raped, because we’re “asking for it” if we wear what we want. Can you list some more reasons?
Here's just a sampling of my own:
- I’m a feminist because I’m taught to never take drinks from strangers because they could be roofied.
- I’m a feminist because I can’t walk home alone at night without worrying for my safety.
- I’m a feminist because men stare at my body instead of me.
- I’m a feminist because once when I asked a guy to stop, he kept going because he was “almost there.”
- I’m a feminist because I want a career and I refuse to let my gender hinder my success.
- I’m a feminist because I am tired of being disrespected by men and even other women.
- I’m a feminist because women are depicted as objects of pleasure instead of humans with the ability to feel pleasure.
- I’m an intersectional feminist because my friend was once told “I’ve never seen a pretty Asian.”
- I’m an intersectional feminist because some people don’t think that “yellow fever” is offensive.
- I’m an intersectional feminist because I'm tired of watching people stare at my Muslim friends because of their hijabs
- I’m an intersectional feminist because black women are beautiful, period. Not beautiful “for a black girl.”
I’m an intersectional feminist because all women are beautiful and we will always be beautiful.
All right, friends! That’s it for me today. Check out Katiee’s blog and Instagram for more fashion and feminism. Drop me a comment and let me know which of these reasons resonated with you the most. Let me know if you’re a feminist and why or why not!