The question shouldn’t be why are you a feminist. It should be why ‘aren’t’ you a feminist?
Because why wouldn’t you be? And I am not just talking about women and girls - I believe that all men should be feminists too. Because real men aren’t afraid to admit to their onset supremacy from the beginning of time, and believe that equality shouldn’t be a goal, it should already exist.
The word ‘feminist’ or ‘feminism’ has many different meanings and connotations attached to it. It is not a word that we should be afraid of, especially as women. I have read far too many articles referring to it as “The ‘F’ Word,” which doesn’t only make it sound like a joke - it places a negative connotation on the word itself - that it shouldn’t be said in public, that it is a taboo subject. This kind of branding teaches society to suppress an issue, a movement, that is focused on freeing women from being suppressed. By dubbing feminism the ‘F’ word, writers associate it with another ‘F’ word, a swear word, which supports the idea that the word Feminism is a word that may offend some, may trigger others, and shouldn’t be said in front of your grandmother, or your children. What kind of world are we living in when we still must add a title to pieces about feminism, such as this, purely for comedic value? So the issue seems far from serious, even laughable? Yes, I am clearly triggered. And I damn well should be.
The Oxford Dictionary defines feminism as “the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” Based on this definition, the many books, articles and magazines I’ve read, the conversations I’ve had, the world I’ve grown up in, the units I am currently studying at university on this very topic, the mother that raised me, the all girls school that I gained an extraordinary education at, and the fact that I am a girl, loud and proud, I call myself a feminist. Because I believe that women should be equal to men in every way possible. Contrary to popular belief, and what I would perhaps call the downfall or issue that many hold with the feminist movement as a whole, I don't ‘damn the man’ or believe that we should be better than men. Because that is exactly the kind of thinking that suppressed women in the first place - men thinking, believing and not even questioning their supremacy. If women think in the same way, we will only do what men have done to us for all of time. And everyone knows, you can’t fight fire with fire.
It angers me beyond belief when other women and girls aren’t feminists. I simply cannot understand why you wouldn’t want to fight for your right to be treated equally as a human being, regardless of what gender you are. If you are too scared to call yourself a feminist incase men think of you or treat you differently for it - that is exactly the reason why you should do it. Feminism, the movement and belief in equality amongst the sexes, is called feminism for a reason. It is named after the women who have been systematically oppressed since time began. It is fighting for us to be considered equal. It is not called ‘equalism’ because men have not and are not oppressed in any way or form that can even begin to be compared to the oppression that women have suffered. If men believe that they have endured some great hardship that deserves an equality movement on their behalf, or that feminism itself is oppressing them, they are essentially ignoring history. And yes, the past does matter. The hardships, big and small, endured by women and girls from the day they are born, the expectations placed upon us and the threat of danger that females globally encounter, is exactly why we need to fight for feminism.
If I, a financially stable, very well educated, career driven, independent woman, feels as though I am still not considered equal by my male peers, not treated in the same way and viewed in a different light, purely because I have breasts and they don’t, then I can’t even imagine how other women around the world, in far worse circumstances feel. Yes, I’ve got a pretty great life. But it would be even better if I didn’t feel like I had to ‘shut up’, hide my feelings and act as emotionless as possible. If I wasn’t worried about how my pay check would look compared to my brothers in the future. If I didn’t constantly have to apologise for just being myself, for being a female.
Boys, if you’re reading this and laughing or getting defensive, you are the issue, you are the reason I am a feminist. If you’re a real, secure man within yourself, you would be one too. Girls, if you’re reading this and you aren’t with me, then you're also part of the issue. Stand up for yourself. We need to stick together if we are ever going to be considered equal to our brothers, boyfriends, mates, dads and uncles.