Why I Need Feminism

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I know that feminism has been a hot topic of debate lately and it’s something I feel very passionately about. Simply defined, feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men”. Let’s start with a few common misconceptions about being a feminist that I’d like to clear up.

1. I do not believe that women are superior to men.

2. I do not believe that we should get special treatment.

3. I do not believe that the way to promote social change is to march around naked.

4. Not all feminists are female.

5. Feminism will not hurt you no matter what your gender.

6. I do not hate all men.

7. I am not a lesbian.

All clear? Perfect. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. I don’t necessarily feel oppressed every single day of my life. I go about my business as any normal person would. I get along great with guys. I have an incredible father and two amazing brothers who have taught me how men should treat a woman. I have a ton of really great male friends that I totally feel comfortable hanging out alone with. However, I do feel that we need to encourage some social change in the category of gender equality. For one of my classes last year, I made a list of reasons why I need feminism. The goal of this list was to be point-blank. (Mr. Spika, I know you’re reading this. I finally decided to share your favorite Seminar reflection of mine.) Here it is:

17 Reasons Why I Need Feminism

  1. Because responding to a cat call with the middle finger makes me a “bitch” Scratch that, not responding to a cat call positively at all makes me a bitch.
  2. Because I’ve been taught that it’s safer to give a guy a fake number than to say no.
  3. Because I can’t walk outside alone at night.
  4. Because I have been taught how to protect myself from rape instead of teaching people not to rape.
  5. Because every 2 minutes, a woman is raped in the United States. That could be me any given day and I am taught to live in fear of what could be.
  6. Because my contraceptive choices are dictated by a government consisting mainly of males. Now, this has also been a hot topic of debate. Although I don’t necessarily have a solid stance on the issue, I do believe that the people making the decisions should also be female.
  7. Because there are 80 men and 20 women currently on the United States Senate making choices for a nation of 50% men and 50% women.
  8. Because growing up my idea of a “family” had one dad who worked outside of the home and one mom who was a homemaker.
  9. Because my appearance is and probably always will be under a microscope.
  10. Because I have to worry about my clothing choices “distracting boys” instead of teaching them to not see women as objects. There’s a very thin line between appropriate clothes and dresses that are too tight, shirts that are too low cut, and shorts that are too short.
  11. Because voicing my opinion is commonly frowned upon.
  12. Because in schools, girls are less likely to share an answer or thought with the class because of fear of getting made fun of by the boys. Look it up, there have been studies.
  13. Because for as long as I can remember, I have never been fully comfortable with my body.
  14. Because young boys say to their friends “you throw like a girl” like it’s some sort of insult.
  15. Because I want to travel the world someday and I should not have to fear traveling alone.
  16. Because no means no.
  17. Because when I’m nice to boys it’s commonly mistaken as flirting.

Some of that sounded whiny, and I totally get it! Speaking out about personal oppression is going to sound whiny. But those are my reasons that I personally fight for my rights. I know this is pretty ballsy to post on the internet for everyone to see, but in order to promote social change, you must speak your mind. Nothing is going to happen unless someone speaks up. I know that one single blog post isn’t going to make a change, but I do have hope that someday my [potential] daughters will live in a world where they are free from objectification, sexualization, and feel as if they are on the same playing field as men.

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