The F-Word

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I've debated publishing this post for a while, but I just can't not do it anymore. I've had most of it written for a while, and I am finally sharing something that I'm incredibly passionate about.

I'm a Feminist. I think I've always been a Feminist, but I've only really started self-identifying as a Feminist since being in college, and seeing how shitty (sorry, but it's true) women are treated.

Growing up, I never felt like I was any different because I was a girl. I've always been smart, I have always gotten good grades. I played sports, and beat boys at basketball during recess. I didn't think of myself as an object that needed to be primped, polished, and perfected. Maybe I just didn't notice. I don't know.

But now, I notice.

I notice when I'm being catcalled while walking to work. I notice when I'm groped at parties. I notice the disgusting stares and not-so-subtle urges to reveal some intimate part of myself on the bus. I notice when a boy is more interested in my boobs than my brain. I notice just how alone I am when I'm walking home at night, and I always notice when someone is following me. I notice how my pepper spray feels in my right hand, and my stun gun in my left. I notice the rape jokes, and no, they're not funny. I notice just how dangerous it is to be a woman sometimes, and also how hard. I notice the pain felt by many women who have been raped or sexually assaulted. I notice the fact that my University, the University I love so much, is under investigation for the mishandling of rape cases, and the fact that they've failed the people that they should have protected and defended. I notice that safety tips for preventing rape all focus on what precautions women should take, like not wearing my hair in a ponytail when I go out, or wearing tight jeans because they're harder to rip off, and never to leave my drink alone, and always be in a group, not telling people that it is wrong to rape. I notice the conversations I have with my friends about the different ways we get creepy guys to leave us alone. I notice it when I compare myself to another woman, even one of my friends or sisters. I notice when I stay something mean about another girl, and how bad that must feel. I notice it when another girl says something mean about me, and how bad that feels. I notice when jokes are made at my expense, I notice the eye-rolls, the here-we-go-again chuckles, when I talk about Feminism, or God-forbid, why it's important for women to care about equal rights. I notice when I say Feminism, and people cringe like it's a bad word.

I honestly don't even care anymore. People will call me names, and they will make jokes. People won't take me seriously. And that sucks. But I can't stay quiet anymore. Feminism is not a bad word. I can't try to please everyone anymore. I'm a Feminist. And I'm damn proud of that.

I'm a Feminist because I'm a woman, and I care about other women. I care about empowering women to be themselves, to be in love with themselves. I care about men empowering themselves, to be in love with themselves. I want women to demand excellence from themselves and from others.

I am a Feminist because I love men, I love women, and I care about equality for everyone. 

I am a Feminist because when America was created, the Declaration of Independence truly meant, "all men are created equal." That didn't include women, slaves, or Native Americans. Sometimes, it still doesn't.

I am a Feminist because I have had a great education, and I believe that everyone should have access to a great education too.

I am a Feminist because no one - woman or man - ever asks for rape. It is not a trend, or a privilege. It is a serious problem.

I am a Feminist because 1 in 4 women will be raped while in college. And many of these rapes will go unreported. Universities don't handle them properly, even my own.

I am a Feminist because finding a husband and having children is not one of my priorities, and I should not be judged because of it.

I'm a Feminist because I want a career, and I deserve to be paid equally to men of the same career.

I am a Feminist because I know women who want to have a husband and children, and for whom that is a priority. I'm a Feminist because they should not be be judged because of it.

I am a Feminist because I believe that women are the best at making choices about their bodies and what they need.

I am a Feminist because I believe women should have choices about their health, their health care, and their families.

I am a Feminist because I think it's time to have a woman for president.

I am a Feminist because you should not be treated differently if you are gay, a lesbian, or bisexual, or transgender, or if you do not identify with a gender at all. I am a Feminist because I believe you are a person. You matter.

I am a Feminist because I am in a sorority, and I care about my sisters.

I am a Feminist because I love sparkles, glitter, and pink. I can spend hours painting mason jars, picture frames, and wooden letters. I love to wear bows. I wear ribbons in my hair. I love makeup and nail polish. I love polka dots. I doodle flowers in the margins of my notebooks. I care about how I look. I wish my hair was longer, and I daydream about grand romantic gestures. I don't understand sports, but I enjoy them. I love fashion, and I know about celebrities and pop culture. I am vulnerable, and I cry. A lot.
But that doesn't mean that I'm not smart, strong, independent, beautiful, and capable. 

I am a Feminist because I refuse to be defined by my dress size, my jean size, or my bra size.

I am a Feminist because I refuse to define men by their various sizes.

I am a Feminist because I am not a sexual object to be desired. My body is not an object or a plaything for anybody. I am a Feminist because I shouldn't have to apologize for it.

I am a Feminist because my worth should not be dictated by anybody but me.

I am a Feminist because I care about people. Big, small, old, young, male, female, or none of the above. People are people and deserve to be treated as such.

I am a Feminist because I am an inhabitant of this world, and I care about it. I care about the people in it. My family, my friends, my sisters.

I am a Feminist because I want to travel the world, and I shouldn't be afraid for my safety when I do.

I am a Feminist because, "I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture of their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men [and women] have torn down, men [and women] other-centered can build up." (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

I am a Feminist because I care about the future. I hope that young girls and boys in the future will not tolerate the kind of crap that we have all had to put up with for so long. I have been fed lies about what makes me "worthy" of love, attention, and adoration. I have been fed lies about what constitutes success. I do not want the children, the future of this world, to be fed those same lies.


I am a Feminist for all these reasons and more. I really hope you are too.

Thank you for reading.

xo,

Zoe

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