I am a Feminist Because…

The feminist moment both in the past and modern day is not without its flaws. There are still issues that need to be addressed, but being a feminist is just as important today as it was when our sister suffragettes were marching for the right to vote. Society’s scales are still tipped in favor of men and we are far from being equals. This is why I am a feminist.

I am a feminist because society tells us the rape victim is somehow to blame. If they’re not at fault for what they were wearing, then it is how much they were drinking.  They are condemned for flirting or liking rough sex. If they did not say no, that must automatically mean they meant yes. Or maybe they just didn’t say no loudly enough. Maybe they were in a relationship with their assailant, so their attacker had some kind of right to sex. The person may have their sexual history called into question. No matter the case, the victim is told that the fault lies with them.

I am a feminist because despite my love for comic books and superhero characters I am not considered a real fan. My love for them is called into question and I find myself accused of only liking the actor portraying a role and not the comic book character. Questions about origin stories and alliances are hurled at me to test my knowledge. In the gaming world, I am thought of as a poser who could never play games seriously or to the ability of my male counterparts. My gender causes me to be both discriminated against and misrepresented.

I am a feminist because when a friend cut her hair she was told that she was unattractive and looked “like a dyke.” A patriarchal world looked at her and said that despite her love for bright lipsticks and nail polish she, with her now short hair, is no longer considered feminine and that men would not be attracted to her because she no longer fits into their ideal. Without her long hair she is no longer beautiful or heterosexual.

I am a feminist because society allows men to make choices about their sexuality that women are arbitrarily labeled for. While men are given approval for being promiscuous, or are even seen as more attractive for having more experience, women are expected to have little to no experience unless they want to be labeled as a slut or a whore. Women are told the most precious gift she can give her husband on her wedding night is her virginity or are told to “save” herself for a man who is worthy of such a gift. However, women are also expected to exude a certain amount of sensuality to keep themselves from being labeled frigid. Not too much though, especially if she doesn’t plan to “follow through,” or she risks being labeled a tease.

I am a feminist because it is supposed to be a compliment when cat-called by a random man on the street. I am told to lighten up because I am being admired, when in truth I am being objectified. By telling me that I should be flattered, they are saying that the male approval of my appearance is more important than my consent.

I am a feminist because when I take charge of a situation I am labeled as bossy, pushy, or even demanding. When my male counterparts take the same action they are called authoritative and heralded for their strong leadership skills.

I am a feminist because a man watching porn and masturbating is considered a normal and even healthy part of male behavior. When a woman does, it is taboo. Pleasuring herself is considered shameful and never to be spoken of publicly.

I am a feminist because when a woman does not want to have children is seen as strange and selfish. Not becoming a mother means that she is somehow not fulfilling her female destiny whereas her husband, boyfriend, or male partner is never questioned on his desire not to father children.

I am a feminist because when a man dresses as a woman in a movie or on a TV show it is for humor, to be laughed at and degraded. When a woman dresses as a man it is to show confidence, and because she is a badass; because being like a man is a sign of strength whereas being like a woman is considered a weakness.

I am a feminist because my hormones are used as a reason to doubt my judgment. Having a bad day or week immediately calls into question my menstrual cycle and the ability to do my job accurately. I am called overly sensitive and any emotional expression is stigmatizing.

I am a feminist because I am expected to fit a particular beauty standard and am constantly bombarded with messages telling me to assimilate. My body hair must be groomed in a certain way or removed or else I am considered unclean and undesirable. If I do not wear makeup then I am unattractive to the opposite sex. However, if I do wear makeup then it must be solely for the purpose of attracting and pleasing men, as opposed to wearing it for myself.

I am a feminist because men pleasuring a woman orally is considered some sort of favor that women should be thankful for, while a woman orally satisfying her man is simply status quo.

I am a feminist because I see women who accept and internalize patriarchal ideals in order to fit in with men. They happily claim they are “not like other girls” and are proud to say they don’t have female friends. They throw out misogynist comments about other women and think “feminist” is a bad word.

I am a feminist because when I voice my frustrations about the above situations I am told “It’s a man’s world” and my grievances are shrugged off.

I’m a feminist. Are you?

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