In honor of International Women’s Day (Why I’m a feminist)

Source: patheos.com

Source: patheos.com

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, and I decided that today would be the perfect time.

In 2015, we live in a generation of opposing viewpoints. Feminists speaking out on one end, and politicians or anti-feminists trying to take our society backwards on the other.

In America, we live in a society with many opportunities that women in other countries do not have. However, even we do not have full equality. This is a disappointment as a female American citizen living in the 21st century.

I believe that I should not have any reasons to be a feminist other than I believe in equality. But in this society, we are expected to have reasons for being a feminist. As if we should justify, qualify our opinions.

I am a feminist because I am. It’s as simple as that. But I am a feminist not for myself. I’m a feminist for women who don’t have a voice.

We need feminism because society has created fear of the word. We need feminism because feminism is viewed as a debatable issue rather than an obvious right. We need feminism because when celebrities announce they are feminists, it’s called “coming out,” as if they’ve been hiding a dark secret.

We need feminism because there are anti-feminists. There are people who minimize women’s issues as “feminist bitching.”

Voicing the belief in equal rights doesn’t make us bitches. It makes us human beings.

While I do not belive I need to divulge any reasons as to why I identify as a feminist, I do feel it necessary to express my need for feminism.

I need feminism because without it, my country may never have given women the right to vote.

I need feminism because I earn less than men.

I need feminism because advertisers tell me every day what I should look like.

I need feminism because advertisers give me different rules every day.

I need feminism because rape against women is debated by mostly male politicians.

I need feminism because women are told how to avoid being a victim of rape, while men are told how to pick up hoes.

I need feminism because women on the red carpet are asked, “What are you wearing?” before asking about the fucking movie.

I need feminism because Meghan Trainor shames women who are skinny, degrading them to “stick figure silicone Barbie dolls” (and gives poor excuses for doing so).

I need feminism because about 24 million women and men suffer from eating disorders in America. I’m willing to bet that society’s fucked up beauty standards and obsession with our bodies has something to do with that.

I need feminism when colleges allow rapists to return to school, which is horrifying and traumatic for the victims.

I need feminism because my ex-boyfriend told me I was weak.

I need feminism because women don’t need rules.

I need feminism because I don’t need marriage. If I want it, I can choose it.

I need feminism because I want control over my own body.

I need feminism because it is my choice whether or not to have kids–not society’s.

I need feminism because women are advised to travel in pairs or groups for our own safety.

I need feminism because women are told we can do anything we want–as long as we get married, have the right amount of kids (no one knows the exact number, but it’s constantly changing), and work the right amount (this is constantly changing too).

I need feminism because women’s choices are not viewed as CHOICES. They are viewed as right or wrong, and open for debate.

I need feminism because I am told I’m pretty more than I am told I’m smart.

I need feminism because some people believe rape victims were “asking for it.”

I need feminism because when I was a teenager, I read a Christian book that blamed rape victims. Their hypothesis: if women wear sexy clothes, men cannot help themselves.

I need feminism because control over women’s bodies and “blurring” the lines between rough sex and sexual assault are not only glorified, but books and music about this topic sells billions of dollars (Robin Thicke or 50 Shades, anyone?)

I need feminism because when a male celebrity’s naked photos are leaked, the situation is “funny.” When the same situation happens to a female celebrity, some call her a “whore,” and blame her for taking the photos in the first place.

I need feminism because some men use their drunkenness as an excuse to verbally or sexually harass me in bars.

I need feminism because a drunk man once offered me money to kiss him. While I had a boyfriend. After I had already rejected his flirtations (true story).

I need feminism because if I reject a guy for a date after he comes off too aggressive, his friend calls me a “bitch” and a “cunt” on Facebook (also true story).

I need feminism because there are many names used to shame women: slut, whore, cunt, bitch, skank, sleaze, easy, loose, open-for-business.

I need feminism because men are applauded for the types of behaviors that give women the names listed above.

I need feminism because I believe in body autonomy. My body is mine, no matter what our government, society, or some religions would like me to believe.

I need feminism because little girls are still learning that their looks matter. But there are young girls standing up to voice how much more important their education is than being pretty.

I need feminism because we should be celebrating women and voicing our hopes for equality every day of the year.

I need feminism because there are movements created with the purpose to tear down the progress feminists have made in this country. Movements that are blatantly sexist against women and have a disturbing number of followers.

I need feminism because Elliot Rodger is, to my horror, viewed by some “Red Pill” anti-women activists as a “hero.” Rodger wrote a disturbing manifesto before going on a shooting rampage, killing six people and wounding 14 others.

I need feminism because with the internet, it’s easier for men to harrass me online.

I need feminism because I’m not a bitch for having a voice.

We live in country  where we value “freedom,” yet it doesn’t exist for everyone. Feminism has evolved and been beneficial for women’s rights, but we’re not done. In my lifetime, I hope to see even more changes towards equality. The fight isn’t over. We can’t be afraid to stand up, speak out, and fight back against the ones dragging us down.

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233 thoughts on “In honor of International Women’s Day (Why I’m a feminist)

  1. I agree with all your points, but I would call you a humanist because you’re not calling for female superiority. Of course, you can call yourself whatever you choose, but you already knew that.

      • That’s true. Anyone can be a feminist, and the most common feminist ideology asks for equality between the genders as far as legal rights, political rights, and societal rights. There are some more extreme types of feminism that believe women are superior, but that’s not as commonly followed, and not the type of feminism I’m talking about.

        I understand that it’d be nice to just say we’re all “humanists,” but we don’t live in a world where every group of people is treated equally. So we need to specify in order to voice our beliefs that that particular group will gain equal rights.

        It’s like someone saying, “I’m a gay rights activist,” and then someone saying, “Well I don’t know why you have to say that gays should have more rights than heterosexual couples. You’re a humanist, right?”

        Kind of a great leap I made there, but I guess my point is that we shouldn’t be discouraged from using the word “feminist.” If we lived in a world where everyone were truly equal, then I would be a “humanist.”

      • I see your point. There is a hyper-man-hating wing of feminism that gets all the publicity, maybe that’s why I don’t like the term. But you are right in stating that the group should not be judged on that side. Thanks for the clarification.

      • You’re welcome! I forgot to link a pretty good article I found explaining the different feminist ideologies. There was a blogger who did a great job explaining the history of each ideology in depth, but I can remember who it was.

        You’re right about how that “man-hating” ideology has gotten all of the publicity, which is unfortunate that it has. It’s like the “women-hating” groups. Except the thing that’s funny to me is this: with the Red Pill or anti-women groups, they’re viewed as the rare type, and it’s not generalized to all men who voice their opinions. While these men have sometimes horrifying and violent opinions, the public doesn’t give them much attention in the media. But with women saying they’re feminists, some view them as man-hating radicals. The entire feminist movement is then picked apart, debated, torn down, and every celebrity is asked if they are a feminist. Hm, kind of funny how that works.

      • Yes, that Red Pill bullshit really needs to be called out. And you are absolutely right about the media’s portrayal of it being rare, when the sad fact is that it is all too common. I guess the Red Pill group or other anti-women groups don’t have the media darlings that the man-hating groups do, although that is probably a result of the media being run by patriarchal oligarchs. Or it could be that nobody in the Red Pill group is a high-powered attorney, but who knows. Either way, it is wrong. And if you prefer the term feminist, I can totally see your point of view. More power to you…literally.

      • That’s a good point. I wonder if that does have something to do with it. I always wondered how those Red Pill people could get away with their violent and dangerous ideas (besides the fact that the majority of their “movement” is online) without getting called out by the media.

        The articles I’ve read about them seem to portray them mainly as silly, harmless, or having some good points that they get carried away with. It’s quite disturbing to me that they are viewed in this light when one of the Red Pill activists came out from behind the computer screen and went on a shooting rampage. Not so harmless, in my opinion.

        And on the other side, there are thousands of articles discussing if we really need feminism anymore, questioning whether feminism “hurts” men, and whether feminism is dangerous. When some women say they are feminists, some people are outraged, saying, “Oh my Gawd, she’s a feminist radical! An evil man hater!” When in reality, she just would like to go to college and not see her rapist return to her campus.

        It’s interesting to see the two situations and how crazy it really is. I never thought of it before.

    • Feminists do not call for female superiority. Feminism is about ending ALL forms of oppression. It is about the struggle for true equality.

  2. I’m not sure why it is these days that the definition of feminism has been misconstrued as anti-men or man-hating. The fact that some young women today are turning their backs on it like it’s no longer needed is quite disturbing. They benefit from the very movement they’re shunning.

    Great post!

    • I completely agree! I think it’s because there are different feminism ideologies, and so sometimes people get them confused with the more radical kinds (which aren’t followed by many feminists anyway). I agree that it’s disturbing that some people think we don’t need feminism anymore.

  3. I’m not the best feminist in the world–I’m loud, boorish, and fond of pretty girls in bikinis, but the thing is: being a feminist isn’t a big deal. It’s just a matter of not being an asshole to slightly more than half the population of the world, or better still not being an asshole at all. I can only manage the former, but I strive to be an equal opportunity asshole, spreading my gloom and bile without regard to blah, blah, blah all those words that pretty much mean “everybody.” Besides, I want to win. LIke Charlie Sheen. Okay, not like Charlie Sheen, but I do want to win, and who the hell thinks they can win with half their team shackled to the starting line? Not me.

    • Haha, well that’s good you want to be an equal opportunity asshole! And you’ve got a point about how you can’t win with half the team unable to move from the starting line. Well said!

  4. This is one of my favourite blog posts ever. You’ve summed it all up perfectly, I’m not quite sure why the word feminism has been changed and used to present “anti-men” and female superiority but, this post clearly explains the REAL definition of feminism – equality!

  5. Agreed! This is extensive, I’m glad you wrote this. I wrote a similar post http://silverliningmama.com/2015/02/14/what-women-really-want/ to capture the serious issues that women fight for when we ask for gender equality.
    I also found a helpful article where Annie Lennox shared key data/stats on these issues. http://silverliningmama.com/2015/03/06/do-we-still-need-feminism/

    It is disturbing that even at this time, even in a progressive country, one can still hear backward thinking on gender equality.

    I love how Emma Watson put it in her He for She IWD event yesterday. I am not because I have a mother, daughter, whatever, but because it is the right thing to do.

    Glad to find this post.😊

    • Thank you! I’ll have to read your posts on the topic. I agree that it’s disturbing that some people have this backwards thinking about feminism, or don’t think we “need” feminism anymore.

      Emma Watson is amazing. I think it’s so cool to see a strong, young female role model who is doing such innovative and important work like she is. She rocks! 🙂

  6. From what I remember of the feminist movement in the late 1960’s, often called women’s liberation or women’s lib, many people thought that it was an anti-men movement being perpetrated by lesbians. That was and is balderdash, of course, but that particular belief of an anti-man foundation has always been around. Enlightenment is long overdue.

    • Exactly. It’s a myth that some people still seem to believe today. I’m glad that it’s possible to get our voices out there and show that it’s just a myth. Anyone, regardless of gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic class, can be a feminist.

      Thank you for commenting! 🙂

  7. Agree 100%. The one that hit me the most is that we’re told we’re pretty more than we are told we are smart. I think I’m the only person who has ever called myself smart. That is a true shame.

      • The thing about being told you are pretty more than you are smart is simple. Just a quick look at a woman and you can readily see that she is pretty, but for one to discover your intelligence takes a little while longer. It takes actually talking or some kind of interaction with you before your intelligence shows through…(or not, if that’s the case)

      • I know what you mean. But we’re talking about even the people who’ve gotten to know you. The compliments about looks are almost always the first thing girls hear.

    • I’m glad things have improved since then, but I completely agree that it hasn’t improved enough! Now women can do anything they want (as long as they are pretty, wear makeup, have the perfect balance between curvy and skinny, are educated, married, have 2.5 kids, and work just enough to have a good career but still be viewed as a good mother). 😉

  8. Well done, Rebecca. There is a way to love and honor Self while also loving and honoring men.

    Thanks for speaking to that here.

    Blessings,
    Dani

  9. Wow, Becky, that was powerful, moving, well written, and inspiring. I’m always telling you that you are a great writer, and this post definitely proves me right. Keep putting those words down on paper because the world needs to hear what you have to say…

  10. Pingback: Victim shaming: What’s up with that? | Humyn

  11. Pingback: Announcement: New Feminism Blog With Modern Day Artemis! | Humyn

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