“When I was in sixth grade, there was a boy who was a complete ass to me. I don’t remember all the details, but he threatened me with a hot glue gun once (I don’t know what he expected, considering the glue wouldn’t go very far if he dared “shoot”) as well as all sorts of verbal abuse that, while not terribly harmful, annoyed the shit out of me. But the glue gun incident got both of us assigned some meetings with the school counselor. Together. To “talk things out.” I had defended myself from his bullying and was treated as if I had had an equal part of the problem. My mom raised hell with the administration and I got out of the therapy sessions.
In seventh grade, he got suspended for threatening someone with a knife. In sixth grade, before he threatened me physically, my mom had told me he was “just teasing me because he liked me.”
I need feminism because I’ve been told to kill myself when I told a boy that rape jokes weren’t funny. I need it because my former friend who was physically mature for her age was scared to be around adult men because of how they’d look at her. She was twelve. I need feminism because at lunch the other day my guy friend equated being hit with a gatorade bottle to being raped.
This is somehow still a world where the length of a woman’s skirt dictates her worth as a person. Where her private sexual behaviors will influence her job opportunities. Our TV screens and science labs are dominated by men. Women are still laughed at and told that they belong in the kitchen. A man gets paid more doing the same job a woman does. Victims are still blamed for being raped while their rapists walk free.
I need my feminism to be inclusive of all women: trans women, queer women, fat women, women of color, women who don’t conform to society’s standards of beauty and behavior, women who do, sex workers, victims of abuse, mentally or physically disabled women, aneurotypical women. Feminism that leaves women behind isn’t feminism I’ll associate myself with. Feminism that doesn’t take into account race, sexual orientation, or disabilities isn’t feminism I’ll associate with.
I need feminism because my female friends have in the past hated the color pink because it was “girly.” Because “girl” and “pussy” are still insults. Because breasts are still viewed as taboo. (Note: women don’t always have vaginas and/or breasts, but those biological features are still demonized in our society due to institutionalized cissexism.) Because women’s legs and shoulders have to be covered so as not to “distract the boys.” Because body hair is regarded as disgusting. All over the world, women don’t have rights to their own bodies. Men fear being mocked, we fear being killed.
Because I’m making this post knowing someone out there disagrees with me. Maybe even someone reading this. I can’t feel safe going about my daily life when my dad makes a joke about “watching out for the boys” when I wear a pair of shorts in 96 degree heat. I didn’t feel safe at summer camp, even, when random people- I don’t even know who, it was dark- slapped my ass at a dance. Often, I don’t feel safe EXISTING because I am myself. A girl.
I need feminism for all these reasons. And so, so many more.”
— Sasha O. (tumblr user fjors), for the Facebook Feminism Challenge (via fjors)