Debate Magazine

Musings of a High School Feminist

Posted on the 15 June 2011 by Juliez
yay high school

yay high school

I don’t remember when I discovered feminism. I don’t remember how I got the link to a feminist blog that I started to read, or the first time I thought to myself, “I am a feminist!”

But I am so glad that it happened.

I love feminism. I love the things it’s done for me – the way it makes me feel powerful and beautiful and in control. I love the way it’s opened up my eyes to the ways that I’m missing out – and all the ways that I can get around those things.

And that’s why it’s so confusing to me why none of my friends agree with me!

Being a feminist in high school is hard. This morning, for example, I was thinking of starting a feminism club in my school – but the thought that immediately followed that was, I can’t do that! I’ll be a social pariah!

Which, I’m sure, is one of the greatest examples that we are still living in a patriarchy. But I digress.

I don’t understand how my friends could want nothing to do with something that is clearly so great. I bring it up bluntly sometimes (okay, a lot of times): “Are you a feminist?”

“No,” they say even more bluntly. And then, “I’m not a dyke!” or “I’m not ugly!” or “Women already have equal rights!” or any other sort of excuse. Now, we’ve all heard the “I’m not a feminist, but…” excuses, but somehow these hurt me even more. Am I ugly, or fat, or hairy? No, I don’t think so. So how could they classify all of these feminists like that?

It shocks me, every time that I think about it.

“Feminism,” as we all know, has become a dirty word. My friends – otherwise smart girls – are afraid of being associated with it. The risks of being called one, as far as they are concerned, outweigh the benefits that it can have for every women.

I’m not always a huge believer in a “sisterhood”; that is to say, I don’t think all women will always get along all the time, nor do I necessarily want them to. I don’t get along with all of the girls I know. But I don’t see how any women could be against feminism. I really don’t.

Feminism is the belief in equality of the sexes. But somehow, it’s become synonymous with “hairy,” with “dyke,” with “ugly,” or with “man-hater.” I don’t hate men. I love men. I love putting on makeup. And while I don’t always love to shave, I do it anyway. But I understand why I do those things; I understand why I sometimes feel fat or ugly or stupid.

Feminism has opened my eyes to a lot of things, and I wish that there was a way for us to make it more popular in high school.

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