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On Being Formerly Afraid of Feminism

Posted on the 26 September 2014 by Juliez
On Being Formerly Afraid of Feminism

I used to be scared I would be “brainwashed” into being a feminist. I never believed the stereotype that feminists are all lesbians who meet in dark places to discuss the abomination that is the male gender and their evil plots to eradicate them. But I always sensed there was a stigma surrounding the movement and feared wasting energy “getting angry about women’s rights” because I thought it would be “time-consuming.” I thought becoming a feminist would require me to shout my opinion every single second of the day and join rallies and form petitions.

But then I discovered feminism on Tumblr. Soon after, I watched the documentary Miss Representation and knew as soon as I clicked “play” that it would change everything. I watched with great interest and, when it finished, I was filled with a new outlook on life: one abundant in light and moral conviction. I supported everything that ‘Miss Representation’ stood for and knew that I had to take a stand. Since then, I have proudly called myself a feminist.

Once I embraced feminism, I became excited at the prospect of supporting something so great and couldn’t stop at a single documentary. That night, I began watching numerous feminist speeches on YouTube; listening and reading things by Margaret Cho (she’s in Miss Representation and what she said really struck me); researching feminist books and texting my best friend over and over again that she needed to watch Miss Representation. Gradually, I began expressing my views to my parents and peers, hoping to spread the messages that had so greatly impacted me. When my mom eventually commented that I was a “fully grown feminist” I was proud that she recognized me as such.

At that point it didn’t make sense to me that not everyone is a feminist. Feminism is all about equal rights and surely everyone supports that, right? And yet some of my relatives are anti-feminists and many of my schoolmates don’t know what it is. After I tweeted about feminism a friend asked me about it and first asked if it was about “hating men.” I told her no and explained it to her. She then decided that she is a feminist, too.

This is why it’s so important for feminists to not only have discussions with each other, but to also appeal to people who don’t already agree with us. I’ve found that our generation is very open-minded. I believe that if instead of insulting people who disagree with us or just avoiding them altogether, we explain our beliefs and this movement and welcome everybody with open arms, we can build a larger movement that ultimately ends discrimination.

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