I recently discovered one of the most beautiful pieces on feminism I’ve ever read. Anna from The Girl in the Hat wrote this post last month, and she encouraged her readers to write their own reasons for being a feminist. Naturally, I was inspired to do so, and honestly, once I sat down to write my own, some of my answers were surprising. Please go to her blog and read some of her writing. It’s wonderful. I hope her post and mine inspire you to think of your own feelings on feminism, no matter what side you land on.
Because I deserve better.
Because my great-grandmother was left with two kids to raise on her own.
Because my grandmother suffered depression and was expected to deal with it privately.
Because my mother has been assaulted but never seen justice.
Because my sister has a college degree and makes less money than her boyfriend, who doesn’t.
Because my brother isn’t sure how to handle emotion.
Because my father might not be afraid to cry, but fear makes him angry.
Because Marilyn Monroe, Sylvia Plath and Virginia Wolfe.
Because Katharine Hepburn freaked everyone out by wearing pants.
Because Cosmopolitan magazine warped my mind.
Because the men standing outside of Kroger will inevitably “compliment” me.
Because I don’t want their compliments.
Because I’m sick of being told to “smile” when I ignore said “compliments.”
Because I don’t want to smile at a stranger.
Because middle school boys are pressuring middle school girls to send naked photos.
Because we have to better educate our kids.
Because rape culture exists.
Because I’ve never been raped but have always feared it.
Because I’ll have that fear for my entire life.
Because only 2% of rapes occur at a bar.
Because it’s not where we are.
Because my conservative tights and dress still get catcalls.
Because it’s not what we wear.
Because about 75% of rapes occurring on a college campus involve the women being intoxicated.
Because that shouldn’t matter.
Because we have to stop blaming the victim.
Because I don’t shop at Hobby Lobby anymore.
Because I feel pressure to start a family before I’m ready.
Because I’ve seen my husband cry all of five times in the nine years we’ve been together.
Because sometimes I wish he would just cry, so I would understand how he feels.
Because he tells me I’m beautiful and makes me feel safe.
Because sometimes I still forget.
Because my mother talks about her dreams like they are the kind you wake up from.
Because I made good grades in school, but could have made better ones because I was insecure and worried if people liked me.
Because I was raised in a loud family that interrupts.
Because I interrupt.
Because of every song that tells me to shake it.
Because I’m talked down to pretty much everywhere I go.
Because if I were a man, I wouldn’t be.
Because I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve been called “dramatic” or “crazy.”
Because some men in my life don’t understand feminism.
Because some women don’t either.
Because some women think this is about man-shaming.
Because it’s not.
Because by the 5th grade I’d learned the state capitals and how to hate my body.
Because the term “plus-size” exists.
Because I had a breast reduction and shopping is so much easier now.
Because I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.
Because every pair of jeans I own is a different size.
Because maternity and paternity leave are still controversial.
Because I want daughters one day.
Because I want to show them strength and confidence.
Because I want them to live in a fairer world than I do.
Because I want sons one day.
Because I want them to be strong, tender, loving, brave and unafraid of what they feel.
Because I enjoy cooking, but shouldn’t be expected to.
Because walking into a gas station at night is terrifying.
Because I feel guilty for baking a cake or ordering fries.
Because certain men instantly give me a weird feeling.
Because defending myself is exhausting.
Because in my adult life, I’ve realized the women in my life have proven to be stronger and smarter than I could have ever imagined.
Because they deserve better.
Because the young girls of today deserve better.
Because everyone deserves better.