I was asked pretty recently why I’m a feminist, and, while I was staring at the asker in confusion (because shouldn’t it be obvious?), the question was immediately followed by “I mean, women can vote and shit, isn’t the whole equal rights thing sorta handled?”
I was absolutely stunned… Women can vote and shit. Because obviously that is the be all and end all of equal rights, we can vote! What else could we possibly want? I literally face-palmed so hard I’m surprised I didn’t leave an actual handprint.
So, to make up for being too shocked to give a concise answer, here, in no particular order, are fifty reasons…
- Because I am a woman.
- Because feminism is the radical belief that women are people too.
- Because I don’t hate men but the assumption is always there that I must because I’m a gay woman who cares about women’s rights.
- Because boys are being raised in a patriarchal society that forces them into an incorrect and problematic view of masculinity that not only causes them to strip away valuable virtues from themselves, like patience and empathy, but also teaches them to view and treat women in unhealthy ways that devalue women as people and turn us into objects purely for a man’s benefit.
- Because “like a girl” is an insult, implying an inherent weakness and that being a girl is something to be ashamed of.
- Because of the phrase, “It’s not rape if you don’t say no.” I want to remind everyone in general that rape is not defined as the presence of the word no but by the absence of the word yes. Consent is a freely given, enthusiastic YES. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Because the question most frequently asked of victims of sexual harassment and rape is “What were you wearing?”
- Because the media and PSA’s teach girls about safety and avoiding provocative dress and behaviours but they don’t teach boys about the importance of consent.
- Because Rape Culture.
- Because Misogyny.
- Because Patriarchy.
- Because Double Standards.
- Because Slut Shaming is never okay.
- Because sometimes when I tell someone I’m a lesbian they ask if it’s because I’ve never been ‘fucked right by a man’.
- Because we live in a society that teaches young woman to fear and repress their own sexuality while attacking and denigrating those who choose not to bow to social programming.
- Because Slut is attacking women for their right to say yes.
- Because Frigid and Friend Zone are attacking women for their right to say no.
- Because Bitch is attacking women for their right to call you out on the difference.
- Because women are just as guilty as men of being the ones to attack those rights.
- Because “You don’t have to be Anti-Man to be Pro-Woman” –Jane Galvin Lewis
- Because the length of my skirt is neither an invitation nor an excuse.
- Because he’s a boss but she’s just bossy.
- Because to be taken seriously as a woman who likes women I’m expected to dress and act like a man.
- Because gender-based violence kills one in three women across the world and is the biggest cause of injury and death to women worldwide, causing more deaths and disability among women aged 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war.
- Because women perform 66% of the world’s work, but receive only 11% of the world’s income, and own only 1% of the world’s land.
- Because women make up 66% of the world’s illiterate adults.
- Because women head 83% of single-parent families. The number of families nurtured by women alone doubled from 1970 to 1995 (from 5.6 million to 12.2 million).
- Because women account for 55% of all college students, but even when women have equal years of education it does not translate into economic opportunities or political power.
- Because all these things are true despite there being six million more women than men in the world.
- Because despite there being six million more women than men we’re still treated as a minority.
- Because two-thirds of the world’s children who receive less than four years of education are girls. Girls represent nearly 60% of the children not in school.
- Because parents in countries such as China and India sometimes use sex determination tests to find out if their fetus is a girl. Of 8,000 fetuses aborted at a Bombay clinic, 7,999 were female.
- Because wars today affect civilians most, since they are civil wars, guerrilla actions and ethnic disputes over territory or government. 3 out of 4 fatalities of war are women and children.
- Because rape is consciously used as a tool of genocide and weapon of war. Tens of thousands of women and girls have been subjected to rape and other sexual violence since the crisis erupted in Darfur in 2003. There is no evidence of anyone being convicted in Darfur for these atrocities.
- Because about 75% of the refugees and internally displaced in the world are women who have lost their families and their homes.
- Because often saying “I have a boyfriend” is the only thing that can actually stop a guy from chatting you up because they respect another guy more than they respect a lack of interest or right to rejection.
- Because often saying “I’m a lesbian” or “I have a girlfriend” is taken as a challenge and not a statement of fact, it’s treated as playing hard to get rather than an indication of disinterest.
- Because “It was so ok to beat your wife until so recently there’s a piece of clothing in our culture affectionately nicknamed after beating the crap out of your wife. And for some reason this is offensive to no one.” — Louis C.K.
- Because shaming a woman because she shows more skin, works in the sex industry, or any other “unladylike” profession, and then calling yourself a feminist, is ridiculous. Feminism is about equality, not cultural control.
- Because shaming a woman who chooses to be a stay at home wife and mother is equally ridiculous.
- Because Feminism is about choice.
- Because when a male friend of mine told his dad he wanted to be a nurse, his dad told him that it’s a woman’s job and that he should be a doctor because that is what men do in the medical profession.
- Because the lack of equality between the sexes does not just affect women.
- Because whether or not I shaved my legs today should not be taken as a political statement.
- Because the majority of people and organisations determining what is and isn’t ok for me to do with my body are, or are run by, men.
- Because “You’re a girl, act like it.” You know what? No. My vagina did not come with terms and conditions, it does not imply an obligation to a specific code of behaviour.
- Because I should not be defined by my gender.
- Because we teach girls to make themselves smaller. Society says to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise you will threaten the man.’ Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. I’m not saying that marriage can’t be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors – not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.
- Because despite one of the core beliefs that drive the feminist movement being the desire to rid our thoughts, as a collective society, of gender-bias terms and notions it is still called feminism (based on the word feminine [meaning that of woman]).
But above all else…
50. I am a feminist because I still have to explain why I am a feminist.
Feminism: (Noun) The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.