I pulled this off of a friend's Facebook and I felt like she articulated many sentiments that I hold near and dear quite well.
Thank you, Alysen, for helping us find our voices.
Thank you more for having one of those voices that so many feminists struggle to find.
I love being a feminist. I love calling myself "feminist" out loud
because that word wields power. It's like an open invitation to anyone
within earshot to call my bluff. Identifying as a feminist tells other
people that I am strong-willed, defiant, critically minded,independent, opinionated and most importantly: vocal. I love being a
feminist because I can vote, go to college, read literature, and publicly state my opinion without being imprisoned or risking death.
All of these things were difficult or impossible for women to do even
100 years ago, and women in other parts of the globe STILL do not have
some of these freedoms. Openly identifying as a feminist also means that
I risk being ridiculed, condemned, or criticized. Like many women, I
still confront the embarrassment of being honked at when I walk down the
sidewalk in a summer dress. I still constantly feel the unrelenting
pressure to conform to ideal body standards. I still feel the scorn when
I tell some people that I do not wish to have children, get married; or
that I would seek a legal abortion if I wanted one. I still feel
overwhelmed and sometimes lost, ignored, taken for granted and self
conscious that nothing I do or say will ever be good enough because
society tells me that I have to live my life in a certain way to be
So I fight. I fight against people who try to reduce freedoms
that women have gained. I fight against people in my owncommunity
and on this campus who attack my core values (recall the individual who
posted "7 Ways Feminism is Destroying American Women" all over campus,
or the campus religious zealots who would rather see women die in
back-alley-botch-jobs than have access to legal and hygienic abortion
procedures). I fight against professors who show favoritism to males in
the classroom for the simple fact that they are males. I fight against
my peers who don't understand why I will not just shut up, be
empty-headed, pretty, and flirt with boys. I fight to be recognized as
valuable, intelligent, and fully capable. I will continue to fight for
consciousness-raising. I will speak out whenever I can because silence
is an act of compliance. Any time I raise my voice in objection, it is a
small victory for advancing equality.
Yes, there will always be those
who disagree. But if I can use my voice and my knowledge to make life
better in some small way for someone I will never know in another part
of the world, or someone who will live in another time decades into the
future, that is a battle worth fighting for--because some brave women in
the not-so-distant past who never knew of my existence cared enough to
fight for me. Feminism is my vivacious spirit, and no one can ever take that away.