Thought Catalog
March 14, 2017

If You Refuse To Call Yourself A Feminist, I’m Terrified Of You

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What is the issue?
Unsplash / Alice Donovan Rouse

Firstly, I’d like to state that I am not writing this letter in an angry manner. Neither am I PMS-ing. Whenever a female demands to be heard, she is usually regarded as either, so I’d like to state that I am neither.

Today, I had my heart broken by a member of the opposite sex. It wasn’t the first time, and I’m pretty certain it wouldn’t be the last.

However, today was the first time I had my heart broken because I had people tell me straight up to my face that they didn’t believe in my capabilities. Not because I wasn’t smart enough or didn’t have the necessary skills, which I would’ve understood — but simply because I am a female.

Feminism is such a sticky label these days. Some people believe in gender equality, but refuse to be called feminist due to the negative connotations that are attached to it.

I don’t understand what’s so scary about females wanting to be seen and accepted as equals. What’s so bad about being called a feminist? How can you believe in the idea of feminism, but refuse to be called a feminist? It’s ludicrous to me.

That’s similar to believing in a certain God, but choosing not to call yourself a member of His religion because it’s too extreme. I know what some of you are thinking: “You can’t equate a social movement to religion.” But it is the same thing. Is religion not a group of values and beliefs you subscribe yourself to?

Often, when asked about feminism, extreme feminazis come to people’s minds and I don’t blame them. It is those extremists who make it into the news and when you see something extreme, it sometimes puts you off from finding out more about it. Especially when it’s something that goes against the system you grew up believing.

I’m here to tell you this: Feminism is about gender equality. We want to have the same rights as you, not more. We want to be able to do the same things as you, not more.

And on top of that, we also want to defy gender stereotypes so you will be able to do the things that we can do, too.

Some think feminism isn’t important, and all I can ask is how could you? How could you look into the eyes of the 10-year old girl in India, limbs being held back from fighting, getting her genitals mutilated and tell her that feminism isn’t important because she doesn’t deserve the rights to her own body?

How could you look into the eyes of the 12-year old girl being married off to a man three times her age, where a life of domestic abuse awaits her and tell her that feminism isn’t important because she doesn’t deserve a say in a decision that will change the course of her life?

How could you look into the eyes of the 3-month old baby girl, barely able to lift her own head but faces the threat of death from her own father every day, simply because having a daughter is a disgrace?

How could you tell her that she doesn’t deserve a life on this Earth, when half of her is made up of your own genetic contribution?

How could you look into the eyes of those barely pubescent girls, sexually conditioned to think that being raped is just someone ‘playing’ with them?

You don’t know them personally, so maybe it’s easier to turn a blind eye towards them. But you know me, and I’m asking you again. How could you?

How could you look into my eyes and tell me that I don’t deserve to have the same chances that you do? How could you tell me that I don’t deserve a future as bright as yours because of my genetic predisposition? How could you discount the efforts my parents put into raising me up and think that I am not as good as you?

Then again, you might not like me. You might not care much about me, so this doesn’t really matter to you.

Let’s talk about your mother, your sisters, your grandmothers, your female cousins, and every girl you grew up to love. How could you look into your mother’s eyes, the woman who gave birth to you, and think that you are superior to her in any way?

How could you look into your sister’s eyes, and tell her that you deserve more of everything this life has to offer than her? How could you look into all of their eyes, and tell them that you don’t think they deserve the same rights as you do? How could you?

I am shaking now, my body trembling of fear. I’m scared of how little you see us females as.

I’m scared of the way you think, the way you see females as inferior merely because of our hormonal differences.

I’m scared of the way you feel. You can’t find it in you to empathize with all the wronged females in this world, who are suffering just because they were born as said gender.

And I’m scared of the way you see — because you can’t see what is so obviously wrong in front of you.

I’ve had to learn to accept that people have different beliefs, and I’m learning to respect that. But you put me in a difficult position here, my friend, because it’s not my beliefs that you don’t agree with. It’s my identity. TC mark 

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