Identifying as a Feminist

By Lexi Miller
   Feminism is not convenient. It’s not the conversation starter you use at parties when you want to make friends, it’s not the cute and clever pick up line you practiced in front of your mirror prior to confronting the attractive person you saw at the movies last Saturday. Why not, though? How did the equality get twisted and warped so much to spit back the word, ‘controversy’?
  I feel obligated to mention the fact that women have more rights than before. This does not mean I am not angry. I am angry that I get catcalled on the street. I am furious that old men think it’s okay to say sexual remarks to me. I am enraged that women are denied education based on their gender. I am infuriated that women have been constantly erased from history. Really, I am just angry.
    Women of color constantly do not receive the recognition they deserve. For example, Malala Yousafzai got shot in the head for advocating education for all and failed to win woman of the year. Malala lived in a war stricken country where the Taliban had taken over and she could not go to school, yet she showed unwavering courage for her right to education. Malala wrote a secret journal about her life under the Taliban and the struggles she faced; yet I bet half the people haven’t even bothered to remember how to pronounce her last name. 
    Feminism is not about victimization and it never has been. Feminism teaches empowerment after school systems teach misogyny in health classrooms and dress code systems. Because no, she was not asking for it, her clothing did not seduce him, ‘no’ is a good enough answer no matter how much her voice shakes. When I’m taught in health class I have to say, ‘no’ in a strong and assertive voice and then am expected to launch into a justification; I have to realize ‘no’ is valid. No, I do not need to justify why I do not want to go on a date with him, and yes, I have permission to leave the conversation if I don’t feel comfortable, and no, I’m not sorry. 
​   I’m not sorry for recognizing my worth in a society historically set against me. When people say I do not need to be a feminist because I have it better than other women, I tell them that is the very reason why we need it. Feminism does not only benefit privileged women but works to benefit the women sold into sex trafficking, the women who are not allowed to read because they might learn of their worth, the women who cannot pursue their ambitions, the women who are killed for rejecting men, and every single other woman in the world.Feminism is not the opening remark at a job interview in a male dominated workplace. Feminism is not the topic of choice at the dinner table. Why not, though?

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