Let’s talk about feminism: Because being a feminist as a teenage girl is many things but easy.
So what is feminism? For me, being a feminist means fighting as hard as I can to make sure that, one day, my daughters won’t have to grow up with the problems I’m growing up with. It means that I want boys and girls to have the same opportunities, and so it is also a fight for my sons. And for these very reasons, I refuse to accept that many say; that feminism is about women. It’s not! Feminism is about people. It’s about equality; everybody is concerned. And yet, when I say that I am a feminist, very few people accept it this way.
Some people say that I am “just a woman”, who only wants rights for herself; selfish because there are so many other people who need help. I usually stop discussing here, simply because I don’t see the point in talking to somebody who doesn’t even want to listen. But here is the perfect moment to write down what I have thought so often and said so seldom:
I think that there’s nothing wrong with thinking about myself and fighting for my own rights – and no, that’s not being selfish. I fight for men’s rights too, so how does feminism make me egoistic? It’s sad, but I think that I’m going to fight for these rights all my life, and I don’t think that I would ever get a chance to live in the world I am building. I’m going to build it for my children and grandchildren – and that’s not being selfish. That’s thinking about the next generations.
Other people say that I am too young to know anything about the world and that I shouldn’t criticize these things that, as they say, I don’t even understand. Well, they have a point – I am young. But I don’t think that that’s a good enough reason to shut me up. I am young – young enough to ask the annoying questions, young enough to have time and power to change what has to be changed. And since I usually talk about sexist problems as a teenage girl, I don’t think that anybody could judge that better than a teenage girl.
There’s also this group of plus/minus my aged guys and who are absolutely scared of feminism because it could destroy their comfort zone. They are my classmates, my parents’ friends’ sons or my cousins. They have just built their idea of the different gender roles (or are still building this idea) and can’t handle the idea that I just want to destroy it. I tell them that staring is not okay, even if a girl is wearing a short skirt. They wouldn’t ever agree with me. Some have even told me that directly, not even ashamed of it. I call these guys the “scared anti-feminists”. I think if they would just listen for a minute, they could understand that we all want the same thing – and that is a better world and that feminism has never killed any guy. I see a lot of potential in these guys because they, regardless of this, are open-minded, and the only problem is that they are scared. But once that problem is solved – and it’s easy to solve by explaining what feminism is -, they can help a lot; and men are just as useful as women when it comes to building a better future.
To sum it up: as a teenage feminist, there are many problems I have to deal with every day. Add if you add to these problems all these people, the job is always impossible! And yet, I would never stop fighting this battle. The battle that is not selfish, but generous. The battle that is not limited to women, but applies to all. A battle that we call: feminism.
When I go to bed at night, I see Rosie the Riveter hanging on my wall, and she’s the first thing I see when I wake up. A gentle reminder that other women started this fight, that I have to go on, to make sure that their work was not in vain, and to make sure that someday, we will be taken seriously by everybody when saying that “we can do it!”