by Kate Lewis
I am a woman in 2013, and I am damn tired.
I am tired of people who roll their eyes at the idea of feminism. I am particularly tired of women who take for granted modern rights to attend college and get jobs, cast a vote, live autonomously; I am tired of hearing these unappreciative women mock the people who fight for them. I’m tired of feminists getting insulted and made fun of when all they want is fairness.
I’m tired of women getting torn apart for their looks. I’m tired of people being disgusted by Lena Dunham’s naked body because she doesn’t look like a supermodel, instead of listening to how funny and real she is. I’m tired of female politicians’ opinions being valued less than their appearances. I am tired of women having to defend themselves against such cruelty, because they shouldn’t have to.
I’m tired of other people telling me how to behave. I’m tired of being told to be ladylike. I’m tired of not expressing myself the way I want to express myself because it makes other people uncomfortable. I’m tired of being told how to dress and talk and act. I’m tired of women who let stereotypes and gender constructs dictate who they are.
I am tired of victim-blaming and slut-shaming and a society that teaches victims “don’t get raped” rather than teaching attackers “don’t rape”. I am tired of the fact that there are no negative words for a man who expresses his sexuality, but dozens for a woman who does the same. I’m tired of double standards.
I’m tired of female voices being discounted because of their gender. I’m tired of strong women being called bitches for sharing their opinions, girls who like sports being called pink-hats, the cast of The Vagina Monologues being called immoral and exploitative because they celebrate female sexuality. I’m tired of girls being afraid to be themselves because boys tell them they aren’t funny or important or worth listening to.
I am tired of the lack of equality, and I won’t find rest until everyone is free to be what they want to be and do what they want to do with their lives.
Where is the shame in standing up for your rights and taking pride in your gender? Why is a feminist such a terrible thing to be? A hundred years ago, courageous women put their lives on the line to ensure freedom and equality for generations to come. Feminism is bravery, tenacity, the refusal to tolerate injustice. Why is that so wrong?
A feminist is not what you think it is. A feminist does not hate men; a feminist wishes to coexist on an equal plane with them. A man can be a feminist. Straight or gay people can be feminists. There are feminists of all races, faiths, and ethnicities. All it takes to be a feminist is a basic desire for equality and a love of yourself and the human race.
I am a feminist. Why aren’t you?
Happy Valentine’s Day.