“Feminism is a name for a political movement with a goal to help oppressed women find their own place in this world, all the while struggling to be put in the same place as the men.”
There you go, there’s your definition.
If you’re a feminist, you’re fighting for the rights of oppressed women all around the world. So then, if I label myself as a feminist, why am I right away labeled as a man-hating, half crazed lesbian whose only purpose in life is to be involved in an all-around riot consisting of castrating men and walking around topless yelling: “All men are pigs!”
I like to think of myself as a young, sophisticated 18 year old girl with a voice and a mind to back it up. I also like to think of myself as a feminist. And no, not because of the reasons listed above, considering that I’ve never in my entire life met a person whose sexual orientation influenced their overall opinion about humans in general, but because I come from a country where it’s still kind of normal, in some parts, that a woman is supposed to be a babymaking machine, meant for staying in the kitchen. For example, I am an excellent chess player. And one time when the game came up in conversation with my class peers, one of the boys (a guy very popular with the ladies, mind you) said: “Paula, you do know that a woman’s place is not in chess, right?”
I would like to have a standing ovation for not caving his face in right there and then. I mean, okay, your parents raised you in that way and you’re entitled to your own opinion, of course, but this kind of thinking is what brought us into this mess in the first place. Recently, I’ve been in a few situations like this one, each more absurd than the last one. It’s the 21st century – don’t you think that I, as a woman, just like the one that gave birth to your ungrateful, inflated head, deserve the same kind of professional recognition that you get when you do something praiseworthy?
So, so many young women are afraid to speak up, say their two cents, or, God forbid, mention something as awful as our periods because your tiny little egos can’t handle the talk about it? Yes, my body prepares itself for having a baby every month, and then punishes me for not being pregnant. It’s awful, it hurts and you could at least have the decency to listen to me complain about it!
If we wear make-up, we’re shallow and small-minded. If we don’t, we’re ugly and will never find a boyfriend. If we eat in front of you, we’re not gracious and shy, and if we don’t, oh then we must be starving ourselves away and must be psycho.
I am a girl. I am a girl and I deserve exactly the same treatment you get when your head, stomach or any other body part hurts. I am not PMSing if I’m cranky, nervous or tired. Joking about my weight, gain or loss of it, does not make you cool or funny, it just makes you a jackass. If you think that a girl brought anything onto herself by the choice of her wardrobe, then I really, really hope one day you have a daughter.
Don’t make me feel bad if I had the courage to say I’m afraid or sad, homesick or in pain. I’m not a pansy because you can’t understand what kind of courage it takes to get up and take a look at all my flaws that you might make fun of, be it stretch marks, body hair, not wearing makeup, too much weight, or too little weight, or even if my hair is not cooperating today. I am a girl, and you have absolutely no idea what it is like to be me, so at least show me the respect that I have been taught my entire life to show you, because you’re bigger than me and might hurt me.
And you, you be proud of yourself for being a woman! If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be what that you are today. They would have taught you that you can’t cry because it’s not manly, that blue is for boys and pink is for girls… Don’t forget it, you’re a woman and you can do whatever you want to. If he says you have to, remember that you don’t. If he leaves because you won’t do it, let him leave!
You’re not somebody’s goldfish that fulfills wishes. You are a woman. Raise your chin and embrace it.
Paula is a Croatian med student with a strange love for all things that contain berries. She is always ready to have an in-depth discussion about pretty much anything, has zero alcohol tolerance and spends way too much time reading the 100 and HP fanfiction. You can find her on her tumblr.