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This is what a feminist looks like

Why we need feminism

Katie Kulus, Journalist

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I am not a man hater. I do not think that women are better than men. I just know that all humans deserve equal opportunities and think that we should be viewed by our individual strengths and capabilities. I am a feminist, and feminism is not a dirty word.

When I was little, I didn’t understand what feminism was. To me, I just lived in a world where women were bossy if they took leadership. Where the girls couldn’t be as smart or strong as the boys. To a chatty girl like me, I didn’t understand why I was the rare, voluble girl. That was until I learned that observations like these were upsetting to Emma Watson (a well-known feminist). Her United Nations speech in 2014 changed my beliefs. I learned that if I didn’t act now, who would? That speech led me to another well-known feminist: Lena Dunham. As Lena pointed out, “Feminism isn’t a dirty word. It’s not like we’re a deranged group who think women should take over the planet.” Being a feminist doesn’t mean you think women deserve special rights; it means you KNOW we deserve equal ones.

Emma Watson at her UN speech

Emma Watson at her UN speech

So beyond the fact that women earn 23% less in the workforce than men why else do we need feminism? Well, at the root of our government, women still hold less than 20 percent of seats in Congress, even though they make up more than half the population. You could choose to blame it on the women not trying hard enough to get those jobs, but how do you expect women to do that when as little girls they are told they are bossy if they want to advance themselves? Another issue is rape. Why are we teaching girls to prevent rape? Instead, we should teach that humans are not objects. We need feminism because, sometimes, a movie’s rating (PG-13 versus R) depends on how much a female appears to be enjoying sex in a certain scene. We need feminism because FGM (Female Genital Mutilation-the act of cutting off and re-stitching female genitals to avoid enjoyable sex) can happen to girls as young as five months old and is still practiced in 29 countries. We need it because more than 120 countries don’t have laws against marital rape and still allow child brides (some as young as six years old). Because even in the United States sexism is still an issue. Being a feminist is not a gender issue; it is a humanity issue. If you are a feminist, you believe women should be treated the same as men, not because we’re better, but because we’re human.

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham

Some people don’t feel the urge to voice their thoughts on the matter at all, and that’s honorable. But there is a big difference between being indifferent and being ignorant. And that variance is speaking out about an issue when your opinion is based on false information.

So if you asked me why I wear my feminist shirt to school and put up with unrelenting oppression by some classmates I’d tell you because I imagine the world to be a place where men and women have equal political, social, and economic opportunities.

 

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