So I was inspired by some of the reading I’ve been doing recently around Women’s History Month. I consider myself a feminist and have been since I was in high school. Until recently I had never questioned this, but during my recent travels I came up against a number of women who saw being a feminist as a bad thing. I had been reading Clementine Ford’s Fight Like A Girl, and got into some really interesting conversations about it with people I met travelling. Some had good views of feminism, but others were, well scared, as I saw it. The word ‘feminist’ has in recent years been given some bad connotations. It was at this point that I began to think more about exactly why I am a feminist and the way being a feminist is seen by other women and by men. So I decided to put down on paper just some of the reasons I am a feminist. There are many, many more, but here are just a few of them:
Because I’ve been told to ‘smile’ one too many times when I didn’t want to.
Because I have to work twice as hard just to get by.
Because if I take the lead I’m being bossy, not assertive.
Because when I say no, it doesn’t mean I’m playing hard to get.
Because being athletic doesn’t make my any less of a woman.
Because not all girls want to put on makeup and wear dresses.
Because I don’t fit into the boxes you try to squeeze me into.
Because I should be able to walk down the street without getting yelled at.
Because you shouldn’t be throwing stones at me, just because I turned you down.
Because the media tries to make me feel like I’ll never be good enough.
Because I shouldn’t have to push you off me when I’ve already said no.
Because if I raise my voice I get called shrill.
Because I should be able to dance without you putting your hands on me.
Because if I don’t want you I’m a prude; but if I do, I’m a slut.
Because my only goal in life isn’t just to get married.
Because I’m more than what you tell me I should be.
Because I hated balancing a book on my head, to walk ‘properly’.
Because you called me one of your ‘young ladies’ but ignored me when I needed help.
Because I’m more than just what I’m wearing, or what I’m not.
Because why should I have to obey you, when you don’t have to do the same.
Because my body is mine alone and you don’t get a say.
But mostly it’s because we are all in this together,
And that’s as it should be.
Sometimes the world isn’t pretty,
But that’s ok
Just know that for all those dark days,
I am here.
You are never alone,
I will always be here to listen,
I may be far away,
But I will always care.
Because this life can get messy,
And we all need those friends,
Who will stand by your side,
And never give up on you.
People can be cruel.
They say things that hurt,
But I want to help you heal,
So you can help others.
Your voice was not meant to be locked away,
So don’t let them shut you out,
You matter in this world,
I won’t let you forget that.
The screen is your life,
Social media tells you it’s amazing.
Likes and comments are vital
To your well being and self esteem.
Meanwhile the real world passes you by.
Real people with interesting stories,
Only useful for a good picture,
To show the rest of the world.
You connect most over the world wide web,
Not with the people sitting around you.
Learning life lessons from a screen,
Rather than by really living.
Deep emotions escape you,
Because you are to busy trying to keep up
With your fake online life
That everyone else must believe.
You die a little
Every time your phone battery does.
How will you live,
If no one can see your life?
Maybe it’s because you’re young,
Or because you’ve had an easy life.
You seem to be happy,
Just throwing away the days.
We only have a certain number here,
Before we have to return home.
I plan to spend them living,
Really living, the best I can.
Maybe it’s because I’ve struggled,
I know what the bottom feels like.
I’m not satisfied staying still,
And doing nothing anymore.
I want to be outside,
Learning about this new country.
So if I have to,
I will leave you behind.
Maybe we’re just not the same,
At different places in our lives.
We are friends,
If only for a short time.
I can’t stay with you anymore,
I must move on and spread my wings.
This life you lead,
It’s not really living,
Not for me.
Learning to love,
Not just others but myself.
I always care,
Too little for my own heart.
Learning not to be so bitter,
Against my own short comings.
And appreciate what I can do and
Let others see it.
Learning not to doubt,
In my own strength,
Because after all I made it,
This far by myself.
I will always be learning.
But today I’m learning about me,
I am strong,
I am smart,
And I can be beautiful.
I’m learning to be everything I am,
Powerful and colourful,
Not hiding away in the shadows,
Today was a good day.