I Am a Feminist | Teen Ink

I Am a Feminist MAG

February 12, 2018
By Liana26 SILVER, Delhi, Other
Liana26 SILVER, Delhi, Other
8 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Forever is composed of nows.

I am a 15-year-old girl living in India, and I am a feminist.
I feel the need to be a feminist, not because it’s the new “in” thing, but because feminism is about my rights. The fact that my sister can’t go out of her dorm room after 7 p.m. while her male friends can is why I need feminism. The fact that my teacher asks me to wear a longer skirt to school is why I need feminism. The fact that the highest paid actress earns 15 crore for a film, while the highest paid actor makes 60 crore for the same work is why I need feminism. The fact that boys in my class say they don’t care about feminism because it isn’t about them is why I need feminism. Why do we have to remind boys that they have mothers and sisters in order to make them respect women? The fact that we have to justify feminism is why I need feminism.

If you are an anti-feminist, I suggest you read further. Your opinion is yours, sure, but your opinion is also affecting half of the world. Speaking as a girl, feminism is not about having a strong political opinion because you have to. It is solely about rights and uplifting those in the world who are at a disadvantage. Here’s what I hear anti-feminists arguing and how I respond:

1. A teenager shouldn’t have such strong opinions about political issues.

I heard my aunt whispering to my mom once that it’s not healthy for a teenage girl (referring to me) to feel so strongly about a political issue at such a tender age. Yet, when I hear about rape cases and acid attacks on girls, am I not supposed to question why girls are always targeted? Why girls are treated as objects? At my age, I can’t fully understand the scope of my country’s problems or the complexity of its economy, but I can decide (and have strong opinions about) what feels right or wrong.

Don’t stop me from deciding for myself what’s sexist and what’s not. This is about more than an opinion or a social cliché; it’s about my life. If I don’t raise my voice about what’s wrong starting now, the world will have one voice less, decreasing the already meagre number of people who want women to be treated equal to men. The fact that I have an opinion about women getting raped and want to be in charge of my own body is not extreme. Wanting equal rights is a political, social, and economic issue, and it affects every girl from the moment she is born. Feminism is important. Girls need it. The world needs it.

2. You’re just saying this because you heard it in a movie or saw it on an actress’s Instagram.

Yeah, maybe I am. Maybe I was anti-feminist until I came across Emma Watson’s Instagram account. Or maybe I saw “Thelma and Louise” and turned into a feminist. Maybe, I attended Ashley Judd’s talk and decided that feminism is something I wanted to feel strongly about (which is actually what happened with me). I don’t see what’s wrong with that. If a movie or an Instagram account or a quote or a book led me to broaden my confined mind, ask questions about socially accepted unfair conventions, and turn my friends into feminists, then what is wrong with that? My school isn’t teaching me about something as salient as equal rights, so it makes sense that I would grab every opportunity to hear about feminism and learn more. And so should you. Go read the story of Ashley Judd or J.K. Rowling or Malala Yousafzai. Maybe they will change how you think too.

3. The Constitution already states that women have equal rights.

Our Indian Constitution states that all men and women, regardless of religion, caste, or community must be treated fairly and equally at all times. However, it is not like the Constitution is the gospel truth that everybody follows and never breaks. The Constitution also says that government officials are not to indulge in corruption, but we know that they do. The Constitution is merely a rulebook. Women have equal rights in the sense that they are allowed to vote. They are allowed to practice all professions. Their testimony in court is worth the same as a man’s, but the social construct is still restricting women. The Constitution paints an ideal situation that we hope one day will be reality, but it isn’t reality yet.

4. My mom works.

Really? I eat potatoes. What does that or the fact that your mom works have to do with anything? Your mom working is not the point. The point is that she might still be treated unfairly in her place of work. If she is the CEO of a big company, she may have had to work twice as hard as any man to get her position and be taken seriously. Ask her. The fact that your mom works shows empowerment; it doesn’t necessarily show equality.

5. Not all men …

True. Not all men are sexist or rapists or violent. But enough are. When a girl walks down an empty road at night, or day even, she may feel scared of those two boys sitting on bikes staring at her. Maybe she read about a rape case just that day in the newspaper. All she wants is to reach home safely.
Men are scared to be generalized. They don’t want to be seen as sexual predators when they are actually nice people. Women’s conditions are exactly the same. Just as men don’t want to be generalized as rapists, women don’t want to be generalized as weak. So why aren’t we fighting for this together?

6. I am a guy. It doesn’t affect me. Why should I care about it?

Well, because we don’t want humanity to die. Sexism affects men. Men are told to control their emotions, to act “macho,” to play cricket, to not cry. Don’t forget that you’re human. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to not like sports. It’s okay to not work out or have abs. Besides, the fact that it affects you shouldn’t be the only reason why you participate in equality debates. If there is so much sexual harassment and exploitation and rape, don’t you think that as a human with a heart, belonging to this world, you should raise your voice? It does affect you. But it doesn’t have to affect you for you to care about it.
7. And lastly: Boys don’t like feminists. You won’t get a boyfriend or a husband.

Boo freakin’ hoo. The fact that there are boys out there who won’t like me for raising my voice for my rights proves why we need feminism. I wasn’t born to live up to what others want and expect. And if a boy is so frail that he doesn’t want to date or marry a girl who has a voice – a feminist (gasp) – then I can live without him, thank you very much. 

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This article has 4 comments.

Desiredhuman said...
on Oct. 12 2019 at 11:38 am
Desiredhuman, Faridabad, Other
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Totally agreed..
Why only girls are restricted to live young and breathe freely.. Such creepy thoughts..
Loved your article.
It annoys me literally that here in our society girls are not supposed to grow higher but to get married, have babies and spoil their life.
I m too against this sexualism.

on Nov. 26 2018 at 8:10 pm
Dani_Higareda PLATINUM, Hanahan, South Carolina
20 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
- Winnie the Pooh

You did an extremely amazing job. I can't tell you how many times I've endured sexism in my own house. I am Mexican, and in my culture, men believe that women belong in the kitchen and that we are here on this planet solely to satisfy them. As a Mexican teen girl, life has been very hard for me because of my father being extremely overprotective. I'm just so tired of all this sexism! My sisters and I have to cook for my father and my brothers, while they are capable of at least helping us out in the kitchen. However, they believe that women are supposed to be the ones cooking and cleaning for them. It infuriates m when my father tells my brothers that when they're older, they'll get to go out whenever they want and come back home whenever they want. Why are girls treated so differently? It annoys me a lot when he also says that women aren't as strong as men because we are stronger than them both physically and mentally! Great job on your article! Please keep writing and never stop advocating for what you believe in!

MA BRONZE said...
on Sep. 23 2018 at 11:12 pm
MA BRONZE, Midvale, Utah
4 articles 1 photo 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
If life shuts one door, open another, or you could open the closed door. That's how doors work.

This is an amazing piece of writing even for someone's who's not a feminist, and not because of the fact I'm a guy though. I have one issue. Girls aren't the only ones targeted by others. Guys get targeted and yeah less sure, but still. Girls just get more attention... that's something that bothers me. I'm gonna go before I rant.

on May. 2 2018 at 6:24 pm
Thinkception SILVER, Staten Island, New York
5 articles 18 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"No Great Mind Has Ever Existed Without a Touch of Madness"-Aristotle

I do agree with the fact that you can express your opinion and you are free to be a feminist, but there are a few problems with your arguments, mainly being that your complaints focus on an American audience when your circumstances are vastly different. So allow me to tweak them just a tad bit. 1) The Women's March had 4 million participants worldwide in 2016, and 2 million in 2017. I don't think that's "meager number of people". 2) I could say that I went to an anti-feminist's speech and say that it provoked me in the same way it did for you. In both cases, we're listening to someone use facts that only support their side, leading to bias. You can say you read thousands of books on feminism, but you know nothing unless you learn about the other side. 3) Most constitutions do uphold these rights, but the social constructs you speak of refer to certain cases and generalizes what is otherwise a free society; now you are being hypocritical of your point in #5. 4) Everyone, male or female, has to start at the bottom of the corporate ladder and work their way up to the top, that's common knowledge. 5) I would gladly speak up about these issues if a) someone actually cared, b) someone took my position as a male seriously, or c) if they actually had any impact, which they have yet to have. So I do wish you well on your mission to achieve equal rights, as the situation in India has always been a difficult one. Do not take these comments as an attack from an anti-feminist (which am I not) , but an attempt to inform and educate you. Again, best of luck.