I remember the first time I mentioned the 'f word' in a conversation with my friends. And yes, the 'f word' I am referring to here is feminism.
That was almost the end of my life.
"June, what the f*** is wrong with you?"
"Oh, so you hate men now?"
"I knew it! You're definitely a lesbian."
"You're never going to be accepted."
"You're a black woman, you can't be a feminist! After all, won't you take care of your husband?"
"But you go to church! How can you be Christian and be a feminist?"
My friends were horrified that I was a feminist. Like, what the hell? Why wouldn't I be a feminist with all the misogyny and inequality in our world? For goodness sake, why is it now a sin to believe in equality?
The reasons to believe in feminism were blatantly obvious to me. So I began my 30-minute rant on why we all need to be feminists. When I was done (and I might have spent a little longer than 30 minutes), one of my friends said, "June, you need to chill. I'm not a feminist, but I believe in women's rights."
I don't need to take a chill-pill AT ALL. There is something undeniably wrong with people who feel that they're not feminists but they believe in women's rights. Or they're not feminists but they believe in the strength of women. Or they're not feminists but they believe that women shouldn't be treated like crap by men. Or they're not feminists but they want to feel like their voice matters.
This is where you stop reading if you don't want to find out the truth about feminism.
SPOILER ALERT: Sorry hun, but if you believe and care about all these things, then you are a feminist. And it's okay to be a feminist.
I know that many of you will be shocked by this 'revelation', but the truth is feminists are not bra-burning, man-hating psychopaths. As a feminist, I certainly don't burn my bras or hate men (I only hate them when they act like total douchebags). However, being a feminist is about seeing women being given equal rights and equal opportunities. Being a feminist is about seeing women have choice. Being a feminist is about gender equality.
So for all you peeps who don't believe in feminism, this is why we need feminism.
We need feminism because every 10 seconds, one girl will go through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM is the deliberate mutilation of the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and has life-long consequences for the women and girls who go through the practice. When I talk about FGM, I'm constantly asked, why?
I'll spell it out for you. C-O-N-T-R-O-L. Control.
The clitoris is an organ that the men in our society are terrified of. Without the clitoris, a woman's sexuality is controlled. The idea that some men believe that if a woman has a clitoris, she will be succumb to emotion beyond her control when she sees a man leaves me astounded. Could it really be as easy as that?
FGM is performed to control women and is the main reason why millions of girls are still forced to go through this practice every year.
There are millions of reasons why we should all be feminists, and if I were to list them out, we'd be here all day. But even being able to breastfeed in public is a reason to be a feminist. Being told you are dressing up to attract male attention is a reason to be a feminist. And so what if I dress up for male attention? Who are you to judge? I bet you've dressed up for male attention at least once in your life.
I'm a feminist. I'm a very, very proud feminist (this is when you can start judging me). And why shouldn't I be? Fannies are WAY better. I mean, come on?! We can bring new life into the world and still bounce back into shape. The fact that even men came out of a vagina is saying something about how powerful vaginas actually are. The power of the vagina is why we continue to be oppressed and dominated every day.
That's why I'm asking you all to be feminists. Nobody should be determined by his or her genitalia and I will not allow the fact that I was born with a vagina instead of a penis to write my future and my destiny. Be a feminist, be a proud feminist and together we can show the world that women matter. And by doing that, we can start to defeat the patriarchy and misogyny.
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