“What was said left a bad taste in my mouth. A few days later he made a comment on my Facebook insinuating that I was “easy.” I wish he had said something more overt and terrible. I wish he had told me women are to be seen and not heard, or pulled out the knife he had once touched my back with to indicate flirtation.
But he didn’t, so I am left only with the inexorable frustration of being looked at and spoken to and offended by this chauvinistic dirt bag in a manner I cannot fully do justice to using language, and the fear that by trying to do so I will only come off as overwrought or dramatic, falling further into the very same disturbing stereotypes of young women that I am trying to overcome by articulating them.
In that moment though, as trite as it may sound, I realized that feminism cannot be dead, because, as long as there are people like this, people like “him” and the networks of those seemingly more reasonable, pacifying types surrounding “him” who excuse inexcusable behavior, dismiss harassment, ignore misogynistic comments, and treat chauvinistic attitudes with levity, the survival of feminism is not only crucial, but ethically required of us as a culture.
I am a human but I am also a feminist. I am a feminist because not being a feminist is not merely a circumstantial choice or preference: it is a moral flaw. I know this now. I don’t listen to riot grrl music or practice particularly esoteric sexual behavior. I wear dresses everyday and am compelled to learn how to dance. I try to feel pretty almost all of the time, and part of me always believes that if I lose fifteen pounds I will be, not only a more beautiful, but also a happier person.
But that isn’t everything. I am damn smart and I am pursuing noble purposes: not merely through my actions, but through the use of language. And I refuse to be relegated to an object, sexual conquest or measured in the terms of a gendered stereotype.
I will humbly accept being told to cross my legs and embarrassingly hide my slip if it is showing, but I will not be told when I can speak for myself or accept being scared off by the implication of a physical threat. If you want to call me a cunt or a slut, a little girl or anything else, go ahead, but don’t tell me when or how I am allowed to respond.”
Read the full article on Thought Catalog.