I’ve identified as a feminist for quite a while now and in that time I have never been called angry (to my face), but since I’ve started writing with feminist-laced posts on my personal blog I’ve heard it a lot lately. Of course it is discouraging and I want to defend myself, but I don’t have to, my words are defense enough. I am angry, and why shouldn’t I be? We are fighting to be heard in a world that often undermines a female voice.
When you step outside the lines that were drawn for you the reception isn’t always positive, people love their boxes and they want you to stay in your box. My anger is not bad, that’s the misconception, it has a point and a reason and it is utilized for positivity. That anger has provided me with understanding for not only my own gender oppression but for those oppressed for their race, sexuality and religion instead of dismissing them. Don’t be scared that people won’t like you for what you believe, be shameless, “to be shameless is to know you’re in the right when everyone else believes you’re in the wrong.”
I often find myself wanting to stifle my voice because I know the reactions I’ll receive, but this is too important. These little pieces of pop culture, OUR social culture, are what we base our decisions on and we internalize them. It’s imperative to think about, analyze, and question why you believe something, especially if it hurts other people. You sometimes have to tear something apart to see how it really works, and that is a piece of feminism. You’re showing people the insides of a patriarchal society and not everyone will like it, it means they will have to be uncomfortable with something they are comfortable with. You’re not wrong simply because someone doesn’t like what you are saying.
I live in a place that flaunts how progressive they are, but if I am vocal about women outside of my circle (and sometimes inside) I literally get laughed at and mocked for being a feminist, but it’s OK, “they’re just kidding!” This doesn’t even compare to some of the horrific things I’ve heard back home, but really? Don’t be afraid of the feminist label, society makes it a bad word because they don’t want you to shake up the standards.
A patriarchal society likes to associate feminist action with negativity so it deters people from joining a movement that is opposed to it. No one in power wants to lose power. Don’t let them shame you into hiding, you don’t have to hide, that is the reason we speak out. It’s unfair that standing up for yourself and others means you have to get knocked down, but life isn’t fair. However, that doesn’t mean that you should give it up and accept a certain fate for yourself or future women just because it doesn’t always go your way. Without people who stand there would be no change or difference and your stance plays a vital role in progression.
It’s hard to fight privilege of any kind and it’s nice to remind yourself and others that there is a purpose and it is meaningful because you give it meaning. Don’t give up, we have your back J.
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