Students Speak: Coming Out As A Feminist
May 27, 2009 § 5 Comments
Coming Out As A Feminist – by Shani, a high school junior.
I am a feminist. I have always been a feminist, but it has taken me long to finally come to terms with my true nature. My coming out is not a declaration, nor a rant, or rage. It is a more of a revelation, an epiphany. I have always been a person who believes in equal rights for all, regardless of race, culture, class, sex, or gender. This is a feminist. For all of these reasons, I am a feminist.
Looking back on my feminist realization, it is hard to believe how I could have ever seen myself as otherwise. What is it exactly that stopped me from saying those four powerful words? In the past, feminism seemed like an entity that existed separate from me. Even though feminism is a movement for gender equality, I didn’t feel the need to title myself as a feminist to understand the values of equilibrium that it promoted. I realize now that part of my reluctance was because I was nervous about associating myself with the stigmas that feminism appeared to uphold. For me it was a movement for excessively opinionated, loud mouthed, radical females. Oddly, I hoped that I could support what feminism meant – equality and progress – without sanctioning the connotations of its official label.
In a society that is built around twisted passivity, especially in women, my reaction to the possibility of my feminist title is not out of the ordinary; I guess I was saving face. However, I have not discarded my initial impressions; I have now come to understand the truth that resides behind my convoluted assumptions. The movement that I mistook for the ‘excessively opinionated,’ is actually built by thinkers, from Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth to Jessica Valenti, that have examined the culture and society that exists around us. Moreover, ‘loud mouthed’ was a miscalculation for voices of strength and conviction, and ‘radical females’ was a flat out oversight of the number of both men and women who choose to deviate from, as well as challenge societal norms for the sake of equality. These men and women, us men and women, are feminist. There is no shame in the strength feminism represents. I encourage you to examine society, advocate for equality and change, and in addition consider whatever is keeping you from ‘coming out’ as a feminist.