The Real Questions, Part 3: Why Are YOU a Feminist?

The Real Questions is an unconventional series by managing editor Ashley Kim, covering everything in the realm of teenager daily life. Part blog post, part advice column, and part news article, this series wants to answer, well, the real questions.

TIME: 10:30:01 PM

I wrote down the latest text message in my cardboard-colored notebook as I collected more and more opinions about why my fellow girls (and boys) at DHS were feminists. This is the true spirit of journalism, I said happily to myself as my favorite song came up on Spotify shuffle.

But even the pride I felt as I gathered my peers’ opinions to finally give them a voice could not cover up the shock and disgust I felt on the inside.

“Well, I know about boy bullies,” a girl’s text message read. Instantly images of many boys hurting one girl ran through my mind. Was it sexual? Did they make up nicknames? Did they ever hit her? I tried to erase the thoughts from my head so I could finish my calculus homework, but I felt like they were tattooed to my brain in black Sharpie.

After school that day, I talked to a girl who told me that a boy told her to pull her shirt up. “I don’t wear this shirt with a regular bra anymore,” she said nonchalantly. I kept a straight face, but I was furious on the inside. How dare he tell her what to wear? I asked myself. She deserves to feel beautiful, whatever shirt or bra or anything she’s wearing.

I remember that I was practically silent on the way home. “I’m just so shocked,” I admitted. “It’s just so wrong, Mom. It’s just so wrong. We aren’t equal, and it shows. And it doesn’t just affect women on the other side of the world. It affects everyone at DHS.”

Even if feminism might seem like a radical concept, it really isn’t. It is simply the idea that women and men are equal. Right now, the lack of equality that girls have to face affects all of DHS- not just the girls. So, without further ado, here is why my peers at DHS are feminists.

NOTE: The quotes below are all anonymous. However, sophomore Safia Yusuf wrote a full length response to the first part of this series “The Real Questions, Part 2: Why am I a feminist?”. Click HERE to read it.

I am a feminist because I can’t stand being told to cover up what I’m wearing or how I should dress.

I am a feminist because the phrase “like a girl” should not be an insult.

I am a feminist because I know too many women that are stereotyped and treated with disrespect that is never targeted toward men.

I am a feminist because I don’t want to go to a school where we have dress codes to prevent being “distractions” to guys.

I am a feminist because I believe in gender equality. Women shouldn’t be seen as being inherently lesser to men.

I am a feminist because it’s not okay for guys to think that it’s okay to bully girls because they think that we are weak.

I am a feminist because women must destroy the patriarchy.

I am a feminist because I think it’s important and necessary that women are treated as equals to men. It’s the way of society now!

I am a feminist because it means more than just someone who believes women should have the same rights as men. It means equal rights for everyone, women, men, and everyone in between. In a world constantly evolving, “feminism” needs to be present to keep the ball rolling. We’ve already come so far, from a place where women were believed to have no other purpose than reproduction to today, where women rule in some of the largest corporations. However, we have so much more to do: closing the wage gap, to mention one. I am a feminist because the world needs women (AND MEN) to work together to fix the mindset that women are below men, or that those who do not identify as either, even lower. The world should be a place of acceptance and equality.

I am a feminist because everyone deserves equality; regardless of what race, religion, and especially, gender. It’s in our constitution. We struggle for equality in this world and feminism is in a much needed aspect in our society in order for it to be considered “equal”.

I am a feminist because we have the same intellectual capacity as a man. Why can’t we be equal to men?

I am a feminist because I believe that a certain gender shouldn’t feel superior to another. In a joking sense it’s okay (aka girl power, stereotypes, etc.). But when it is brought into serious topics, like sexual assaults, rape cases, etc., gender equality becomes questioned. Women should not be blamed for their own sexual assaults due to their clothing. They should not be given objectifying names like slut, whore, or bitch due to the way they dress or present themselves. Overall, I believe feminism is about female empowerment and rights, not about being better.

I am a feminist because it’s illogical not to. Gender shouldn’t define how far you go in life.

I am a feminist because women shouldn’t feel like their worth is based off a man’s or society’s opinion.

I am a feminist because it is extremely upsetting to see girls with so much potential hide away because they believe they don’t have the talent to achieve, because they are a woman.

I am a feminist because I don’t want people to be treated differently depending on their gender. I want everyone to just be treated equally, as fellow human beings.

I am a feminist because walking with two equal or even feet will get you places faster than having to having to drag one foot behind you. Likewise, equal opportunity between the two sexes will advance the world quicker than stripping one sex’s opportunity to make the world a better place.

I am a feminist because this movement implies equality and equity to all persons regardless of gender and sexual orientation. Being a part of the LGBTQ community, it was simply natural for me to support such a movement.

I am a feminist because of an experience I had last year in high school. It was common for girls to wear certain clothes to make them look feminine. Girls who didn’t wear the certain criteria of this dress code were considered ‘dykes’ or ‘lesbian’.

I am a feminist because I believe every person of any gender deserves equal rights. Even though we live in a country where it may seem everyone has equal rights, not everyone in the WORLD has equal rights, all because of what their gender is.

I am a feminist because I feel that men think it’s okay to treat women badly solely based on sex. Society has taught men that it is okay to objectify girls.

I am a feminist because showing skin should not mean that I’m a “slut”, but rather that I am confident and proud of my body.

I am a feminist because even if we don’t see it in our community as blatant as it was decades ago, it’s still prominent here and several parts of the world. Feminism gives me the motivation to speak for the women who don’t have a voice, and it is our job as the people who can to help those who can’t help themselves. I need feminism because I want to be seen in the same light as my male counterparts when I walk into the room–powerful, not a bitch. I want to be seen as funny, not desperate for attention. I want to no longer be treated as a concept or an object. I am a person.

Remember that these are not all of Dublin High’s voices. There are so many more that I didn’t ask, so many more with stories and experiences of their own. They all live in a world where they are constantly judged and set back by societal norms and stereotypes.

At this very school, there are girls who are anxious while getting dressed in the morning because they’re afraid of being dress cut in class. There are girls who are too afraid to tell that one guy that she doesn’t enjoy his attention.

But it’s not just girls. There are boys who feel pressured to be ‘macho’ and domineering. And there are boys who wish that his girl friends wouldn’t be judged for what they wear and how they act.

The reason I wrote this article was to give not only me, but my fellow students a voice.

As I asked people why they were feminists, some asked me how I would define feminism. I always responded, “All feminism really is the belief that men and women are equal.”

And that’s all feminism is. Equality.

I want Dublin High to be an environment where young women and men feel safe and loved. I want Dublin High to be a place where we will not be challenged by the norms society places on women, but to let all everyone dream and achieve.

When all’s said and done, I want Dublin High to be a school where we can embrace everyone, regardless of gender, with equality.