Why I am a feminist: Safia Yusuf

As part of her ongoing series “The Real Questions”, Dublin Shield managing editor Ashley Kim invited DHS students to explain why they are feminists. Here is Safia Yusuf’s response.

I have identified myself as a feminist from the moment I learned the definition of feminism and about Malala Yousafzai in middle school. I continue to identify as a feminist today. I have given audience-rousing speeches in favor for women to get educated in 7th grade and continue to argue that viewpoint. The environment in which I was raised was and continues to be pro-feminism.

Both sides of my family all recognize education as important and believe the views that the elders who disagree were raised are wrong . In fact, my grandparents now regret marrying my mother off at the age of eighteen (she eventually went to community college upon my father’s insistence and got solid A’s). My mother does not want my siblings and I to end up like she did and want us to be strong, independent and respected individuals, especially for my sister and I. It was partly thanks to my parents that I excelled in academics, especially in math, public speaking and spelling at a young  age.

My religion, Islam, thanks to terrorists like the Islamic State, is seen as oppressive for women. It is the place,  however, where most of my feminist values and ideals are sourced from. Women are seen as equal as men and have every right to do whatever the hell they want to do in life. The ruling for clothing in Islam is to keep men from treating women like trash, which I practice and have noticed in real life.

However, that does not mean that I believe women must cover themselves up. I just simply do it because I feel uncomfortable wearing things that show skin. In fact, women can wear whatever they want to wear and I agree that the school dress code can be quite unfair to female students, because although the school does not explicitly say that a specific ruling is for females, it is quite apparent that the ruling is aimed towards us. It is unfair that guys get to slack off on their attire options and everyone in school must get the same amount of leniency for their attire options.

I often complain that I am very tired about many things, some of which are temporary. But I continue to be tired with things and events that I have been awarded about for a long time.

I am tired of the guys who treat girls as another person to just hit on and move on with and their looks that show that girls are lower than them and should be treated like a joke. Harassment and eve-teasing is not funny and I do not tolerate it. Unless the girl in question has given consent to these jokes, nobody should do this behavior. End of story.

I am tired of the prejudiced adults who question my decisions and ambitions in life. Since when did you guys care that I talked to other guys? I have to converse with guys for multiple reasons, such as school work and club matters.

I am tired of women getting innuendos that they are not comfortable with. If they did not ask for it, then do not do it. It is very degrading and is disgusting. I personally feel really awkward when this happens.

I am tired of the people who question victims of molestation and rape about what they did when clearly the rapist was at fault and was the one who wrongfully took advantage of the situation. I am still heavily pissed off at Brock Turner and am angry that Governor Jerry Brown signed a law stating that in California if the victim was drunk that they will get punished. That is simply messed up.

I am tired of having to be told to be wary of my surroundings when I am alone.

I am tired of women being objectified and being pushed to follow stereotypes.

I am tired of hearing politicians like Donald Trump call us slobs and having them judge us on whether we would like to terminate a pregnancy or not.

I am tired of hearing numerous cases where females in a position get paid less than their male counterparts working the same exact job.

I am tired of hearing about young girls my siblings’ ages forced to get married to much older men that they do not know that well. Just reading those stories are sickening as hell and I cannot imagine that happening to my sister and younger female relatives without shuddering in horror and disgust.

I am tired of hearing men having the backward belief that women must be subservient to their needs, be belong in the house, produce children, and do not deserve to get the education they want. This is a backward notion, but unfortunately this is how many countries view women.

I am tired of all of the reasons above and it is time we make a difference with love, respect and proper education for everyone.

These are the reasons why I am a feminist and it is long overdue that women get the treatment that they deserve: with respect and equality.