Intern Spotlight – Charlotte

 
Charlotte

People ask me all the time when, how, or why I became a feminist.

I have always been a feminist. There wasn’t one specific day in my life that brought me to the movement. Adding up the discrimination I have experienced, and the discrimination I have seen other women and people experience, feminism appeared naturally. My lived experiences as a young girl and now as a woman reinforce why I have always been a feminist.

It’s always been there for me—whether I knew it or not. Feminism has always been there for me because I am a white, middle-class, woman (along with many other privileges). For many, feminism has been an exclusive movement that ignores the experiences of anyone but white women. I don’t like this selective type of feminism — I may reinforce it every day, but I work as hard as I can to be aware and educated on issues that affect people who have been excluded from the mainstream movement.

Almost every year I write some sort of piece about why I’m a feminist or how I came to be a feminist and every time I look back on them, I cringe. Either I sound outdated, very condescending, or ignorant. But how could I not? I’m a white, middle-class, hetero, cis, able-bodied, young woman trying to navigate this new world of feminism. Things change every day; I learn new labels, new pronouns, new explanations, new theories, and new perspectives every time I listen to someone speak. But at the end of the day what doesn’t change is that I am a woman and I would like to fight for people who feel they have been excluded from a movement that aims to represent them. And if that involves fucking up, not knowing pronouns, writing my ignorant opinions, and not being as inclusive as possible that’s fine—because that’s how I will learn and correct myself. I will never be perfect. But I can try my best to be as informed, as inclusive, and as knowledgeable as possible to check my privilege.

Here are eight reasons why I love being a feminist:

      1. Feminism teaches me something new every day.
      2. Feminism is made up of many different branches, all with people with vastly different experiences.
      3. Feminism provokes intellectual dialogue and tough conversations.
      4. Feminism teaches me to strive to understand that my experiences are different from other people’s experiences.
      5. Feminism allows me to fight for things that affect my daily life.
      6. Feminism is a place that both fuels and calms my anger.
      7. Feminism is always testing me—whether it’s by those who identify as a feminist or those who don’t.
      8. Feminists don’t all agree with each other on everything—this is the best way to learn and be open-minded.

Though this could also be a list of why many people hate feminism, or feel excluded from feminism, this is a representation of my experience. But that’s another thing I love about feminism; I am only one person in a huge web of people fighting for the things that are affecting them. For a lot of people, sexism isn’t the only oppression they face. Racism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, classism, etc. and many times, a combination of a few, intersect in affecting people’s lives. Feminism is just one movement of many striving for equality. And that’s why I love it.

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