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 Either I sound outdated, very condescending, or ignorant.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.