[Unpopular Opinion] Who needs feminism?

In case you didn’t know by now, I’m a feminist, and recently a group on my university campus joined part of a pro-feminist project called “Who Needs Feminism?” In it, people write why feminism is necessary or why they personally need feminism. If you have some time, I definitely recommend going through and looking through the pictures on the facebook group. I found it really inspiring to see that I’m not alone in my thoughts or feelings.

When the young women running the project showed up in my Women and Language class I, of course, jumped at the opportunity to participate. Here’s my picture:

It went up on facebook that day, and I was quickly overwhelmed by the positive response it received when a friend tagged me in the picture, making sure that all my facebook friends would see it.

But then some people, including some people that I know and used to be part of the same friend group with, but with whom I am not facebook friends, saw the post, and suddenly I was getting a first hand account at the backlash speaking out about feminist topics can cause.

When I read these comments I was hit with a lot of emotions. Rage at the fact that people can be so rude and ignorant. Frustration at the fact that I expected anything more. Fear that when I said anything to defend myself I would just be setting myself up for worse bullying because right away I knew I needed to say something. Staying silent has never been my thing, and I’ve been burned by that reaction to speak up before. Actually, by some people from the same group of former friends I mentioned above.

The thing is, bullying can be hard to pin down. It’s not always a punch to the face or someone calling you a bitch. It can be subtle. It can be the person who laughingly tells you to get back to the kitchen whenever you give an opinion. It can be the supposedly complimentary nickname that targets your large breasts. It can be the “stop being so serious,” “loosen up,” “we’re just having fun,” “it’s just a joke” that really means stop being such an over-sensitive little girl.

I am so happy that my boyfriend was there when I saw those messages because there is no replacement for someone else’s support when you’re facing down a bully because that is what those people who said those things are: bullies. He recommended waiting to say anything, and it was good advice. If I had replied immediately I wouldn’t have been able to say what I needed to say.

Speaking up isn’t easy, but if you know it’s the right thing, even if it’s not the most comfortable thing, you need to do it. But the most important thing I’ve learned from this experience is how important a support system is, and that I have the best one anyone could hope for. So thank you everyone who liked or commented to show their support on that post. Thank you to all the people who have told me that I have a right to be heard. Thank you to everyone who gave me the strength to speak up. I hope this post can help pass a little of that strength along.

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
This entry was posted in unpopular opinion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to [Unpopular Opinion] Who needs feminism?

  1. Good for you for speaking out! And refusing to let yourself be bullied by some very ignorant Facebook comments. I can definitely relate to this experience. I once had a (female) room-mate in university that used to mock me whenever I was doing gender equality stuff on campus. My favourite was when she told me “feminism is no longer necessary because we’re equal now.” She’s studying law and economics – so I totally want to ask her again in 10 years if she still thinks we’re “all equal now”

  2. Briana says:

    I definitely know people who think a witty response to comments like “Rape jokes aren’t funny” is to tell a rape joke. Apparently it’s okay because they’re “not serious” and don’t REALLY think rape is funny or something. I’m sure it would be even less funny if they suddenly found out someone who had overheard their “joke” had been raped and was truly upset. You can’t assume people haven’t been through such experiences.

  3. Candice says:

    Good job here! This is truly one of the things I love about you – the fact that you stand up for your beliefs. I am in full support of the idea that Facebook has made people a–holes when it comes to communicating and this basically proves my point! I hate that you had so many people make such horrible comments on your post/picture, but am glad that you were able to take a stand in such a classy way without stooping to their level. So keep pushing feminism and being awesome! 🙂

  4. Daphne says:

    Brava! I’m glad you had the courage to stand up to those people!

  5. April Books & Wine says:

    I’m awed by your courage and ability to speak out against rude people. I am also awed by your impeccable semi colon usage.

    I have annoying people on my facebook, but I kind of take the coward’s way out and just unsubscribe from their updates in my newsfeed.

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