Saturday, March 8, 2014

I Am Woman; Hear Me Roar.


I need feminism.

The other night, I had a conversation with a young, 20 year old man. I’d like to make it clear right off the bat that he isn’t a misogynist, a creep or an asshole- he is simply uneducated. He didn’t understand why I considered myself a feminist (& had a rather generalized view on the whole thing).

“Why wouldn’t you be about human rights? Men suffer just as much as women do!”

I was offended! I believe in equality for all people, & constantly get involved in different organizations. How could he generalize me? 
I tried explaining how being a feminist does not mean I’m against human rights. I told him how we are not man hating, unshaven warriors with cropped hair. That is a stereotype & we are not shaped by the same mold. I tried explaining how far feminism has come, & how far we still have to go. 
But I didn’t approach him the right way. I went in already assuming he would dismiss me, & tried to get as many words to fit into one, high pitched breath. Once he saw I was heated, he quickly dismissed me as an irrationally emotional woman. The exact, shitty stereotype I was looking to avoid. 

Men need feminism. 

Later that same night, while in the presence of a young feminist, another guy decided to start a round of ‘would you rather’. Without thinking, he opened with “Would you rather get raped, or blah blah blah*). It wasn’t ok, it wasn’t funny. But not only did the guy not see our point of view, his girlfriend defended him! She ‘didn’t see what the big deal’ was. “People joke about rape all the time. You shouldn’t be so sensitive.” It was more than I could fathom. How could a fellow woman not see our point of view?

Young women need feminism. 

My young feminist ally couldn’t comprehend the events of the night. It was more ignorance than we could handle. I tried to console her by saying that we can’t take their ignorance personally, “it’s their problem”. But even as the words left my lips, I didn’t believe them true. If I stand back & do nothing, how can I complain? She had every right to get heated. I and every right to feel offended. We had every right to be mad. This wasn’t ok. 
Frustrated, I talked to my younger brother. Would you believe me if I told you he didn’t know I considered myself a feminist? He wondered how I could be a feminist & be so feminine. Though I’ve had so many talks with my mother on feminism, & women in the media- we had excluded my brother every time. Why? We need male feminists. So I opened up the conversation. I explained, he listened, we both learned through educated conversation.
& in that moment, I realized my previous approach had been all wrong. I don’t need to yell to get my point across. I don’t need to talk down to anyone. But you’d better believe, I will be educating people on feminism & I will be telling my truth. Because dammit…

We all need feminism.

This is where we need your help, my dear readers. 
Let’s open up the conversation not only with our sisters, but with the men in our life too. We’re going to share our stories on why we need feminism, & we want to share yours.

I’ll even start with my own story. 

Submission guidelines:

Can you think of a time you needed feminism? 
(submissions wanted from both women & men)

Maybe it was that day that you were called a bitch. Or that time you embraced your sexuality, & were wrongfully labeled a slut. Raise your hand if you're tired of the words "girl" & "pussy" being used as derogatory terms. How infuriating is it when you get passionate over something & someone has the cojones to assume you’re on your period? Let’s put those middle fingers up to those who grab-ass & cross the line. Um, excusez-moi I don’t remember giving you permission to invade my personal space. 
No story is too heavy or too small. We’re not here to judge, or compete on who’s been discriminated against the hardest. We’re here to share all of your stories. Discrimination (even in the smallest forms) is never ok. 

You can send your stories to projectchula@gmail.com or loveelliebelle@gmail.com 
Stories will be featured over at Project Chula
If you’d like to remain anonymous, just let us know in the email. (pinky promise, we will always maintain confidentiality.)
If you’re a woman (or man!) of few words, you can still reach out to us! Tweet us with the hashtag #chulasneedfeminism & let’s get this conversation going. @projectchula @loveelliebelle (or you can reach us on any of our social media sites.)

Love, 
Elliebelle.



*I can’t say that I remember anything past “rape”. (I may have seen red)

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