I will never forget the horror and disappointment I felt at hearing a boy younger than me shout out above the din of a church camp to a girl who was being noisy that she’d better “shut up, don’t make me go over there and rape you” and having the whole camp laugh and enjoy it as a joke. I will never forget the disappointment at myself for feeling my throat constrict. Hating that nobody called him out and spoke to address it. Not the other facils, not any of his peers, they just laughed. I still feel terrible till today.
You wonder why the self-proclaimed feminists you know act so inconsistently.
You wonder why they don’t police everything that goes on around them like a hawk.
If it means that much to them, then surely they wouldn’t stop, right?
You forget the times that our friendship has frayed because you had trouble accepting my views.
You forget that even impassioned soldiers on a battleground can feel fatigue.
You forget that this means enough to me and to so many others, that it’s hard to put across what we mean in just words.
Words will never make you understand the fear of men staring at you, leering at you and cat-calling you when you’re a seven year-old child. I suppose you would say it is my fault for wearing a spaghetti-strapped top and a skirt; that it was my fault for wanting to grow up in a culture that sexualizes everything, including the young.
You think that I’m feminist and a raging female constantly on her period, prone to insanity and irrationality.
You think that I hate all men with a blanket statement that spares no others, wanting all of us to revert to amazonian times. Where men would be dominated and ruled over by women.
sometimes, in my greatest moments of frustration with this culture we are in, a fraction of me wonders about it; if only so that you might then understand just how it feels.
You think I’m a crazy bitch for wanting and policing for gender-equal language.
“What difference does a word make?”, you scoff.
You don’t understand my frustration that the worst-sounding insults to a man, calling him a “Son-of-a-bitch” still manages to degrade my gender.
You tell me to “grow some balls”, as though I’m not supposed to gag that you’re relegating your genitals to courage, and the guy just called “pussy” next to you as a lack-thereof.
You fling the names of my genitalia and that of your mothers, aunts, sisters, wives, daughters at the other men in your life, meaning it as an insult. An insult only intended for the men. To degrade manhood to that of a woman is “the worst thing”. You don’t understand why there are tears in our eyes as you fling the words, and we become collateral.
I wonder if you really understand what it means when you pit yourself against feminism. If you understand that you’re pitting yourself against the times when feminist, men and women alike, fight for you, the privileged male, so that you can cry and not be ridiculed. We fight for you because to deny to acknowledge the value and importance of half the human race, if to deny to acknowledge half the value and importance of yourself. Girls are valued for being brave, strong, manly; but yourself?
My eyes and tears have become vessels for the tears you yourself, my dear boy, cannot cry. Do you still ridicule me for what this all means?
If I could, I would call myself a humanist instead of feminist just so it might not turn you off the moment you hear it. You’d then hear me out on how I want equality for both genders. Equality so that the men I’ve come to love throughout my life don’t have to be shamed for giving in to tears because they are a weak womanly trait. Equality, so that the women I know don’t have to live in unnecessary fear, and judgement, and scrutiny. Equality so that when we refer to the human race, we call it humankind instead of mankind like we have been, blotting out the existence of half the species.
I would, but I cannot. For to call myself a humanist instead of feminist when so many of these issues relating to equality revolve around the degradation of my gender, is a fallacy. To change a term just like that to suit your ears, is to forget that I and many other people fight this battle because at some point, mankind forgot that women were humans too.