What is Feminism? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Feminism: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Yes, that is straight from Merriam-Webster. No, I am not a crazy, man-hating lesbian. I just believe that men and women should be treated as equals. I’ve grown up with strong women surrounding me: my grandma, my mom, my aunts. They all call themselves feminists. I wasn’t always comfortable identifying as a feminist; it took me a while to realize that it doesn’t mean I have to hate men or burn my bras. It means that I want and will fight for equal rights.


It wasn’t until the beginning of freshman year that I began calling myself a feminist. I was working at a grocery store and realized how some women were treated there. I was, and still am, one of those women. Without fail, I get called one name or another by the time I clock out. It doesn’t matter whether the man is still in college or lives in a nursing home. “Sweetie.” “Honey pie.” “Darling.” Never “miss” or even “ma’am.” I have to pretend I don’t care as a male customer calls me “Sugar” and refers to my bagger as “Sir.”
I’m glad that this is all I have to deal with. I’ve heard horror stories from other women about their work experiences. I talked to my mom, and she shrugged and said, “Boys will be boys.” But these aren’t boys. They are grown men referring to a teenage girl as their “Sugar darling.” I’ve been told that this doesn’t end in high school. It doesn’t even stop when I get a degree or a fantastic job.


The more I venture out into the world, the more I learn that this is true. Here’s an exchange I had with an older man at church:


“So you want to be a nurse?” he asked.


“No,” I replied, “a doctor – a pediatrician.”


Again he said, “You mean a children’s nurse?” I just shook my head and walked away, unwilling to argue. Every time I’m asked why I want to be a doctor, why I think I can get into an Ivy League medical school, I am even more determined to prove them wrong.


I have realized that as a woman, I need to take extra precautions to ensure my safety. At a gift-wrapping event at Barnes and Noble, I was persistently pursued by a middle-aged man. After a couple of hours of politely but dismissively answering his invasive questions, I decided that enough was enough. I excused myself and talked to the store manager, who told me that he’s bothered women before. With this information, I was thoroughly frightened, and by the end of the night, was happy to escape my favorite bookstore. As we left the parking lot, I glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw his car following us. I’ve never been more terrified. When I alerted my mom, she went into protection mode; she drove to the police station and pulled in. We watched his car slowly drive by, his eyes never leaving mine. I’ll never forget the fear I felt.


To me, feminism isn’t something that should be debated; it isn’t something people should be against. Feminism, simply put, is the belief that men and women are equal. I don’t think that men should be hated or have their rights taken away. That’s the opposite of what feminism is about.
Regardless of gender, equal rights are essential to a well-run society. For someone to call themselves an anti-feminist doesn’t make sense to me. By saying this, they are saying that they don’t care about equality. Equality is something I will fight for for the rest of my life because we are not even close to reaching it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

Grey said...
Oct. 24, 2016 at 1:26 pm
What you've described, wanting to be treated equally, is egalitarianism. Here's a second definition of feminism: organized activity in support of women's rights and interests. Quite a few feminists on sites like tumblr want to be treated "more equally than equal."
 
MohammedF said...
Oct. 24, 2016 at 9:53 am
Hello and welcome back to tumblr.
 
MeowGeneral said...
Oct. 14, 2016 at 8:59 pm
(Please Reply) What about the people who do call you "Ma'am" and "Miss" you never mention them and don't say you have never heard someone say that.
 
HailToTheStud said...
Oct. 14, 2016 at 7:40 pm
I agree with a lot of this article, but the part of the article i just couldn't get over was the exchange with the man at church. It seems like you just kinda figured that he was judging you based on what gender you were... Who's to say the old man just didn't know what a pediatrician was? I honestly couldn't tell you what a pediatrician was, just by the title, and to me it does indeed sound like a children's nurse. So, I write all of this, but I just feel as if you should, in some cases, get to... (more »)
 
WriteluvlifeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Oct. 14, 2016 at 5:37 pm
Well said...I agree with you on all your points.
 
Live4jc said...
Oct. 9, 2016 at 8:20 am
Very concise and to the point!
 
halsaaaaylmao said...
Oct. 4, 2016 at 2:56 am
Okay, but why is being perceived as a lesbian on par with being seen as crazy or man-hating?
 
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