Feminism | Posted by Sarah M on 06/15/2011

Musings of a High School Feminist

yay high school

yay high school

I don’t remember when I discovered feminism. I don’t remember how I got the link to a feminist blog that I started to read, or the first time I thought to myself, “I am a feminist!”

But I am so glad that it happened.

I love feminism. I love the things it’s done for me – the way it makes me feel powerful and beautiful and in control. I love the way it’s opened up my eyes to the ways that I’m missing out – and all the ways that I can get around those things.

And that’s why it’s so confusing to me why none of my friends agree with me!

Being a feminist in high school is hard. This morning, for example, I was thinking of starting a feminism club in my school – but the thought that immediately followed that was, I can’t do that! I’ll be a social pariah!

Which, I’m sure, is one of the greatest examples that we are still living in a patriarchy. But I digress.

I don’t understand how my friends could want nothing to do with something that is clearly so great. I bring it up bluntly sometimes (okay, a lot of times): “Are you a feminist?”

“No,” they say even more bluntly. And then, “I’m not a dyke!” or “I’m not ugly!” or “Women already have equal rights!” or any other sort of excuse. Now, we’ve all heard the “I’m not a feminist, but…” excuses, but somehow these hurt me even more. Am I ugly, or fat, or hairy? No, I don’t think so. So how could they classify all of these feminists like that?

It shocks me, every time that I think about it.

“Feminism,” as we all know, has become a dirty word. My friends – otherwise smart girls – are afraid of being associated with it. The risks of being called one, as far as they are concerned, outweigh the benefits that it can have for every women.

I’m not always a huge believer in a “sisterhood”; that is to say, I don’t think all women will always get along all the time, nor do I necessarily want them to. I don’t get along with all of the girls I know. But I don’t see how any women could be against feminism. I really don’t.

Feminism is the belief in equality of the sexes. But somehow, it’s become synonymous with “hairy,” with “dyke,” with “ugly,” or with “man-hater.” I don’t hate men. I love men. I love putting on makeup. And while I don’t always love to shave, I do it anyway. But I understand why I do those things; I understand why I sometimes feel fat or ugly or stupid.

Feminism has opened my eyes to a lot of things, and I wish that there was a way for us to make it more popular in high school.

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  • Marc @ at 11:37 am, June 15th, 2011

    YOU FUCKIN ROCK!

  • Sarah M. @ at 1:11 pm, June 15th, 2011

    thank you so much!!!!

  • Mariella @ at 4:03 pm, June 15th, 2011

    Agreed, it’s a shame that people always associate feminism with such a stereotype or think we’re crazy because they’ve heard about really extreme feminist ideas. Yes, there are some people who fit those stereotypes, but overall it’s just media hype.

  • Abigail Collazo @ at 5:04 pm, June 15th, 2011

    This is great Sarah! Any interest in having us cross post to Fem2pt0? We’d love to share your story with our audience too!

  • nurdiyansah @ at 8:02 pm, June 15th, 2011

    Feminism is beyond the contextual or theory,we cant push things to someone.it also happened to me,esp bcoz I was the only boy who talked bout feminism in school,but they finally had their aha moments through the process

  • Sarah M. @ at 10:29 pm, June 15th, 2011

    oh my god you guys thank you so much! Abigail, that would be fantastic!

  • Tessa @ at 12:15 pm, June 16th, 2011

    Yes I totally agree! I also have this problem as a high school student. People constantly make fun of me for being a feminist. But my cousin told me that I’ll meet a ton of feminists in college, so it’s all good :)

  • Shantelle @ at 5:10 pm, June 16th, 2011

    I was in your shoes last year, but after talking to my friends, we decided to start a female empowerment group called hello beautiful. I think being set in my beliefs as a young high school feminist has allowed me to grow and show that side of me to others can make ours schools a better place.

  • Alexa @ at 6:34 pm, June 16th, 2011

    Hey, Sarah!! I am so similar to you, but this year, I “converted” a bunch of my closest friends to feminism by showing them portions of “Full Frontal Feminism”- with her rampant cursing and passion throughout the book, they were actually engaged. I also became less shy and finally called out all the sexist bullshit where I saw it, even telling sexist teachers what I thought of their actions. (While being respectful, of course!) Having feminist allies is at school is ***amazing.*** Also, because I’m in a similar situation, you might like my blog, which my name links to :) Great post!!

  • Emily @ at 10:08 pm, June 16th, 2011

    I completly feel where you are comming from. I’ve been in similar situations with my friends, although they respect me as an individual, they mock the ideas I bring up. Or even worse ,in my opinion, they don’t believe that these issues can be resolved and think I am beating a dead horse.It completly sucks that this is so commonplace among women in high school.The root of the problem is getting people to see that there even IS a problem.Stay strong and keep talking to your friends, hopefully something will rub off, that’s how I view it anyway. Still consider creating that “women’issues” club though, I know I wish that there was one at my school. Best of luck!

  • Kim @ at 1:11 pm, June 19th, 2011

    “Being a feminist in high school is hard. This morning, for example, I was thinking of starting a feminism club in my school – but the thought that immediately followed that was, I can’t do that! I’ll be a social pariah!”

    YOUR assumption of how others will perceive YOUR actions (before you even do them) means we live in a patriarchy? This is sexism at its finest. Nobody is stopping you, you have equal rights in your high school.
    This is why modern day feminism is flawed. Uneducated women need someone to blame for their lack of action and confidence. Blaming society is easy, but YOU are part of this society. Women are the cause of their own problems and shortcomings.

    Your end goal and intentions are pure but your methods and reasoning are flawed.

  • Brighde @ at 9:17 pm, August 15th, 2011

    I feel completely the same way. How can they be against something that’s for them? I was raised my a single mother and strong activist for social justice. In 9th grade I was talking with my friend about something and she said, “Well, I’m not a feminist like you Brighde. I don’t really care.” It was a complete paradigm shift. I had always thought all women, at least in this country, were feminists.

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