This Is What a Feminist Looks Like

I don’t want to mansplain feminism – it’s hard to get more ironic than that. So stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Feminism is the belief that men and women are equal. That’s all.

Therefore, I am a feminist. I would hope that you are too, and that you would identify as such. I know people get uncomfortable when I talk about the patriarchy like it’s an old nemesis, but there’s a war going on.

When women talk objectively about their experiences, such as in the catcall video or in the Tropes Vs Women series, people jump to defend men, shocked that a woman would dare to cast such aspersions. “Not all men behave like that!” they declare, not realizing that there was no accusation leveled in the first place. Defenders see reality and take it as a personal attack – that’s how bad the reality is.

Gamergate has brought this further to light, and makes me feel literally sick to my stomach when I think about it. When women raise their voices, men attack and threaten them. When women say they’re being attacked, men feel attacked, and when men say they’re being attacked even women run to defend them. The victims become “irrational” and “oversensitive.”

So I just want to clarify: feminism is not an attack. Equality is not an attack. More rights for women is not less rights for men – more safety for women is not less safety for men. If all men have to lose is their perceived “right” to a female stranger’s attention, we could do much much worse. Besides, they wouldn’t do it to men.

I just want people to speak up. I want to speak up more – I probably let more slide than I should. Women need to speak up (my cousin Charlotte is an inspiration), men need to speak up, and we all need to fight. Feminist is not a bad word, and it does not favor women. It favors people.

Do you believe all people are equal?

Good news: you’re a feminist!

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