About a year ago, I watched Emma Watson’s speech for her equality movement, HeforShe, at a United Nations meeting. I was inspired by her bravery. Not only was it amazing to see her standing behind that podium with such grace, but it was inspiring to see her speak about something that I identified with: Feminism, the idea that all genders should be treated equally in society.
This girl from Harry Potter had just asked the people of the world to unite as one and create a more equal society for all. How cool is that?
Last year, I was battling myself. I didn’t know who I was or what my goals were. When I found feminism, I felt like all of these opinions that I had were compiled into one big thought. It was the best feeling. I had finally found a goal, something great for me to devote myself to.
I wanted to make a difference and promote these opinions that I had.
My only problem was that I didn’t know where to start. What could I do that would help me express my ideas? I knew that whatever my solution was it would require me to step out of my comfort zone. I would have to be the center of attention for once. I could no longer just listen, I had to be listened to. I was ready to take action, but first I needed to make sure that I had concrete points to support my endeavor.
Here is some of what I came up with.
I am a feminist because men think it’s acceptable to catcall me when I am walking to my car after school. Because instead of men being taught not to rape, women are taught how to not get raped. Because last year, when we had a MOCSA assembly, people took it as a joke. Because little girls are told to always be “ladylike”, and boys are taught to never show their emotions out of fear of showing weakness. Because politicians think it’s okay to make reproductive health decisions for someone. Because Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head for trying to get an education.
I am a feminist because it is 2015, and there is still a pay gap.
I am a feminist because I believe people from all genders and places in society should be treated equally.
By early January, I had all of my thoughts together and I was certain that I was a feminist. I had pondered over an idea for a couple weeks, and I finally shared it with three of my best friends. Everyone thought the idea was really cool. They also all agreed that this idea was crazy for freshman, but I assured them that we could make it happen.
We wanted to start a Feminist Club.
Once we knew we were all in on the plan, we began taking steps towards starting a club. First, we had to go ask permission from the administration; which is quite a lengthy process. All of us were quite anxious to hear whether our request went through. Luckily a few weeks later, we got called to the office and were told that we could go ahead and start having meetings!
Our final dilemma was finding a teacher to sponsor our club. One day I suggested that we ask Mr. Klein. The girls agreed that we should give it a shot; and to everyone’s surprise he said that he would let us use his room! (A big shoutout to Mr. Steve Klein who has been so supportive of our club and even sends us meeting ideas). Now that all of our ducks were in a row, we could schedule our first meeting.
The first day of the club, I opened the door, and I saw so many smiling faces – people that I recognized, people that I didn’t. It was a great turnout! Everyone was so excited to meet other feminists and have the opportunity for their opinions to be heard. I knew from that moment on that these were my people. Feminist Club is the place where I can go and know that I won’t be judged for being myself.
I was so proud of my best friends, Iman, Mallory, Hazel . We had done it. We accomplished our initial goal, but the four of us knew that we still had a long way to go if we wanted to make a difference.
Our quartet has genuinely turned out to be a true power team. We plan the meetings according to what we all collectively agree on. It’s a shared effort. This blog will be the same way. Each of us will write a little something once a week.
Lastly, I hope that what I contribute to this blog will make a difference in some way. I am writing this is for the girl crying in the bathroom that just needs a hug and someone to tell her it’s going to be okay. For the boy who is having trouble fitting in because he is questioning his sexuality. Feminism is here for you. Showing your feminine side is not a sign of weakness.
We all have “masculine and feminine” traits.
Our world has made it a norm that doing something “like a girl” means you are bad at it.
I am happy to walk like a girl, and talk like a girl and think like a girl, because I am a girl.
My gender does not lessen the impact that I can make on this world and I won’t listen to anyone who tells me different.
~Ellie Van Gorden