Now I Am a Feminist

January 28, 2017

When I was around 10
We were watching the news and
My brother disgustedly declared that
Hillary Clinton was a feminist
"What's a feminist?" I asked
Frowning at this foreign term,
One of many that my brother seemed to know
All I remember him saying was that
Feminists don't wear make up,
Feminists don't like to be pretty

When I was 14
I was riding the school bus and
A football player, more than a foot taller than me and twice my weight
Started to pick on another boy
"Stop that" I said with confidence
He threatened to slap me
I told him, "go ahead"

When I was 17
A boy in my class told me
"You can't shoot guns. You're a woman. You're too weak."
When I was 17
He told me
"There's no way you're in charge of JROTC, because nobody wants to listen to a girl"
He was right
I was in charge of JROTC
But nobody did want to listen to a girl
That didn't stop me

When I was 19
A boy at church told me
If I didn't stop wearing baggy clothes
And if I didn't start wearing make up
No boys would like me
I listened

When I was 20
I wore a lot of make up
I tried hard to be pretty
But I was loud
I was angry
I was opinionated
And boys didn't like that
I learned that rape wasn't considered a war crime until 1996
I learned that women weren't allowed to vote in Switzerland, of all places, until 1971
So wearing make up was not enough

When I was 21
I found a balance
I wore some make up
I dressed in what made me feel pretty
But I voiced my opinions
I taught people what feminism was
I told them how it had nothing to do with make up or bras
And everything to do with our being

Now I'm 22
Our country has elected an admitted sexual assaulter
Many of my fellow women still think that "feminism" is worse than any other f-word
Men are told not to cry and
Every day I go on I become more afraid for the women of the future

Now I'm 22
I did not vote for Donald Trump
I hate bras, not because of the patriarchy, but because they're uncomfortable
I wear make up, not to make boys like me, but to like myself
I am loud and angry and sometimes that is okay too because

Now I'm 22
I am a feminist

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