How I Really Feel: I’m Part of the Feminist Fight, But Don’t Call Me One
I don't call myself a feminist, but I never had the luxury of choosing to be one. I was a feminist before I even had an idea of what it meant to be one.
Growing up, I saw my mother and sisters as strong multi-faceted women. They were feminine but were never limited to contrived gender roles. It didn’t occur to me that because I was woman, I had to limit my desires or my goals in life because it would make me less of a woman. It bothered me if someone told me I had to. But it also never occurred to me that that meant being a feminist. It was just what I was taught and some of it was a natural understanding that came from within my soul.
As I got older, I had my first real taste of patriarchy. I may seem naive or a bit bias, but that shit didn't exist in my household. My dad never told me that I had "a place." Yeah I was in the kitchen helping my mom. And right there with my dad, shoveling snow, learning basic “handyman” tips, and guidance on ownership and finance. It was the world outside of the brownstone I grew up in that I first felt like bait. When I was 12, I didn't know what the word "objectified" meant. All I knew was that I hated when dudes would stand on the corner and yell, "Yo you got a fat ass. (I was like a size zero at the time so I’m sure I had but so much to be mesmerized by)." When I was 13, one boy on a bike said it, and I ignored him. And then he asks, "So you not gonna say thank you?" I was teed. You didn't birth me, what am I thanking you for? Unfortunately, he was probably about my age. When I look back I know for sure that he learned this behavior from someone older than him. Sometime last spring, I was walking down the street. I heard a man grunting at me from behind. When he passed by me, I saw that he was walking with his son, who was no older than 4-years-old. Then he says to him, “Boy you just like your mother,” as if a 4-year-old boy should be paying more attention to grown woman booty and not the little birdies in the trees or the cool cars driving by. I was disgusted, but then again I wasn’t surprised.
I can only assume that sexism like any other “ism” stems from insecurity.
Now that I'm in my mid-20s now, and since Beyoncé dropped her latest album, it seems everybody and they mama wants to talk about this f-word. It's not one that I've studied in-depth. But damnit it's something I've been fighting all my life. Even though it seems like the most annoying buzz word right now, feminist thought is extremely important to society. For me it’s not about getting on Twitter and trying to teach every fool who tweets the most sexist shit for attention. But I know in real life I have never had an issue with correcting a man when he tries to generalize women. And the same thing goes for women who try to generalize all men. "All men cheat." No you just accept that nonsense and if that's your expectation that's what you're going to get. And even if that man was dipped in the honesty of Jesus, you wouldn't believe him. That's a whole nother convo though.
I can only assume that sexism like any other “ism” stems from insecurity. Some men fear that they won’t feel like men if they aren’t putting women down or able to get what they want out of women. But not every woman finds prince charming in all the men she meets and vice versa. It’s absurd to expect anything after making advances. No one owes you anything. And if you're over the age of 25, still calling women hoes or bitches on a regular everyday basis, then you need to take a deep look at what you’re saying and why you’re saying it. You are what you choose to continue to focus on. People don’t realize the power of words. Repeating something over and over will only cause you to attract it more into your life. You want a queen. But you speak death over women all the time. Same for women calling dudes “dogs” “ain’t shit,” etc. It’s not adding up.
As we continue to walk into this realm where women have more power in the world, we have to shed ourselves of all the negative and truly ridiculous ideals we have of the gender. For one, all feminists aren't annoying. All feminists don't even know they are feminists. It’s a label. But if the label didn’t exist I would still carry the essence of yearning for a world that has equality. My gender is one thing I have to fight for. My race another. Everyone hates millennials. My soul has to fight temptation on a daily basis. There are many fights. Struggles are me. As I work to overcome it all, that one label shall suffice.