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Dear Amy,

Sorry if this seems more like a ramble than an actual question:

Hi, I'm a Senior in high school and I consider myself a feminist. I haven't just discovered feminism, but it's been about a year since I've started listening to "feminist music" like Le Tigre and a lot of old "90's punk feminist movement" girl bands. My friends are kind of... not misogynist, not anti feminists.... they just don't really think much of feminism, they think itÕs radical, and I think that they think itÕs just an image I follow because of the music I like. I wrote an opinion piece for my school newspaper last issue about feminist misconceptions, to maybe clarify things and have kids see what feminism really is: not just a bunch of man hating extremists like so many people believe.

Anyway, here's my question, sometimes I'm asked, "well Lorena, why is feminism necessary today, what's not equal today, what're you bitching about as a feminist anyway?" And I say, "well... friend, the problem's we face today are things such as not enough representation in politics, men still forcing their wives or other women into submission, rape, equal pay (I think it's 76 cents for every dollar a man makes?)" and the like... well I don't have much else to say to them and this doesn't really move them at all. And to tell you the truth I really don't know about anything else to fight against, I mean there's the extreme suffering and abuse of women in third world countries, there's those cult-like polygamous assholes doing their thing in the mid U.S., there's... I don't know what else there is to say! I mean I think that that should be enough to get anyone riled up! But still this made me curious too, do you know where I can find actual numbers, facts, statistics, anything, about inequality today. Sure I Googled it, but all I find are term papers for sale and one interesting article from a paper from Colorado State U.

Have a nice day :)



Lorena --

I think that your experience is more common than most -- meaning both that your friends are indifferent to feminism and you have a hard time of explaining what exactly it means. In part that will always be the experience -- most people define feminism differently, it means something different to every person.

Both the issues that different people prioritize -- women and sports, sex workers rights, the environment, etc... -- really vary, plus their _expression of feminism -- is it our jobs? what we do in our spare time? going to marches or making other public statements? Writing letters, etc,,.... In general, I think that it's best is you to make the issues very specific to your life -- how many women are teachers compared to men -- also ask them how much they get paid? Do girls and boys sports get the same supporting and funding? Even in your minimum wage jobs, what jobs are available to each group? Do guys talk about STDs or getting a girl pregnant -- or are they exempt from that social stigma in a way that girls aren't?

I think the more personal you can make it, the better.

I hope that helps -- and on the friends thing -- I 'm sure that your commitment and example wears off on them.

-- Amy