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I am 16 and a budding pissed-off feminist.

Just the other day, a guy friend of mine, in the context of the conversation, said, "You hate feminists, don't you, Amy?" I just stared at him. I hardly knew what to say. Where would he get that idea? I explained to him that no, I don't hate feminism. "Feminism is the novel idea that women are people," I said, "I hate the sexist, gyno-centric attitude that the extremists can take of wanting to be treated better than men, because that's violating the entire point of feminism. I do not hate feminism." When I told him that I actually AM a feminist, he couldn't believe his ears. Somehow, the idea that a strong, liberal, left-wing girl would actually consider herself a feminist was completely alien to him.

Why is this? How can society seriously expect females to hate feminism? At every turn, we hear anti-feminist rhetoric: that all feminists hate men, that feminists are lesbians, that they want special treatment, that they're all bra-burning humorless Feminazis. Society is telling us to hate the very movement that brought us out of the kitchen and into the world, and I'm tired of it!

From one Amy to another,



Dear Amy,

Thanks for sharing that exchange, which yes, sadly isn't unique. I think that many people have a version of that conversation at some point in their lives. In general, I think that people want feminism to be about something more out there or radical because they don't want to have to own it. If it's about "other, weird, extreme" people than it means that you don't have to deal with limitations to it in your own life.

Also, I think that people rarely reflect on how their lives are already influenced by feminism and thus prefer to pretend that it's about other people. I think the only way to really convince people otherwise is through your own example, just as you have done. I think over time the more you can remain the same, both in how "normal" you are, but also in how "feminist" you are, that will have the greatest influence.

I hope that helps, at least to help know that you aren't alone.

-- Amy