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I'm writing to you mainly because of topics with my friends. I am a 15 year-old who lives in rural Alberta, Canada. Many people around here are a little conservative. Some of my friends are like this. Most of my friends believe in abortion because they think that it is a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy. I have one friend who doesn't believe this and firmly stands by her beliefs.

Most of my friends, and people at my school, make very homophobic remarks. They don't think they are doing anything wrong, they think a homophobic has an extreme fear of homosexuals. Many times I have asked why they make these jokes but they never answer but just call me a homo. I know I'm a heterosexual, but just because I've never had a boyfriend they think that I'm gay. This is just the beginning of my complaints. My biggest one is the big F word. I am a feminist and I have read many books. I've loaned many of these out to my friends, all they talk about after they read them (they mostly don't) is that there was a lot of sex in them and all the kinds of dirty words. They then make fun of me for reading these so called feminist books and state that they don't care.

Some of my friends are very polite and don't comment. The ones who do criticize always do this to me. They never listen to me. I would really like them to listen to me for once about women's rights, they would never have to do it again.

So anyway, thanxs,


Dear Raven,

Thanks for standing up for what you believe. You are much braver than most people - and that's exactly why you are probably facing resistance. Unlike you, most people don't want to take responsibility for what is happening right in front of them or in their own lives (like homophobia and animal abuse, etc.). They would rather live their life not thinking about the consequences of their actions - forgetting that this limits their lives as much as it limits others'.

Specific to feminism, I think you have to help your classmates and friends understand how their lives have directly benefited from feminism - i.e. do your friends play sports? Do they wear pants? Are they thinking about going to college? Do girls have sex without retribution? Do they take birth control? All of this is the result of feminism -- but for us it has just been a natural part of our lives. Therefore, I think that you have to point out what others might not see - that feminism is responsible for the rights that we enjoy each and every day.

As for the homophobia - it's good that you are speaking up, especially since you are straight. That way people can't say that you are "taking it personally." I have been in similar situations, where I have to use my power (i.e. as a straight person) to make other people realize how limiting their view of sexuality is. Also, it's important to know that you probably can't change everyone - nor should you take that on. Think about influencing one person and then they can influence one person and so on. And even if it doesn't always feel like you are impacting them, I bet they will look back on a conversation with you later in life and be thankful that you took the time to tell them something or to call them on something. I hope that helps to show you that your efforts certainly aren't going to waste - and good luck.



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