She's a Feminist

"She’s a feminist."
Scratch that
They said it more
In the tone of voice
You’d expect to hear
“She’s a terrorist.” or
“She’s a cannibal.” or
“You know, she’s almost thirty
And she STILL isn’t married.”

"She’s a feminist."
It always seems to be coupled along
With the phrases
“Oh, she’s just going through a phase.”
“I didn’t know she was a lesbian!”
“Oh, she hates men?”
“That can’t be right; you can tell she
Wears bras instead of burns them.”
“But…she’s not butch?”

"She’s a feminist."
Well, shouldn’t everyone
Be a feminist?
They say “she’s a feminist”
Like it’s a bad thing
They say it
Challenging her
Because
How dare she be appalled
That the Equal Pay Act
Was passed fifty years ago
And the average woman today earns
77¢ for every dollar a man makes
How dare she not want
To forgo walking down her street
After dark
Without a weapon
How dare she want her daughters
To feel safe in public
Without the security blanket
Of a shield or a pretty pink can
Of pepper spray
To protect them from the cat-calling
Drones of misogyny

She’s a feminist
Because she watched her mother
Work two jobs
While her dad shot up heroin
Every day
And came home from a hole in the wall
With whiskey on his breath
That she could taste in the tense air
As he slurred words and clumsily
Stumbled into her older sister’s bedroom
While she hid in a closet
And heard it happen again

And SHE’S a feminist
Because growing up
Her parents taught her brother
“Bulk up! Eat more!
Move up into a bigger weight class;
A better one! You can get scholarships!
While they taught her
“Don’t eat all of that; you’ll get fat
And then you’ll never find a husband.”
And the movies taught her brother
“It doesn’t matter of you’re a nerd
Girls will like you for who you are!”
While they taught her
“You can get the man of your dreams-
As long as you primp, preen, and pluck yourself
Until you’re a different person.”

And SHE’S a feminist
Because her coworkers
Applaud the guy in the cubicle
For his new high score
On his list of one-night-stands
And shun her, the CEO,
For going on two dates
With two different guys
In the same month

And HE’S a feminist
Because why should
Any human being
Be considered less
Based in their physical appearance
Let alone their gender

And she’s a feminist
Because they said she couldn’t play football
And he’s a feminist
Because he wanted to stay home
And take care of his children
Even though his wife called it ‘babysitting’
When he was just being a parent
And she’s a feminist
Because in an interview about her new movie
Her male costar was asked about his character
And she was asked about her diet
And she’s a feminist
Because when she got an abortion
Because her doctor told her she’d die
If she had that baby
She got death threats
From the people at her church
And he’s a feminist
Because they said
Boys can’t get raped

And I am a feminist
Because of all these things
Because who cares if a little boy
Wants to play with a doll?
I mean, how dare a boy be nurturing and gentle!
How dare a man’s life not revolve
Around fighting and violence
And war and sports
And cars and having more body hair
And “being manly”
Because who cares if a girl
Does or doesn’t wear a lot of makeup
Or gives herself
To “too many” men
Because who cares
About gender roles
And expectations
Because we are all human
And how dare I
Want justice for them

And I am a feminist
Because your tone of voice when speaking
Of equality among the sexes, the races, and the sexual orientations
Should never equate
With the tone of voice you use when speaking
Of terrorism
Or cannibalism

 

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