But I couldn't do it.
I struggled to find the words to describe how angry I become when a woman has to face discrimination, inequality, and hatred because she wants something better than what she has been given.
I get angry when a woman's political leadership qualities are questioned because of her choice of clothing instead of her proposed policies yet have only twice in my life seen a man's clothing choice mentioned (and one of those times it was used to compare to other political women).
I get angry when I say that what I put on my body is my business and no one else but get told that too much clothing makes me a prude or terrorist but too little makes me a slut and a piece of candy to be used up and thrown away*.
I get angry when the only pants I can find locally have the word "skinny" or "tapered" attached to it (and I have tried for MONTHS).
I get angry when I am told "Well at least it is not as bad as _______ place or ______ time era"*
I get angry when I see memes and comments about how boys shouldn't be playing with dolls or dresses as if playing with them makes them inferior.
I get angry when I see multiple commercials or posters where there are no men vacuuming or are routinely shown to be less capable as women when it comes to housework.
I get angry when I am called a Femi-nazi because it is easier to insult me and ignore my comments and concerns than to actively engage in a conversation.*
I get angry when I see kids shows where boys are called sissies and told they _____ like a girl in today's time frame and it is laughed off as acceptable.
I get angry when I am with my family and get called a "fucking bitch" and tell me to come over by strangers who laugh as they drive away.*
I get angry when I am told that my spot in school should be going to a man who is needs it more than I do.*
*Yes these claims have actually happened or been said to me.
I kept coming back to the post, rewording it, laying awake at night trying to figure out how to say how angry I was without coming across as an "angry feminist" that I am so often accused of. I was trying to find the words to convey how feminism helps men too by giving them power to choose non-traditional roles to fill.
And then the Stanford Rape Conviction and Sentencing happened.
And I became angry all over again.
The young woman in this case, who has so beautifully put into words what so many survivors have been through and felt, has shown that the "twenty minutes of action" (as Brock Turner's father Dan so glibly put it) has lifelong consequences not just for the criminal who committed the act, but the person who has had the crime committed against them. I encourage you not only to read but to share what she has shared with the world.
Because rape and sexual assault has a lot more to do with feminism than many would care to admit.
Feminism means that I should have the reasonable freedom to dress how I want, drink like any other member of my society can, walk down the street safely, and to not be treated as a sexual toy and thrown away. It means that I have the right to own property. It means I have the right to work where I am capable of, not where is more "appropriate" for a woman. It means I have the right to hobbies and interests that I want to have.
I can even vote for whom I believe I should.
It means I can enjoy being spanked when I want and by whom I want, not the other way around.
I have the right to be asked and say no.
I also have the responsibility and duty to listen when someone says no to my advances and respect then because they have the same rights.
Because that is what feminism is.
I have never been raped. I have never had to go through what I can only imagine is a truly horrifying experience and I am not going to pretend I understand it at all.
But I can tell you that the touching, rape threats, and unwanted sexual attention I endured still gives me nightmares, 15+ years later. Reading about cases such like this still gives me nightmares. Knowing that what I went through when I was barely starting puberty would have been treated with such concern for the criminal and not the victim gives me nightmares.
Because I was not raped. I was assaulted. Over and over.
And I was dismissed without any regard to my worth as a person.
The sad truth of the matter was they were right.
Because I was told by children my own age that I should have been happy an older boy was "paying attention" to me and how angry and jealous they were.
Because I was told by adults that "boys will be boys" and to just say no as if I wasn't saying it already.
Because I wasn't even 14 years old and I tried to kill myself because I found out I was not worth protecting.
I am a tiny ripple in a huge ocean of people who know what it is like to be victimized. My experiences cannot be compared with those of others, nor should they be. This is not about who has gone through something worse because that is what divides us. It is easy for feminists to be dismissed because whatever we talk about "isn't or wasn't as bad as it used to be or could be."
It is about making the world a safer and better place for all, regardless of gender.
So when you read comments or articles or hear conversations about how rape victims had been drinking so deserved it, or how someone is speaking their mind so must be on their period, or how a man who stays home with his children is a pussy, you do have a choice.
I am not going to tell what to choose. I know how hard it is to engage with people who have nothing better to do than to degrade others. I know how challenging it is not to fall into their trap of name calling or deflection because they cannot come up with answers as to why you are wrong to fight for equality. They are not interested in proving a point. They are interested in saying the last word.
But I can tell you that for of us who is reading the comments uplifting their fellow human beings regardless of gender or any other difference for that matter and calling out the trolls and haters for who they are, it can made a hard day just that little bit better and the nightmares just a little more bearable.
Because it tells us we are worth protecting.
You may not get the last word in. In fact, I am willing to bet that you won't. I am not asking you to do it in every hateful conversation you are part of or overhear. I am not asking you to do anything at all. But I want to tell you that when you do, you will remind those who need it that they are worthy of love, acceptance, and equality.
They are worthy of being considered human.
I will continue to fight inequality when I see it. I will make mistakes. I will err. I will lose my temper and say or type things I regret. I am human after all.
One day I hope feminism can wipe away the mud that has been slung on it to show what good it can still do the world because as is evident by the hate we still see every day, the world still needs the "f" word.
So yes, I AM an angry feminist. And I hope to continue to be one until the world doesn't need it any more.
Because that is what feminism means to me.
Stay safe out there everyone,