Why I Became a Feminist

It’s summer, and I’m walking along, talking to some friends. And because it’s summer, I’m wearing a skirt, with bare legs. Anyway, we were walking, when we heard a voice behind us. It’s a boy from my year, so we slow down and wait for him to catch up. And the very first thing he says to us, as he gets close, is “Hey Rachel, you should really get some fake tan on those legs.”

Now, there are so many things wrong with this statement. Firstly, of course, there’s the implication that I ought to conform to his standards of beauty, which exclude anyone who isn’t blonde, tanned, a size 8 and (basically) a Page 3 girl. Then there’s the fact that he thinks that he has the right to say that to me. Because apparently, being female, I’m public property (again, I suspect this comes back to the Page 3 girls). Thirdly, and without even thinking like a feminist, it’s just rude! What would he do if I walked up to him and said, “You know, you really ought to get those teeth done.” ?

I’d never really thought about feminism before, but he made me so angry I decided then and there to become a feminist. Since then, I’ve started pulling people up whenever I hear them say something sexist. What’s depressing is that I hear it so often – in the last 3 months I’ve heard, “rapists are all old men who have different values, after they’re all dead there won’t be any rape”, “I wouldn’t go out with her because she’s a whore” (this of a girl who had had 2 boyfriends at most), and, even better, “Chris Brown probably had a good reason to hit Rihanna”.

I just don’t understand how people can think like that!

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Rachel F
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