When I was a child, I assumed that boys and girls were equal. I assumed that boys weren’t better than girls, and girls weren’t better than boys. Why wouldn’t I? We’re all people, and I was taught that all people were equal. I was naïve.
As I grew older, I noticed some things. I noticed that many of the places I frequent are very male-dominated. Internet chat rooms are filled with men, and devoid of women. When I play video games, the only voices I hear are those of men. (Also 12-year-old boys screaming into their mics, the reason I don’t play on X-Box Live anymore.) In my college graduating class, there are exactly 3 female physics majors. There are nearly ten times as many male physics majors. Male-dominated spaces extend to the business world too, where many boards of directors are almost completely composed of men.
Other things I’ve noticed: Women are far more likely than men to develop an eating disorder, women often are paid far less then men, and women are often objectified by others, while men are not. When was the last time you saw a movie with a strong female protagonist? (Yes, I know. Brave. Besides that.) Does anybody watch the WNBA? My spell checker doesn’t even know what it is.
And it’s more than that. Consider Anita Sarkeesian, who’s faced a hurricane of vitriol for trying to raise money to fund a project that explores stereotypes about women in video games. Or Rebecca Watson, who’s suffered an unbelievable shitstorm for saying, “Hey guys don’t do that.” These are just two women with very public personae. How much do other women suffer in ways that we don’t get to hear about?
This is why I’m a feminist. Because women suffer every day, simply for the crime of being women. Because society treats women as sex objects first, and people second. Because some people think it’s okay to insult and degrade women when they speak out about these injustices. Feminists are the only people fighting to change this. I want to change this too. That’s why I’m a feminist.