Thirteen And Feminist

By Sophie Bach

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“I need some strong boys to carry these boxes for me,” my teacher announces to the class.   Since I am a girl in middle school, it is assumed that I’m not capable of carrying an 8-pound box down the hallway to another classroom.  Of course, it would be idiotic for anyone to possibly ever think any other way, or that’s what we think.

Traditionally, that’s the way it’s always been for most women in all of history.  Men went to work, and women stayed home with the kids. Men mowed the lawn, and women baked cakes.  Although we have come a long way since that time, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

To even consider being a thirteen year old girl back then is hard to imagine. Being one now is hard enough, sometimes even, embarrassing when your a feminist.  You are unable to stand up for yourself half the time. We are told to dress and play like a girl, because well, we are one. Society puts a picture in everyone else’s head of what a girl should look like.  You continuously see movies, commercials, magazines with girls in dresses or women in lingerie. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a huge problem with it. It’s just the fact that this is what the world wants us to be like and when we try to stand up for ourselves, they get mad.  As human beings, we try so hard to please one another, but all we’ve ever done is the exact opposite.

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Society is unpredictable, and surely the majority is sexist.  I want to be able to walk around my school without being scared or embarrassed to be myself.  My friends often point out the fact that I’m a feminist and will usually call me names or make fun of me. I don’t take their opinions personally.  We grew up learning it was okay to be yourself, but that shouldn't mean individuals can judge one another based off their beliefs.

I didn’t participate in certain activities because they were “boy sports.”  I liked the color pink because it was a “girl color.” I now find myself looking back, and I find that’s what everyone was like.  So, of course, my peers, teachers, and even my family would think I’m absolutely mad for speaking and thinking in a way they aren’t used to it. That’s what’s wrong with this world.  

As a person, society doesn’t define or sustain me.  I normally feel self-conscious about myself and who I ought to be.  My style is late 70’s, early 80’s mixed in with a little vintage, bohemian vibe.  I can’t dress that way anymore without people making fun of me, although that’s how I wish I still dressed today.  Due to the fact that I get made fun of, I have occasionally stopped acting like myself, forced to change. This is what people do to me.  They think that if they put their opinion in the mix, then they are fixing things. However, they only continue to make people feel bad about themselves.  Feminism isn’t just women’s rights - it’s people rights too. Being myself is not easy, although I wish I could just be who I want to be without feeling shanghaied.

I walk into my school building five days a week, and it’s all the same.  Nothing changes. For some reason, I always expect people to act differently around me, but they don’t.  The majority is still racist, sexist, ageist, or just general bullies. I deserve to live in a world without feeling judged or thwarted whenever I take one step closer to achieving my goal in life: being who I want to be.

I’m proud, but I can’t help but I can’t help but think about the fact that there are people out there judging me for even just writing these words on this page.  As I grow older, I start to comprehend that I can’t really control the fact that I am who I am.

I resignedly point out that this is what it may possibly be like for the rest of my life, but I do also realize that it doesn’t have to be that way.   We all need to learn that this is who we are, and maybe one day, we can genuinely accomplish that. For now, I will continue to stand tall and proud that I’m a teen who’s a feminist.  This is my story, but it’s not stopping here.