Why I Chose Feminism

By Leslie Dawe

I was seven years old when my teacher had asked the boys to carry chairs to our gymnasium. I remember being so confused… why couldn’t I carry chairs? My teacher was a man and later he carried some too. So why couldn't I and the rest of the girls in my class? It was on that day, in 2007, that I realized that I was not an equal. I then asked my teacher why, and he said that, “the boys normally do the heavy lifting." I responded with, “I am just as capable of carrying a chair to the gym as he is.” He shook his head and simply stated that the boys carry the chairs, and I stay in the classroom.

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When I was thirteen, I realized that I wanted to be treated as an equal. After those long years of trying to figure things out, I finally started doing some research. Feminism stuck out to me despite the bad name it had been given on social media - being man hating. At first, I did not want to be associated with this name, this title. So, my research continued.

I only recently defined myself publicly as a feminist and when I did, I received a lot of backlash. I was hated by my friends because I chose to vocalize my opinions. The people I thought were my close friends made me out to be a bad person because feminism has a bad name on the internet. Being a feminist to me is advocating for the rights that I want my sisters, friends, mother and me to have. Women deserve to be treated as equals. We do not want to pull men down. Instead, we want to make sure we are known as equals. Women want to strengthen other women and empower them.  “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

I learned that I needed to educate my friends and peers on how feminism is not a bad thing. I told them how my views differ from the bad names some feminists have and how there is a difference - not everything online is the truth. The world is not flat, Australia is real, and a woman wearing what she is comfortable in does not make them a slut.

In today’s harsh world, we need to remember that we are strong and courageous souls. As stated by  Kavita Ramdas, “We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.”

So, to any young women reading this, it is never too early or ever too late to start educating others and never apologize for being a powerful woman. Each and every woman has the potential to be something great. Never put your head down. You are capable of anything you set your mind to.