Why I Am A Feminist In The 21st Century

By Isabella Piper

Watching women fight for political, sexual, and economic equality for the entirety of my life, I have abruptly decided to speak on behalf of myself and others. 

I am only sixteen years old, but I know that I would like to reach the point where I can venture into any situation in an outfit in which I feel gorgeous and not feel like I am being looked at like a sexual object. I would like to walk home from a bar late at night and not be frightened to encounter a man or another woman who will take advantage of me because I am vulnerable. I would like to feel comfortable on a college campus and not constantly worry that I will be drugged and/or raped.

I would like to have friends of the opposite sex who will not pressure me to engage in sexual activities with them. If I clearly did not ask for it, I do not want to be informed that I was. I have come to realize that these problems will always be there.

The more I try to remember specific instances, the blurrier these instances become. We almost force ourselves to forget that events like this continue to occur in our daily lives.

The first incident occurred when I was fifteen. I was with a guy who admired me, but there were times I clearly did not asked to be touched or kissed. Being an adolescent, I did not know how to feel when I was pinned down and forced to make out with my significant other. I faintly remember repeating the word "no", but, with some people, that word doesn't hold any significance.

I can recall that same scenario repeating itself more than three times. After this person and I ended it completely with one another, he continued to touch me. He would grab my butt while everyone else was watching.  I was embarrassed. I was frightened. He would treat this like it was some kind of game. He would laugh with his other guy friends, not even putting into consideration the constant violation I felt every time he did this. At countless get-togethers, he would run his fingers up my legs until he reached areas that should not be crossed. Testing the waters, he would see how far I would let him get. I would push him off me only for him to come back and do it again. I never asked to be touched, kissed, or grasped. To him, it was a game. He wanted to see how far he could get until I told him to stop.

He did not know that I would cry myself to sleep every time this happened. I was treated like an object, and not like the human being that I am. I am a confident, beautiful, and important woman. My body is mine, and my boundaries should not be crossed without MY consent.

I am a sixteen-year-old who has been with two abusive partners. I struggle to sustain relationships with my significant others because of our differences. I push to be accepted for all of me, but, most of the time, I am treated as if there is no brain connected to my body. Striving to become my true self daily and to not let these situations affect the way I think, feel, and react. I keep reminding myself that I am more than just my past.

I am continuing to expand my horizons as a woman. Each and every day, I feel even more confident in myself than before. I will not let my past instances define my standards. I, will not let the sexualized standards of society tell me what I can and cannot wear.

I am young, radiant, and have the right to wear whatever I want.

As women, we cannot let our past scare us as well as the future situations we are trying to avoid. We deserve to feel gorgeous and safe in our skin every single day. Do not be oppressed. Speak out. Be brave. Our future depends on it.