A quiet ‘Oh’ is quite the common answer I get from people that I’ve met and talked to about me being a feminist. It’s unsettling to see them show interest in what you’re saying and suddenly look away and try subtly to retreat to someone else because they’re getting uncomfortable once the ‘big word’ came out. ‘Oh, you are one of them, those crazy women yelling and protesting against men, I see’. No, that’s not it; this is not what feminism is about. I believe in feminism because it is a positive value to me and because I believe women should be treated as equals to men. Feminism for me is not about dominance over men; it’s about equality, about everyone being entitled to freedom and equal civil rights, no matter the skin color, sexual orientation, religion, culture, lifestyle or gender.
As I grew up, I kept myself informed by watching the information channels and reading many articles on the internet. The first feminist article I came across was in college and was called “15 wrong reasons to not be a feminist”. As I was reading the reasons, ‘Because of feminism, there’s no real guys anymore’, ‘Feminists have a problem with men’, etc. I thought they seemed pretty ridiculous, but then would that make me a feminist? I didn’t realize back then that my opinions were already pro-feminism. Further in time, I read a lot about feminism, women’s civil rights, slut-shaming, rape culture and street harassment. That’s when I realized the catcalling or the insults I’ve faced before weren’t normal. There was a reason I felt so uncomfortable and bothered about all this; it was called ‘street harassment’. It was humiliating and derogatory to me as a woman.
I’ve been followed once in the street at night. When I realized it, I quickened my pace and the guy behind did the same. I remembered that my mom made me buy pepper spray and grabbed it from my bag, still walking