This week I have been featuring on my Facebook page perspectives of women who went to the Women’s March last weekend or support those who did. What follows is the perspective of someone who did not go to the march because of other obligations, but wrote her view very powerfully on Social Media. I asked her if I could publish what she wrote and she agreed. Since she doesn’t have a blog or website, it is here on CFD. Enjoy!
I’ve got to get something off my chest. I’ve seen so many downright MEAN things posted lately in the wake of the Women’s March, primarily directed at the idea of feminism. There is a lot of hatred towards feminists, and I think I understand why.
If you are a woman and you say, “I don’t need feminism,” I get that. You’re probably like me. Because technically *I* don’t need feminism either. Overall, my life has been the feminist’s dream.
I grew up in a female-dominated family, attended a church that had been ordaining women since the 1850’s, went to college where my department was overrun with women, and since then have been working for a company that was originally created by women, strictly for women, and is still very female-heavy to this day.
I’ve never felt like my gender has been holding me back from anything I wanted to be or accomplish, and if you say you don’t need feminism, that probably means that we’re in the same boat.
And that’s a GOOD thing! The feminists who came before us fought to give us a lot of rights we didn’t have before, and many women in other cultures and nations still don’t have. Many of us have been brought up in families and societies that have embraced our natural strength and value.
So why do I support feminism?
Because I learned that I’m one of the lucky ones. The more friends that I talk to, the more I realize just how many, many women out there have had completely different experiences than I have. I may not need feminism, but THEY DO.
I hear stories that I’m tempted now to tell, but they aren’t mine to share. They belong to these other women.
They are stories of being disowned by family members for wanting to go to college. Or wanting to choose their own husband. Or wanting to work outside the home.
They are stories of sexual abuse where it never occurred to the victims that they could report it, because their friends, family members, or fellow churchgoers asked questions such as, “What were you doing in that part of town?” “Why were you alone with him?” “Did you do anything to make him think you were interested?”
(And never once heard so much as a, “I’m sorry. He shouldn’t have done that to you.” Let alone anything to confirm the idea that the aggressor did anything other than what was to be naturally expected of a man OR that anyone other than the victim was to blame.)
They are stories of victims reporting abuse who either aren’t taken seriously or who have attorneys and court officials who try to play mind games on them to make them think they somehow asked for – or even BENEFITED from – their abuse.
I don’t have these stories in my personal life; I’ve never even been catcalled. But I have more friends than I can count on both hands who have been victims of rape or sexual abuse of some kind. But only TWO have reported it. They deserve to be taken seriously and to have their aggressors held accountable.
In my personal life, I only know one man who is outspoken on his beliefs that women are second-class citizens who should never have any authority over anyone or anything in any circumstances. But I can hold my own with him because I’ve been fortunate enough to have been consistently taught my value.
ALL women should be so lucky.
That’s why feminism matters to me. Not because I don’t have all the rights and privileges I want. But because some women still don’t.
I don’t need feminism, but THEY do.
Katie Wright is a wife, soon-to-be mom to two girls, aspiring writer, classically-trained opera singer, and board game nerd. Although she’s lived the feminist dream, she loves hearing stories from others who’ve conquered darker histories. This is her first time contributing to CFD.