in Maja Writes, Personal

Why I’m a Feminist

Maja explains why she's a feminist.

I’m a feminist…

  • Because people tell me I’m lucky I have a man who likes to cook.
  • Because I’m not even 30 and I have been asked about when I’m going to have children for nearly a decade.
  • Because I’m not even sure I want children, and I am scared shitless of your reaction if it turns out that I don’t.
  • Because people assume I’m bitter over the fact that my boyfriend has not yet proposed to me.
  • Because people assume I dream of my future wedding when in reality I dread the thought of the expense, the work and the attention.
  • Because you’re surprised to find out I’m into technology and gadgets.
  • Because when I tell you where I work, your reply is more often than not “oh, so you work in insert-entry-level-position-here?”

  • Because I never go for runs in the dark, in a country where it is pitch dark for four months every year.
  • Because over the years I have had male co-workers (older and out-ranking) tell me to sit on their laps to get warm, to “wear a longer dress at the event, there will be a lot of alcohol you know”, and “if I had known you were home sick I would have put on my doctor’s coat and paid you a visit”.
  • Because when I starved myself as a teenager people whom I rarely even talked to would come up to me and congratulate me on “losing the baby fat” and admire my cheek bones.
  • Because I still “feel fat” as soon as my BMI tips above 20
  • Because I was told at 11 (by an adult male relative) to never wear heels because “boys don’t like tall girls”.
  • Because I had a colleague refer to my team as “the web boys” for more than a year after I joined.
  • Because I have friends who are followed home by strange men several times a year, who follow them through the streets and into their buildings.
  • Because I know a girl who was chased home through the streets one night by four men and only just managed to lock the door behind her. She never reported it because she had no trust in the police.
  • Because there is a  1/10 chance I will be raped in my lifetime.
  • Because if you know 100 women, that means 10 of them have been or will be raped.
  • Because you were 14 the first time you helped a friend report her rape to the police.
  • Because she pulled the report because she knew the boy was well-liked and that nobody would believe her.
  • Because we would have helped other friends report assaults at an even earlier age if we had known it was a crime. We didn’t realize until years later.
  • Because nobody ever bothered to teach us about consent.
  • Because you think the jokes are funny and you enjoy seeing me get “riled up”.
  • Because we still tell girls that “he hits you because he likes you”.
  • Because if I were to change jobs, the fact that I’m nearly 30 and childless could be a disadvantage.
  • Because I’ve heard you call childless women selfish.
  • Because I’ve heard you blame violence towards women on “decades of oppression of men”.
  • Because I’m one of the lucky ones.

Today is International Women’s Day. Why are you a feminist? 

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16 Comments

  1. I am a feminist because…
    *Because I keep my keys between my fingers when walking home after seeing movies, should someone try to rape me.
    *Because I still struggle with admitting to liking make-up, afraid that people will think it’s due to low self confidence or wanting to please others.
    *Because rape jokes AREN’T funny.
    *Because I’m not considered a “real” videogame-fan when I don’t like the most violent ones.
    *Because I’ve been called a bitch for sticking up for myself too many times.
    *Because no one is ever happy with my reasons for not wanting children.
    *Because I don’t own it to anyone to be pretty,
    -And because everyone deserves equality.

    • AND (totally forgot about this one) because my last boyfriend looked completely and utterly horrified when I joked that I had more of a moustache than he did. (Needless to say, he’s no longer in the picture.)

  2. *because i know that feminism works.
    Genderwise I do not live in the same kind of society as my mother and grandmother did. Should I have a daughter, I put my trust in the feminist movement to make sure she can refer to some of the points on a list like yours saying “I can’t imagine what it must have been like…”

  3. this is brilliant, thanks Maja! I can identify with most of them. I don’t want children either, I am not married but have been with my partner for nearly 8 years and people keep asking when we are going to get married etc. (I am 34). I have only recently learnt to admit openly that I have no maternal instinct. I am lucky as I live in London and a lot of people here ignore social pressure but in my native Poland it is a different story!

  4. I can identify with most of you list. Kind of sad and scary, to be honest.

    I could add a few:

    Because my friend was accused of turning her 3-year-old daughter into a boy and not letting her be a girl when they went to a car show.

    Because I’ve been told several times that it’s great that I have a dog because “it’s good training for when you become a mom”.

    Because my friends and I thought it was normal that older men make all sort of proposals to 15-year-old girls.

  5. I’m a feminist…

    * Because at 15 I was being hit on by men in their late twenties, and told that I should take it as a compliment.

    * Because when I used to play CoD the other players would assume I had misspelled Ninja before accepting that they were being beat by a girl.

    * Because when I got married after just ten months of dating, people assumed I was only doing it for a green-card.

    * Because people cannot understand how I work in child-care without wanting kids of my own.

    * Because I am expected to complain about my body, weight, and everything else about myself, and am looked down upon when I choose to be unapologetically myself.

    * Because my choice of workout makes people assume I am a stripper.

    * Because being called a stripper is still supposed to be considered an insult.

  6. yes to all above and

    … because i have work experience where a male colleague earned more money than i did for EXACTLY the same job.

    … because i’m german and in the german language, while men are adressed as ‘herr xyz’ (english: sir), women are adressed as ‘frau xyz’ (english: woman).

    … tbc

  7. Of course I’m arriving so late at the party here, but I really like this post concept and your list is one to ponder (and kind of stirs my stomac).
    I’d say, because I understand and have an anecdote of my own for most of your points;
    Because when a woman is ugly she has to “make efforts” but when she’s pretty she has to make double efforts to prove she’s smart also;
    Because “work-life balance” discussions always concern women but never men;
    And, as another commenter mentioned above, because I’m reluctant to reveal that I’m a woman whan I play video games online (I mean, just search #gamergate and you’ll know)
    Ah, and because I had a hard time finding a fictional role model when I was a child – boys had han solo, indiana jones and so many others while we had the princess who got captured and had to wait for her prince to save her (and claim her afterwards, without a single consideration on whether she actually wanted him to). Maybe that’s why I liked Cat’s Eye so much…

  8. I’m really curious about the statement “Because if I were to change jobs, the fact that I’m nearly 30 and childless could be a disadvantage.” Here in Germany it is really hard to get a job if you have kids — interviewers will grill you about your backup plans for when the child is sick or has holidays, will try to find out whether you plan to get pregnant again. It’s illegal to ask these kinds of questions, but they are still asked. Being childless, and even better — being unmarried, definitely makes it easier to find a job. (Because peopel don’t marry that much in germany, so when a couple does marry, chances are they want to start a family).

    • Because it’s easy to assume that when you’re a certain age you will get knocked up and take a 1 year mommy leave as soon as you are hired. And it that case it would be much safer to just hire a dude, right?
      Women (and men too, although to a lesser extent) with young kids get discriminated against too, so it’s often a case of being damned if you do and damned if you dont.

  9. Because I believe I don’t have to justify my life choices to anyone like what I chose to wear, how to style my hair, not having children, working for myself, loving cats, living in a country and taking citizenship there even though I wasn’t born there or have any family ties to it and the rest.