I found out the other day that some random douchebag I pissed off in Texas referred to me as "that feisty feminist bitch" after I left.
I was flattered, and posted what he said to my Facebook page. Four people "liked" my post. One friend left a comment that made me feel like my awful experience in Texas had been worth it: "For this, you have my love and respect."
What did I do to be called a "feisty feminist bitch," you ask? Well, he called his girlfriend a cunt about five times in as many minutes, and--upon noticing that she wasn't going to defend herself--I gave him a dirty look and told him to shove it. Then I hopped on a plane and flew home, because I didn't want to deal with his bullshit anymore.
He was clearly being a huge dick. I don't think you could argue against that. But at the end of the day, I'm the one who looked like an asshole. Because I had the audacity to tell him that he didn't deserve a girlfriend if he was going to treat her like shit.
I talked to someone recently who was referred to as an "extremist" (by someone who was obviously very close to her) for pointing out that the percentage of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 does not accurately represent the female population of 52%.
I'm flattered by the Texas douchebag's comment because I don't care about what he thinks of me. But I too have really struggled with comments made to me by people I care about.
At a recent family gathering, my aunt asked me why I had decided to transfer colleges. I listed a few reasons. And when I was done, my mom said, "The bottom line is that Amelia left because she needed to find a place where it would be easier for her to be a feminist."
At that word, many of my extended family members winced. I was grateful to my mom for saying it.
At times I've found myself frustrated with my family to the point of avoiding them. (Instead of spending Christmas with them, I spent it with my friend Victoria.) It makes me sad that I have to avoid them just to feel comfortable in my own skin. I don't want to have to cut anyone out of my life. But I've had to figure out what really matters more to me: Making Grandma proud, or identifying as a feminist. If I really can't do both, she shouldn't be part of my life. Even if she is my grandmother.
How's that for a tough truth to swallow?
It hurts to know that people will call me "a feisty feminist bitch" and mean it as an insult, or that someone else will use the word "extremist," knowing it carries a negative connotation.
Because all we're asking for is respect and equality. And I don't understand why that offends people so much.
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