South East High School

Opinion: Why I am a feminist

I am a feminist because while “feminist icons” like Miley Cyrus and P!nk are praised for embracing their sexuality, artists such as Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna are slut shamed and told to “put a bra on!” because it’s “scandalous” and “raunchy”.

I am a feminist because a white woman makes an average of 77 cents per dollar a man makes, a black woman makes an average of 69 cents per dollar a man makes, and a Latina woman makes an average of 57 cents per dollar a man makes, according to a study from the University of Oregon.

I am a feminist because “white feminism” is painted as the default feminism in mainstream media. White feminism continues to generalize all women into one single group, completely dismissing the opportunity for women of color, women with disabilities, and LGBTQ women to share their stories and experiences.

I am a feminist because, as a teenage girl, I am constantly told I should watch more news, and get more involved, but the minute I open my mouth and speak, I am told I am just a teenage girl, and do not understand, but I do understand. And I am frustrated, and I understand and I am here to tell you I understand, and there are other voices in the world that understand.

I am a feminist because women and girls are still being forced into marriages with older men and are still being sold as sex slaves. I am a feminist because Japanese foreign minister Shinzo Abe, said the women that were forced to work in military brothels during World War II should not be called sex slaves stating, “the term sex slaves doesn’t match the facts,” although during WWII, Japan took thousands of women from China, Japan, South Korea, and other Asian countries and forced these women into military brothels. They were called “comfort women”, or, in other words, sex slaves as the soldiers used these women for sex.

I am a feminist because Muslim women are not allowed to wear hijabs without being ridiculed and harassed, but when a white woman does it, it’s “trendy”.

I am a feminist because my friend was sitting outside our school surrounded by other students when a car pulled up and called out for her. The man did not leave until she called someone on the phone and he noticed.

I am a feminist because when walking to school with a friend, a man significantly older than me catcalled me and my friend from his car and no one bothered to help us. The man didn’t leave us alone until we told him to.

I am a feminist because when I told the man that I was going to call the police, he seemed offended, and even told me to “calm down” because it was a compliment and I shouldn’t be so mad or serious.

I am a feminist because our hypersexualized society causes young girls to be scared of sex because they think it’s inevitable. Society tells young girls that sex is painful, and that it was mandatory. Most young boys anticipate sex like puppy’s waiting for a treat after he fetches the stick, while girls, even in their teens, wait in fear for sex because they think it’s supposed to be mandatory and painful to please men.

I am a feminist because schools would rather let a student wear a shirt with a quote that degraded and dehumanized other human beings than let girls wear skirts shorter than their arm’s length, or shirts that show shoulders. We have walked on the moon, yet girls can’t wear shorts to school because some gross 15-year-old will be “distracted”.

I am a feminist because there are actually people in the world who rather let a woman carry through a pregnancy she does not want to have because they think abortion is murder. I am a feminist because women are denied access to contraception and abortions because some white male politician thinks he knows about a woman’s body more than a doctor does.

I am a feminist because more than 40 million girls around the world are not getting an education, and half of those girls likely never will.

I am a feminist because a young girl’s husband lacerated her face with a razor blade in India.

I am a feminist because most boys are more disgusted with periods and menstrual period than they are with rape.

I am a feminist because women are often seen as fragile, and delicate, and cry babies who tend to the house and cook their husbands dinner and are expected to bring them a beer when they’re watching the game, while men are seen as strong, powerful, and leaders who are supposed to be in control and never show emotions, so both boys and girls are told what to do and what not to do, and it’s about time we don’t call a girl bossy for being in charge, and it’s about time we don’t call a boy a baby when he cries.

I am a feminist because my seventh grade science teacher told me that women aren’t as successful as men because they’re not mentally capable of comprehending things like men are. I lectured on him how it’s sexist to say so. He said he “didn’t mean it like that.”

I am a feminist because my seventh grade health teacher told me that we couldn’t discuss menstruation in class because “it’s disgusting and I’m not obligated” to speak of it. I was terrified of my period and wanted to know more about it, but he still denied to teach about it.

I am a feminist because my fellow classmates think that it isn’t sexist that a woman gets paid 80 cents to every dollar a white man makes, and that women of color, such as Latinas, get paid 54 cents to every dollar a white man makes.

I am a feminist because every time I would talk with a classmate about why feminism is important to me and should be spoken of more, his only comeback was “that’s why God was a man.”

I am a feminist because my eighth grade history teacher told the class that girls should know better than to get raped, and when I said “we shouldn’t teach girls to not get raped. We should teach boys to not rape” she told me it’s disrespectful to talk back to my peers.

I am a feminist because when I tried to explain to my ten-year-old sister what feminism is, she told me that it doesn’t matter because the boys in her fifth grade class will still continue to tell her she cannot play certain sports with them because she is a girl.

I am a feminist because my mom told me that I should know how to cook and clean for men because that’s what her mom taught her, although she herself does not agree with it. I am a feminist because from a young age, girls are indoctrinated to please men. We are taught that masculinity comes freedom, and femininity comes with restrictions.

I am a feminist because people still call the Jane Doe victim who was raped in Steubenville a slut for being raped, and everyone sympathized with the rapists.

I am a feminist because when Emma Watson made her speech for the HeForShe campaign, people called her names and threatened to leak her “nudes” all because they felt threatened.

I am a feminist because I am a teenage girl living in a society where I feel like my voice means nothing. Because no one seems to listen to me when I try to explain something to them. Because no one gives me the time of day and no one lets me explain no matter how much I want them to.

I am a feminist because how can I not be. I want to grow up teaching girls and boys what gender equality is, and that we can get there, but first we must unlearn years of oppressive behavior.

I am a feminist because no one should feel the way I feel: voiceless, distraught, like no one is there to listen to what I have to say because they’re all too busy telling me to shut up. I want everyone to have a voice, and that shouldn’t take ten, twenty, thirty years to happen. It should start happening now.

I am a feminist because I want everyone to be happy and equal. I am a feminist because how can you not be?


  • Reply Why I'm a teenage feminist - California News January 27, 2016 at 3:44 am

    […] Sambrano, a student at South East High School, wrote for High School Insider about why she is a feminist. Read a selection of her piece […]


  • Reply nicolefunes January 28, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I was awfully surprised by the fact that your some of your teachers prior to this article really said that to you. Wow. This was really persuasive and opened my eyes a bit wider to what I didn’t know happens right outside our school grounds. I can safely say I’ve never been put in that situation & hope I never will, which really makes me wonder after which one of these actions convinced you to become a feminist. Really well written :)


  • Reply why i’m a forever feminist – Adventures Apart January 28, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    […] by an articulate young woman: i am a feminist because all my life (yes, since i’ve been born) i have had almond-shaped hazel […]


  • Reply Kayla Calvo April 27, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Please follow our Instagram account @feministsdont
    Our account is based off slut shaming and how we can prevent girls from bringing others down.


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