I used to be afraid to call myself a feminist in front of other people. Whenever I did it, I was usually met with jeers, sneers, and sometimes the occasional snicker.
Things have changed, however, and now I would feel ashamed if I don't mention something that is such a big part of my life.
I have always cared way too much about what people think of me, so I never used to be able to handle the looks people gave me when I talked about feminism and women's rights. But now I know, if someone looks at you strangely because you say you're a feminist, they aren't worth your time.
It's OK if someone isn't a feminist, but they have no right to judge you for being one yourself.
I have absolutely no time to spare to deal with close-minded people. Most of the time, the reason people aren't down to hear you talking about feminism is that they don't really know what it is or they have some pre-conceived notion of what it is. But they don't have the full picture.
For those who are unaware, feminism is the fight for women to be seen as equal to men.
No matter what you've seen or what other people have told you, feminism is and always will be about equality.
Some people may tell you that it is women trying to make themselves seen as better than men, but that is not the case. Equal rights, that's all we want. Call us selfish, but women just want all the things that men have - nothing fancy.
We just want to be seen as equal. And if you think that's already the case, then I will kindly ask you to take your delusions elsewhere.
Feminists get a bad rep because of "extreme feminists", who aren't really feminists at all.
"Extreme feminists" think everyone is out to get them. Most of the time, they explain away a situation they are in through the idea that everyone is sexist and are targeting them because they are a feminist. "Extreme feminists" tend to hate men and want to watch them burn.
I can't stress enough that these people aren't feminists. Hating men is not a requirement to be a feminist. Feminists don't hate men and think they are better than them. If someone says to you "I hate men and that's why I am a feminist" (and believe me I have heard this plenty of times), then they have the wrong intentions.
Every movement is going to have people within it who go to extremes and don't have the right intentions.
These people shouldn't define the movement, however. As long as you know that what you are doing is right and it means something to you, then that is all that matters.
I am a feminist because I would not be where I am today with the help of the strong women in my life. I believe they and all future generations of women deserve the world, and I am not afraid to say it.