Me, being the proud women’s rights advocate that I am, struggle quite often with a healthy balance between asserting myself and my space while at the same time protecting my mental stability. I oftentimes want to speak up about a controversial topic, and I have something I think is really pertinent to the conversation…but I end up getting overshadowed because I simply can’t get up the guts to spit anything out. I suppose that is why I write so much: I can edit, I can restructure, hell, I can delete entire entries. It is just incredibly frustrating to know that your lungs close just when you have something really salient. Oftentimes I can work myself up into a frustration enough to say it, and I’m learning how to overcome my anxieties and speak my mind without hesitation.
I wonder if any of these anxieties stem from our culture of a male-dominated society in which girls are taught from birth to be quiet, calm, and to keep to themselves, to never make a mess, to never cause a fight. I wonder how many other girls are fighting the same battle as I, but find themselves subconsciously silencing themselves.
It can be incredibly isolating to be a silent member of such a loud, strong movement. I often debate which place I hold in this third wave of feminism. Is a quiet observer a real activist? Where do I draw the line between fighting the good fight and keeping my mind intact? Although I am comfortable debating with my friends, family, and sometimes classmates, and even find great joy in doing so, outside of that, in larger activist settings, it is gut-wrenching for me to even attend such events. So I wonder where my voice is in this great cloud screaming for equality. Sometimes I think it is barely there at all. These merging movements of feminism and other forms of social justice are becoming more and more prevalent in mainstream media, and the cries only grow louder. Activism is strength, solidarity in differences, and demanding change. But what about those who are too afraid to scream?