How I Found Feminism
The teenage founder of Feminist Culture explains how she became a feminist.
It all begins when you decide to question the world. When you realize that the pain you feel is more than just your own, and that there's widespread agony far greater than you could ever imagine. I became curious about why some cultures so heavily depend on the injustice of women, children, people of color, and those who have identities that are beyond the binary.
When I turned 16, I started to understand the way the world worked, and how it didn't work in women's favor. After months of reading books and seeing documentaries and watching the news, I decided I couldn't hold this burden alone—I had to share what I had learned with the world. So, I created Feminist Culture. I had one goal: to help at least one girl. But I ended up helping thousands. I talked with women around the world, and gave them a website to learn from and the courage to speak out.
Feminism has always made sense to me. It screams that maltreatment of women has been ignored for far too long, it amplifies the voice of those who have been silenced for centuries, and it tells people that you can be anything you want to be. The feminism I believe in supports everyone, from mothers to sex workers, from stay-at-home fathers to trans people. My feminism doesn’t shy away from discussing the systems that have created a worldwide epidemic of discrimination, oppression, and hatred. My feminism is angry, passionate, courageous, compassionate, empowered, and beautiful.
Feminism doesn’t have an end, or maybe even a beginning. There are so many intersections of ideologies, women with stories, and different kinds of suffering that you will never be finished learning. You’re on a continuous journey of knowledge and progression. There will always be people who shy away from the idea of feminism, because they can’t begin to question the systems that have been in place for so long. At least not without feeling as if their minds would fall apart if they ever asked, “But why?”
As a feminist you must accept that the world can be wrong. From being held to higher standards, to being judged on physical attractiveness, to being treated as weaker and less intelligent, sexism is still there. It’s apparent on college campuses, where sexual assault cases are on the rise, and it’s visible in the forced marriage of girls as young as 12. It’s glaring in the culture that blames tragedy on women simply for existing.
Being young, you’re told you have no right to question the world. “You’re a feminist?” has a connotation so negative that some women dismiss the idea as soon as it’s mentioned. If we all could open our minds to something new, if we could work together to fix what’s broken, maybe we could create a world where women can walk down the street without being objectified. If we could all help remove the stigma surrounding “feminism” and be the best version of ourselves, we could have refuge.
Alexis is the founder of Feminist Culture, a website devoted to exploring all of the complicated issues surrounding feminism. When she's not writing for the likes of MTV News, she tweets at @feministculture and @lexi4prez (we'd vote for her!).