I Need Feminism Because There Is No Bright Future Without It

I need feminism because I shouldn't be called "gay" for the way I act or things I like! (photo credit: Ileana Jiménez).
I need feminism because I shouldn’t be called “gay” for the way I act or things I like! (photo credit: Ileana Jiménez).

“I need feminism” is something I never thought I would say if it weren’t for this feminism course I took this year in high school.

I was very curious and excited to take this class because I knew I was going to learn something new, but it never occurred to me that I would learn much more than I had expected.

When I came to my first feminist class, I asked this question: If in the U.S. we believe that we are all created equal, why is sexism still happening? I wanted to know why feminists still needed to do more work in the U.S.

I knew that outside America, women still faced oppression and stereotypes daily. Some young women today are barred from accessing an education and instead, their brothers go to school while the girls stay at home and learn how to become wives and homemakers. These girls also face fears of getting pregnant at a young age. Many also face domestic violence or rape.

But what does the U.S have to do with all this? Everyone child is given an education here. Children cannot get married at a young age in this country. It is illegal to rape a child or anyone in this country. With a country filled with so many rules regarding equality and safety for everyone, I would think that there would be no need for a feminist movement here.

But taking this feminism course opened my eyes not only to the oppression of girls worldwide, but the need for feminism in the U.S. as well.

We need to first understand the definition of feminism and its purpose. When I first started taking this class, I said that I thought feminism was a movement to give women the same rights and freedom as men; to create gender equality for all. I knew this wasn’t the entire definition, but I also knew that I wasn’t wrong.

Many people get the wrong idea of what feminism really is and they automatically assume it’s an exclusive movement with a negative purpose. Many assume that men and boys can’t be feminists. Many think that the feminist movement is about bringing power to women so that they can oppress men who have oppressed women since the beginning of humanity. Therefore, many believe its a wrong and unprogressive movement that does not promote a positive purpose. It is a misunderstood movement.

I wish I could write about everything that I learned about feminism, but it would be too much to cover. My class and I started by learning about the theory of intersectionality and its application in the feminist movement. We then moved on to talking about girls education globally and how many suffer through sex trafficking and assault. Women are dehumanized around the world and are placed at a lower status than men. Documentaries such as Half the Sky helped reveal these awful truths that happen around the world.

One of the topics we covered in this class was sexting. I did not that this would be such a big issue related to feminism or that it would be connected to the ways in which young girls are oppressed. However, after reading Jessica Ringrose’s report on sexting and learning about how boys as young as middle school sometimes force girls in their schools to have sexual intercourse or oral sex with them really flabbergasted me. Later, both boys and girls would take pictures of these sex acts and post them to the Internet from their phones.

We ended the course by exploring commercial sexual exploitation of children and sex trafficking in New York City. This topic particularly interested me because it helped answer my question about some of the issues feminists in the U.S. support. I was unaware that there were girls who were sex trafficking victims in the city that I live in.

As you can see, there is a lot to uncover about feminism and there is still a lot more to cover. But all of this material has made me realize the importance of feminism in the world and in the U.S.

The oppression of girls and women is something that has to stop. In this country, sexism still happens. Some men still want to preserve what they think is the rightful role of a woman, which they believe is in the home.

A man holding an
A man holding an “Iron my shirt” poster while Hillary Clinton is talking to the public during her run for presidency. Sexist remarks such as this poster are telling Clinton that she belongs in the home instead of running for president.

Feminism is the key to equality for everyone in the world. As a young man who has been oppressed by gender stereotypes all of my life, from here on, I am proud to say that I am feminist and that I have to give a big thank you to my feminist teacher, Ileana Jiménez, for teaching me this material.

For now, I believe my role in the feminist movement is to spread the word. I hope that one day, I will get the opportunity to inform as many people as possible about the importance of feminism. I want to inform other schools, my friends, family, and community about this topic.

I do wish to have an even bigger role. I would also like the chance to visit girls worldwide, to document their stories, and hopefully, help provide them an education.

Lastly, I have a vision for myself as a young male feminist.

I have been a fan of music for as long as I remember. I taught myself to play various instruments and discovered music theory. As a young musician, I focus my music and songwriting not only on creating beautiful sounds that go well together, but also on the storytelling. It upsets me that not a lot of famous musicians or artists today use their advantage of super-star fame to produce work relating to important issues such as girls’ and women’s oppression. They mostly have songs about inappropriate material which young audiences listen to all the time. Since music is a deep passion and talent that I have, I will create songs to raise awareness about issues such as sex trafficking, a girl’s desire for an education, and more. If no musician plans to create music about this awareness, I would be glad to do so.

When that happens, everyone will turn up their radios to listen to the story of a girl they would have never imagined of. All profits of this song will go to girls in developing countries so that they can receive the education that they deserve. Youtube views will hit millions. Facebook links for my songs for young women and girls will include 10X10 Educate Girls, The Girl Effect,Miss Representation, and my teacher’s Feminist Teacher blog.

I need feminism for a happier and safer world
I need feminism for a better tomorrow
I need feminism because without it, there is no equailty.
I need feminism and you do too.

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3 thoughts on “I Need Feminism Because There Is No Bright Future Without It

  1. Before this course, we thought very similarly. Although I recognized certain feminist issues in America, such as reproductive rights, other issues seemed to be resolved. You say, “With a country filled with so many rules regarding equality and safety for everyone, I would think that there would be no need for a feminist movement here”. What we have realized though, is that this isn’t the case. Although rape is illegal, girls still get raped, not all rapists are convicted, and many people believe that the jail time for rape isn’t severe enough. A law doesn’t miraculously change society.

  2. This is one of the most passionate and earnest posts I’ve read. You can tell that you are a changed person who has found passion. I think you have a good point when you talk about the fact that there are so many musicians out there who have the chance to make a difference and raise awareness but most of them choose not to because they want the easy path to money and fame. I actually talked about something similar in my post: that we don’t have enough feminism in art today and that I want to be able to use my art to show the truth about feminism because, like you said, feminism is a misunderstood movement. But I think that with knowledge and awareness, people will begin to see what feminism is really about because I find that a lot of people are very misinformed about feminism.

  3. Cesar, you really brought the house down, making this post very personal. Your honest and open connections really helped connect me to your piece.

    As far as subject matter, it was perfectly intertwined. With the contrast of the degrees of progress that is needed in other countries as well as here, the stereotypes we expect of women especially in the political world and in the media.

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