My name is Tobias Ådin. I identify as intersex/agender, I am homosexual and I am a feminist.
I tell you this, because these things are what people react the most to when I introduce myself. Most reactions are quite negative, especially the part about being a feminist. “But, you’re a gay man, why do you hate other men?” Is a common question, or “You’re a feminist? Why?
This is why I need feminism; Because apparently, supporting women’s rights and fighting for equality is a bad thing, that is frowned upon. And apparently, I hate men because I’m a feminist, even though man hating is NOT equivalent with being a feminist (Some feminists hate men, yes, but they are not the majority).
So, why do I need feminism? here’s why;
1: Because I even need to answer this question.
Being a feminist is not a bad thing, and the fact that I need to answer the question of why I am a feminist, proves that we all need feminism.
2: Because I am typically discriminated against for breaking the norm and the heterosexual matrix.
I am not a man, I am agender, because that’s how I identify. That is something people can’t seem to accept, because it means I don’t conform to their thoughts that there is only male and female. I’m not a cisperson, and I am not heterosexual, therefore I break the illusion of the heterosexual matrix; Ergo, I am considered a threat. Feminism is so far the only ideology that supports me and allows me to be who I am, no strings attached.
Feminism shows me that I am not any less worthy just because I’m gay and agender.
Feminism accepts all, it supports equality. That’s what feminism is about; Total equality.
3: Because I live in a world where the norm is more important than my well being.
I suffer from various mental illnesses, which also contributes to me being discriminated. We live in a world where it is almost impossible for an adolescent to get a job, and if you admit that you have mental health problems, you are immediately sent down the hierarchic social ladder. You are treated as an inferior, you become the illness you suffer from, rather than the individual you are.
4: Because I was taught that appearance is more important than skill.
“Appearance is important, dress for the job you want.” These things, telling people that you have to look good to get a job, is not healthy, it teaches us that good looks gets you further than actual skill. It starts from childhood, even; We are indoctrinated with the thought pattern that “modest is hottest”, and “if you dress like that, then it’s no wonder you got raped.” Slut shaming is an everyday thing for women, and it’s not okay.
5: Because I have suffered too, and because we teach children that it’s okay to use others. The majority of rape reports, sexual harassment and abuse etc. come from women, and thus, we focus a lot on the do’s and dont’s for women, rather than actually teaching “Don’t rape, don’t force yourself on others” etc. And the classic “Boys will be boys” which seems to justify any behaviour of a man, regardless of what he’s done. This “boys will be boys” is dangerous, because it teaches us that a man is allowed to do what he wants to others, because that’s his right. Which it’s not!
But also, there are of course men who got raped, sexually assaulted, abused etc. both by women and other men. In the very rare case that a man reports being raped or another sexual crime, he is not asked what he was wearing the night, whether he was drunk or not, etc. but he is instead emasculated. His “status” as a tough macho man (as society raises our boys to be) is questioned after such a crime, and he is subjugated to a social belittling, whether consciously or not, by society.
I am a victim of sexual harassment, but because I was in third grade when it happened, and because the principal and entire school was indoctrinated by the whole “boys will be boys” and the constant act of pretending that bullying didn’t exist, I was forced into silence by the masses. I was told that “Rumours like that are rude” and “You should be nicer to your classmates” whenever I tried to avoid the boy, who I might add, was my classmate. And whom I had to go to school with every day; This naturally meant that every day, he would sexually harass me, and every time I told someone, he got sympathy and I was ridiculed.
Eventually, I just gave up and kept quiet, which is the last thing you should ever do!.
That’s why I need feminism; Because feminism doesn’t discriminate, or look the other way: Feminism deals with the problems and encourages people to talk about their experiences and get the help they deserve.
6: Because I am not accepted. I don’t care what other people think of me, but I do value my friends and my family’s opinion of me. And that’s why it hurts when sometimes, my own family doesn’t acknowledge me as agender. It’s because they can’t understand that I don’t conform to the standards that they grew up in, and they can’t acknowledge my gender identity, because the concept is too bizarre to them.And it’s not just my identity, it’s my looks; Friends and family constantly bombard me with comments about how my hair looks untreated, when’s the last time I showered, why don’t I take better care of my skin, etc. Those words cut like a knife, and they only make me feel more miserable.
The few times when I am vain and comment about my appearance, such as “I love my hair”, the comments come pouring in; “How can you love it? You obviously don’t take care of it.” And they proceed to tell me how to look.
This is why I need feminism; Because I, as well as everyone else; Children, trans*, agender, gender-fluid, cisperson, etc. Everyone are constantly judged by their looks. This is something feminism fights against; We should be judged by our personality, not our physical appearance.
7: Because I need to write this list. This is the main reason why I need feminism; Because in 2014, I still have to write a list of why I need feminism, of why equality is NOT achieved, not by a mile. Because I need to write this, and hope to prove that feminism is an essential part in achieving equality.
I need feminism, because people still ask me why I’m a feminist, and because people actually think that we live in a world where this inequality and these constant hate crimes, human rights violations, and suicide/death rates are abnormally high, is socially acceptable.
I need feminism, because without it, I don’t believe we’ll ever live in a decent world.