8 Things I Want To Tell Young Feminists


1. Be open minded

A lot of young people who are passionate about their ideals (whether it’s liberal or conservative ideals) tend to get really excited when they start to learn more about them. This is great, you’re digging into the narratives you’ve heard your whole life for the first time. Just — do yourself a favor and try to keep an open mind. Don’t get to a place where everything you see is “yet another example of rape culture.” You don’t do feminism any favors by unquestioningly accepting everything you see, hear or read simply because it’s said by another feminist.

2. Having an education or being informed does not make you correct

If your argument as to why you are correct and someone else is incorrect rests on “you need to educate yourself” or “take a women’s studies class” you are in the wrong. Simply having “done research” or taken any number of classes doesn’t entitle you to winning an argument. Presenting a more logical and compelling case entitles you to win an argument.

3. What you consider to be universal, is your experience

Rely on data, not narratives. A narrative is a story you tell yourself, or that someone else tells you. It is subjective, and should be kept in check with objective data. Anecdotes can be a powerful addition to a data-driven argument, but they should never be the whole argument.

4. Being offended does not make you right

Feeling offended is an emotion, not an argument. Using it as an argument is a logical fallacy. This doesn’t mean being offended is irrelevant, but it’s the catalyst for the argument, not the argument itself.

5. You are not entitled to never feel offended

You have the freedom TO speak your mind, you don’t have the freedom FROM other people doing the same.

Additionally, if you are never offended, you’re probably doing something wrong. This means you are speaking only to people who feel the exact same way you do. You’ll probably never be offended a day in your life reading Jezebel, but what’s the point of being passionate about an ideology if you only ever interact with people who agree with you?

6. If you say you want equality, be prepared to offer equality

If you want to be treated exactly the same as a man, don’t also ask for chivalry.

If you want equal pay, make sure you are willing to offer equal work. Don’t see out low-wage work like education or healthcare. Chose a job that is high-paying — likely because it is difficult, dangerous, unpopular or otherwise undesirable, like STEM fields or fishing/logging/military work and then put in the same hours as your (male/women without children) peers.

7. Think twice before calling out perceived gender inequality at your workplace

No one wants to feel like they are walking on eggshells. No one likes people who make them feel like they need to walk on eggshells. This statement makes people angry but I’m not trying to imply you shouldn’t call out people or do whatever your ideals tell you is right — I’m saying it is probably not to your personal advantage to do this at work and that is a weighty consideration if you (like most people) want to have a career or at least, need one to survive.

This article talks about sexual harassment specifically, but I think the questions raised by it are helpful to think about in a lot of different kinds of situations where calling them out may be to your disadvantage (whereas another way of handling the situation would make you happier in the long run).

8. Be empathetic and protect your mental health

Don’t ever stop treating people like they are people. I know it’s a privileged white dude, but he’s a human being. Feeling a bunch of hate towards other people is drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.

You are the one suffering from your anger, not the target of your outrage.

I recommend meditation to everyone, but I would especially recommend it for people dealing with outrage over identity politics. You’ll do better work fighting for your cause if you maintain your emotional and spiritual health while doing so. This is a really great guide to meditating to release difficult emotions.