To The College Students Who Don’t Consider Themselves Feminists


Dear Collegiates:

Get your game together.

It’s 20-fucking-14, and as educated members of an allegedly liberal generation, you haven’t a single pretext to spurn feminism.

I’m pissed. 

I’m pissed that when, at the beginning of my freshman year, my history professor asked the self-proclaimed feminists in the class to identify themselves, three out of nearly 30 of us raised our hands.

I’m pissed that, last spring, my best friend was warned that perhaps guys didn’t want to approach her because “they think that [she’s] a feminist.”

I’m pissed that I’m expected to be forbearing of your lack of understanding of what a feminist is. Because, frankly, I don’t give a shit whether your dissociation from the title results from a failure to recognize what it implicates or, alternately, from a willful rejection of those implications. You are adult participants in higher education, and my patience for your weak vindication(s) has run dry.

I’m pissed that I’m not allowed to be pissed. Too many of you will call me “dramatic” in response to this letter. I’m not dramatic. I’m disgusted, rather, that you don’t recognize how colossally fucked your misunderstanding of feminism is. Kindly look it up in the dictionary and, armed with its painfully simple definition, tell me again that you think my indignation is unmerited.

I’m pissed that I, even as a student at the number one liberal arts college (a school that, mind you, is constantly lauded and criticized for its exceptionally “leftist” politics) in the fucking nation, feel compelled to write this letter.

And if you’re a woman, I’m not only pissed; I’m despondent. Your negligence breaks my fucking heart. How do you function under the conviction that you’re not as socially, politically, and economically valuable as a man? Again, I’m not dramatic; I’m incensed that you enjoy the civil rights recently afforded to our sex and, yet, turn your back on the principles they defend. Don’t you realize that, if it weren’t for feminism, you wouldn’t be in college at all?

I don’t hate or consider myself fundamentally superior to (all) men. I (occasionally) wear a bra. And I’m a feminist because I don’t believe that my vagina makes me naturally subordinate to my penis-possessing intimates. I’m a feminist because I know that having a badass career and being a badass mom aren’t mutually exclusive prospects. I’m a feminist because I feel equally empowered to talk about my sex life as candidly and immodestly as any guy. I’m a feminist because — and, please, correct me if you think this one’s totally whack — I’m bothered that the state in which I study has one of the worst gender wage gaps in the country. I’m a feminist because I would hate to be civically impotent, and I’m a feminist because, if I have a daughter, I urgently hope to raise her among men and women who will never attack, cripple, or isolate her by reason of her sex. 

I’m a feminist, and I expect with careful optimism that, after reading this letter, some of you will realize that you are, too. 

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