When people ask me whether or not I'm a feminist, I no longer hesitate to respond: yes. A couple of years back, I might have had to think over the question in my head. What does it mean to be a feminist? Am I sure I want to label myself despite all of the negative reaction feminists receive from a confused minority? Should I feel a part of a community without knowing the ins and outs of absolutely everything they stand for? Now I'm no longer afraid to label myself. One day we may live in a world where labels have no need to exist, but for now we're living in one where they're necessary in some situations. So yes, I am a feminist and this is why:

I am a feminist because a person's gender, sex and sexuality do and should not determine their social equality.

I am a feminist because I feel all people should be able to live lives true to themselves without fear.

I am a feminist because I prefer conversation to domination. I prefer to debate than to dictate.

I am a feminist because I understand the struggle within the fight for equality.

I am a feminist because of rape culture, misogyny and double standards.

I am a feminist because words such as slut, slag, bitch and whore are primarily used to attack women using their rights to say yes, no and everything in between.

I am a feminist because, as Jane Galvin Lewis said, 'You don't have to be Anti-Man to be Pro-Woman'.

I am a feminist because 'manhood' is a thing created by society which depends on putting other people down to maintain fairytale 'status'.

I am a feminist because women should be able to wear whatever clothes they feel they'd like to wear without being judged, just like a man can.

I am a feminist because women should not be taught that their bodies are something to be ashamed of.

I am a feminist because the UK government still thinks tampons and pads are 'luxury' items.

I am a feminist because nobody is born sexist.

I am a feminist because one in three women across the world are killed due to gender-based violence - the biggest cause of injury and death to women globally which inflicts more death and injury upon females aged between 15 to 44 than traffic accidents, war, cancer and malaria.

I am a feminist because Beyoncé and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie educated me: "We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, 'You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man.' Because I am female I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or for accomplishments which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. FEMINIST: The person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes."

Still wondering why I am a feminist? Because I am a human. It's not about burning bras in street parades or hating every man who comes into your line of sight. It's about equality for all and it's something you should be fighting for, too.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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