I am proud to be a feminist, and I have been as outspoken as I can be on certain matters regarding the need for feminism. I truly believe that we are groomed as adolescents to think that the word “feminism” is antiquated. Why demand women’s rights, when we aren’t really all that oppressed?
The fact that women are paid less than men in this country aside, and the fact that women are still given degrading labels such as “whores” and “sluts,” oh, and the fact that 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime….
Where was I even going with this? Oh, yes. ALL of these factors and many more aside, we do not face certain hardships in this country that other women do. For those women who claim they are not feminists, since they, themselves, have never “felt oppressed,” I want you to take a moment to realize that the world exists outside of you. What about the women in other countries who need feminism?
Women around the world are not just oppressed, but often killed or sold — simply for being born women. As we learned after hearing Malala’s Story, something as normal to us as pursuing an education can have tragic, nightmarish results. Girls as young as nine or ten in India are married off once they begin menstruating, as they are seen as a burden to their families.
“Women are considered sick, impure and even untouchable when they're having their period.”
While you moan and groan the morning your period arrives, opening your gorgeous Kali Box and cleaning up any mess, please know that what you are doing is seen as a complete and total luxury to so many women across the globe. While you roll your eyes at the thought of being a “feminist,” please know that a young girl somewhere else in the world has to use twigs and leaves as pads, since she does not have access to sanitary napkins.
There are women in Japan who are unable to hold certain jobs, as they are seen as “unstable” during their cycles. Young girls in Iran are taught to believe that their cycles are a “disease,” and the women in Bolivia are so humiliated by their periods, they are told to keep their pads unseen at all times, unable to even throw out their used napkins in the trash.
Here, in our own free country, homeless women aren’t even able to properly clean themselves, let alone afford tampons or pads. Those are not items that get donated often enough.
If you still think that hiding your tampon up your sleeve when you go to the bathroom is “no big deal,” I urge you to please consider the rest of the women of this world. Know that by continuing to allow this type of oppression — whether you view it as that or not — only further perpetuates the absolutely terrible stigmas around the world.
We need to be educating women of all ages and in all countries about their cycles. We need to be making sure that women have access to sanitary napkins so they can go to school and work. We need to be doing everything we can to lose this stigma, not just in our own country, but around the world, as well. It might not seem like we can do much on our own, but together we can form a revolution that can change the lives of millions and millions of women.
The next time you shrug off feminism and think it doesn’t apply to you, please remember that there is an entire world out there and that your sisters need your help.