Letters: Regarding ‘I am not a Feminist’

I actually did write a response to the feminism article. I never sent it in, but after reading the grossly insensitive recent article about the lack of formal response to the article, I couldn’t stay silent on this issue. I hope that this letter inspires some empathy and understanding towards both feminists and women as a whole.
The first reason why I stayed silent, and something that must be understood, is that feminism is incredibly important. It’s not an issue that can be held at arm’s length or that I can casually pop out an opinion piece on, because gender discrimination is something that I, as a woman, encounter every day and will grapple with my whole life. Feminism is a movement of validation and respect towards women. When it’s challenged and attacked as incorrectly as it was, it’s a personal attack on my own validity as a person and as a feminist. It was incredibly difficult to defend a movement that I’ve closely identified with for my entire life. This was especially hard when a grossly uninformed, angrily anti-feminist voice was the only one represented in the newspaper. After reading the article, I felt like being anti-feminist was normal and I was in the wrong for wanting equal rights for women.
I was also convinced that my response had to be completely bulletproof and perfect in order to be valid. Feminists (and any women that voice their opinion) are scrutinized and attacked if the information they present is in any way unpolished. I had to be perfect to be right, and I had to completely summarize feminism and correct the original article’s hundred misunderstandings in under 250 words, which was an incredible challenge.
Lastly, I was afraid of the social and personal ramifications of publishing my opinion so publicly. As the article illustrates, there’s a lot of unearned and unfounded stigma against feminism that incorporates unrecognized misogyny. By staying silent, I was protecting myself from the violent confrontation and the threats that I’ve seen leveled at feminists. I was legitimately afraid that I would be judged, ostracized, harassed, or attacked because that’s what happens to women that speak their minds, especially on women’s issues. It seemed that there would be whole groups of people just waiting to mess me up, because the article gave the impression that I was alone, and that anti-feminism is common and accepted.
This last fear gets to the heart of the issue. Women are expected to be so accommodating that we are afraid to publicly voice our opinions out of fear of ostracization or attack, even when an inflammatory anti-feminist article is published in our school paper. This is why you should be a feminist: fear rules women’s lives. We are silenced, and pushed to the side. This will not be bulldozed or ignored no matter how many statistics you make up or how much you refuse to empathize and understand.
The Newspacer’s botched handling of this article was disheartening, and this whole debacle made me lose respect for it as a publication. The school paper represents the climate and the culture of Lakeridge, and to see a whole group of people misunderstood, blatantly disrespected, shamed, and silenced gives the impression that feminism is somehow wrong, and that I am alone. I did not respond to that article because I felt that there was no room for me or my opinions in this school, and that is sad as heck.


Lucy Adams

LHS Student