Why I Became an Intersectional Feminist

His advances worsened with every second. It started out with a catcall and ended in the street. He began by telling her that she looked too sexy to be walking around alone. Following her, he began asking questions about where she lived and where she’d come from. He was begging her for her phone number. She denied every advance. I knew because I wasn’t far behind. It was almost 4 a.m. when he grabbed her arm. He asked her why she was dressed in such a way if she didn’t want the attention. It felt so surreal. He took her down with one touch. He made it seem so simple. I couldn’t watch it happen. Absentmindedly, I came towards him, pushing him off of her, grabbing the poor, helpless girl and telling her to come with me. The officer wasn’t far away. Why didn’t he hear her cry for help? Why didn’t he step in? I wasn’t a hero. I was just a decent person with enough sense to know wrong from right.  

If I hadn’t stepped in on this day, no one would have. Not because others wanted to watch it happen, but because they simply just didn’t know what to do. That’s what scared me. From this point on, I made it my duty to become an intersectional feminist. I wouldn’t just be an advocate for violence against women, but for equal rights as a whole. It is the year 2016 and there are still so many things that need change. Women still have not earned their rights to equal pay, hate crimes are still being made against people of the LGBTQIA+ community and for heaven’s sake, a monster is trying to make his way into the White House.

Before I had this experience, I was so blind to what was happening in the world around me. I never thought anything of unequal pay, unfair marriage rights or any other type of oppression. I realized that these things were not opinions on what I think a person deserves. These things were literally misogynistic, homophobic facts and if I could change just one person’s mind about these things, I had done my job as an intersectional feminist. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I just want people to understand the importance of consent, discrimination, the correct use of gender pronouns and the like.

People often ask why subjects such as these hold so much importance to me. The question is almost confusing because I get so tied up in my own beliefs that I begin to assume everyone would want to live in a world where we are all seen as equal regardless of gender, race, sexuality, class or anything else that society has decided was “beyond the norm.” Education is key. Not everyone means to come off as a problematic imbecile. Some people just don’t understand. We must train ourselves to understand that it is okay to agree to disagree because all we ask for is acceptance. All we ask is that you end the received “like a girl” idea. All we ask is that you refrain from undermining the experiences people of color face simply for being a person of color. All we ask is that you keep quiet about that “girl” that walked into the men’s restroom. All we ask for is equality. Is that too much?

If I hadn’t had this experience, I don’t know when I would have opened my eyes. Something hit me like a brick and I’m glad that it did. While this planet is far from world peace, it is not damaged beyond repair. I don’t want to change the world. I want to change minds. I don’t want to be a superhero. I want to be a fighter. I don’t want to be a bystander. I want to be an intersectional feminist.