Why I Need Feminism

Location

A bone shivering day in February,

I stay at a friend's house with a few of my friends. 

My friend's parents happen to have a friend over. 

He's nice enough, and he drinks for hours on end. 

At the early hours of the morning,

I go to the kitchen to get water.

This man follows me into the kitchen

and attempts to do unspeakable things 

to me. 

I am left on the floor crying, until my best friend

of sixteen years comes into the room and 

begins screaming at me

"How could you let someone that old do things to you?!"

she says. 

 

My first day of junior year in high school

I walk into the career center building 

where I will spend the first half of my day

for the rest of the year. 

I am, of course, wearing a brand new dress 

that reaches just above my knees. 

Before I can make my way up the stairs 

along with my two best friends; 

I am stopped by a woman that I do not recognize. 

She says to me, in an obviously annoyed voice 

"Your dress is too short. Do not wear it again." 

Now, most girls would agree and move on, because,

well, that is the proper thing to do. 

I am not a proper sort of girl. I contest this, of course. 

I say to her "Why is your dress code what it is?" 

She replies "Because boys took pictures up girl's skirts last year." 

I spit these following words as though they are venom on my tongue.

"So you punish girl's for the consistent rape culture that boys show?" 

 

Fast forward to thirteen years. 

This is my daughter's first day of kindergarten. 

I receive a phone call from the school,

my first instinct being that she's been hurt. 

In a bittersweet moment, I am told that I am wrong, 

My little girl is being sent home for the day

because she told a little boy to stop touching her

and trying to to move her dress. 

I pick her up, and I am told 

"If she would've just let him, then she could've stayed today." 

 

In another four years, 

My daughter is nine; 

and I receive yet another phone call from the school. 

I am told that my beautiful baby girl needs to be picked up early. 

After a long silence, I ask why. 

The secretary simply says that she would rather I come in

and talk to the principal with the boy's parents, as well.

I arrive at the school, to find that my daughter hit a boy

for pullling her hair and calling her horrible, wretched names

that filled her eyes with tears the moment they were mentioned. 

We stand to leave, when the boy's parents say

"Ah, boys will be boys, right?"

 

Add five more years,

and my baby girl has grown to be fourteen. 

She comes through the front door from her 

walk home from school, her face streaked with tears. 

Alarmed, I ask what's wrong. 

She sobs, "The construction men were calling me names 

and telling me things that they would do to me if the had the chance. 

Why do they do things like that, mom? Is it because boys will be boys

and I should just accept it?" 

 

My daughter is a senior in high school

in just a few short years. 

I am called one day, from the school.

The secretary says I need to bring my 

daughter a different outfit because

her dress is too short for the dress code.

I come to the school, to find my daughter in

a dissolved pool of tears. I give her a hug and

a pair of  jeans and apologize all that I can to her.

 

That's all that I can do, because we live in a society that

cares more about the length of a skirt

than the length of an education

that would prefer that girls are taken out of class

 just to be told that their clothing is distracting 

that would prefer that students learn the number of soliders 

in a war four hundred years ago 

than the number of sexual assault victims in a year.

That perpetuates rape culture 

simply by the things they tell their children. 

Where a shirt that reads "Cool story babe, now make me a sandwich."

Is acceptable by the dress code

but one that shows a shoulder isn't. 

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