I don’t want to be a feminist anymore.

I don’t want to be a feminist anymore. Like a five-year-old, I want to close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears, stomp my feet on the floor and scream “No! No, you cannot make me, I won’t, leave me alone!”  I am, simply put, too tired. So very, very tired.

I am tired of fighting with my friends. I am tired of arguing that someone groping and slapping my butt isn’t “what I have to expect”, just because I’m at a bar, and the one attacking my butt has a drink in the other hand. I am tired of hearing “boys will be boys” and “when you’re dressed like that …” and “that’s just what guys do”. I am tired of trying to drown those sentiments in loud, repetitive no’s, screamed over and over again,  till my throat is sore and my voice weak – just to hear them repeated, as soon as exhaustion threatens to silence me.

I am tired of being afraid. I am tired of seeing someone writing something offensive, sexist, racist, ageist, ableist, somewhere online. I am tired of seeing those writings getting likes and lol’s, and SO TRUE’s.  I am tired of being consumed by confusion and anger, typing, typing, typing and typing a seemingly endless response, including research, links and statistics, and then hesitate clicking “submit”. I am tired of knowing that I hesitate because I am afraid of the flood of responses that will come. I am tired of knowing that I will be bombarded with lighten up’s, stop whining’s and get a sense of humor’s for so long, that I will start to wonder if I am indeed wound up too tight, a nagger and humorless. I am tired of the fact that I’m afraid of being called a cunt, even though I don’t find genitalia insulting or demeaning.

I am tired of being told. I am tired of being told that “a key that unlocks many locks is a good key, but that a lock that can be unlocked by many keys is a bad lock”. I am tired of the fact that nobody who says this has ever been able to tell me what it is that needs to be locked up. I am tired of being told “your boobs are awesome, you should show them of “. I am tired of being told that “that looks a little slutty”. I am tired of being told that I shouldn’t be a prude, but I shouldn’t be slutty. I am tired of that nobody seems to be able to explain how to do so. I am tired of being told that I can just say no, and I am tired of being told “come on, you know you want to”.
I am tired of being told “But we HAVE equality!”

I am tired of being asked. I am tired of being asked if I’m a lesbian or if I was raped. I am tired of being asked if daddy didn’t treat me right. If I was in an abusive relationship. If I was beaten. If I grew up with a single mother. If I don’t like sex. I am sick and tired of being asked “But, why are you a feminist, then?” I am tired of being asked why I wear make-up. Why I wear a bra. Why I wear skirts and dresses. Why I flirt with men. Why I shave my legs. I am tired of asking “why do you ask me this?” and hearing the answer “because real feminists are against those things, aren’t they?”

Most of all, I am tired of knowing. Knowing that my eyes have been opened, and that what has been seen cannot be unseen. I am tired of knowing it, when I see something that is wrong. I am tired of knowing that only speaking out can change it. I am tired of knowing exactly how hard and scary it can be to do so.  I am tired of knowing that if I am not careful, the fight will eat up my hope and strength, and leave me only with bitterness. I am tired of knowing that I can never turn back to not knowing. I am tired of knowing that despite my fears and exhaustion, I am a feminist.

No, I don’t want to be a feminist anymore – today.
Tomorrow? Tomorrow I think I’ll try again.

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/sapadu/ Jacqueline Hentzen

    Yeah… I actually had that reaction after my first post on this site (The result was a very nasty argument with a fellow blogger here. I was not a happy camper.)

    So, take a break. Hell, take your life off. One of the most powerful things you can do as a feminist is say ‘Fuck all labels’ (And, to be honest, being a feminist is a label. It can suck at times.) So, to use the T.I. song: Live your life. If someone asks you any questions like ‘Why do you blah blah blah?’ or says ‘You look like a slut/You’re being such a prude’ or the like… who cares? It’s not your problem what they think. Take some time for yourself, grow to be comfortable with yourself as a person, and, if you ever feel up to it, you can come back into the game with a proverbial bulletproof shield.

    Hope that helps, and hope you feel better.

  • http://feministing.com/members/hanalei/ hanalei

    I, too, have felt this. But I, too, have higher standards for this world. See you tomorrow.

  • http://feministing.com/members/sdbmania/ Scott

    Too often we define ourselves and others with labels. I blogged about this a few months ago. In part, this is part of the way our brains remember and organize information. We base our initial judgements on what we know or believe about labels.

    The downside of this process is that you can’t define a person on labels alone. In fact, often labels are incorrect or misused. I was bullied for many years when I was a kid and one of the labels I heard over and over again was “Nerd.” I really didn’t know what a Nerd was when I was a kid.

    Even though I try to stray from labeling myself, I still do it from time to time. I have to remind myself that I am more than a label, that there are so many things that represent who I am. These days, I can say I know who I am and I like being me. I’m not going to let other people define me for me, if that makes sense. :)

  • honeybee

    Great post. Know exactly how you feel.

    It’s important to remember that your personal happiness and mental health are more important then anything else. If full fledged feminism is making you tired and upset and angry to the point that you can’t enjoy life and are simply constantly frustrated – you should in fact take a break.

    I was once vehement about feminism but have backed off bigtime b/c I finally realized it was literally bad for my health. I wasn’t happy at all. I didn’t enjoy life. I didn’t wake up excited or optimistic ever really. It just led to extreme depression really.

    Ever since I realized that while we must always keep on fighting we have to also take care of ourselves and recognize that the fight won’t be won in a day – that pretty much all of these issues will in fact still be here 50 years from now – that life is still great despite all the bad stuff – I’ve been SO MUCH HAPPIER.

    I still follow feminism and try to promote it when I can. But I don’t obsess about it. I accept that the world isn’t perfect and while I try to change it, I rarely get frustrated that I nor anyone can actually do so. In short, I now live my life for me, and try to find happiness in my friends, my family, my work, etc. and simply do my best to avoid the bad and stick with the good.

    It has changed my life. Life is worth living again. Life is good again. And it made me realize that although there are alot of problems in the world – there’s also alot of really great stuff in the world. And that I’m lucky to live in North America where my problems pale compared to others.

    Despite it’s issues life can still be great. You can be happy.

    So take a break now and then. Let go. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Watch some anti-feminist tv or simply block out the world for a while sometimes. You’d be amazed at how much happier you’ll be.

    And you’ll be amazed how much easier it is to fight the fight, when it truly matters, if you do this.

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    Yeah, it can be exhausting. But I have to say, I notice in reading your post that a lot of the things you’re tired of are things others are saying or doing (slapping your butt, saying “boys will be boys”, saying you look a “little slutty”, etc.) Being tired of all this is the reason a lot of women become interested in feminism in the first place. So I have to wonder, will not being feminist make the people who do and think those other things stop? Not likely, though they may want to convince us otherwise (see the old “asking for it/brought it on yourself” type arguments.)

    The thing is, like a lot of others are saying, taking a break is good. Also, not everything has to be about feminism! I enjoy a lot of stuff that, while not necessarily anti-feminist, isn’t specifically tackling the gender issues of the world either. Maybe it’s a good time to pamper yourself a bit, relax, pour your favorite drink and take in some light entertainment.

    Also with others, sometimes it helps if you can figure out where they’re coming from too. Like someone who asks questions about if you’re feminist why do you wear makeup or whatever—maybe they really never learned much about it and genuinely want to know, or maybe they’re just looking to bust your chops. When you get a sense of who’s not willing to listen or respect you, and who maybe just doesn’t know, you have a little better sense of who’s worth spending your time and energy with overall.

  • anyadnight

    I’m so happy someone posted this. The best part of feminism is realizing I’m not the lone woman in any position.

    I feel like this. I’m so tired of people not understanding rape culture and sexism and privilege and racism and all those systems. I’m tired of being the educator and I’m sometimes a bit tired of being educated. I’m tired because the more I tell my boyfriend the more he’ll have to live with the same exhaustion, resentment, and distress that I live with as a feminist.

    As another said, see you tomorrow.

  • http://feministing.com/members/tashabunny/ natasha

    Yes, it can be so very disheartening. I especially hate the abused women and lesbian tropes. My biological father abused me growing up, and I hate having to defend my identity as a feminist because of it.

  • http://feministing.com/members/winnikln/ Leah

    Thank you for sharing how you feel. It is wonderful that you are so passionate, so caring, and so brave. Its okay to not always be passionate, caring, and brave. This evolution towards equality will take a long time. Showing yourself love, patience, and compassion is radical too.

  • http://feministing.com/members/prettyinpaisley/ Jennifer

    Great post. I agree with the other commenters.

    Yes, Feminism can be SO heavy at times.

    You’re not alone. I’ve been there: the more I learned the more miserable I became. I was losing my friends; arguing with my own mother, and I even started seeing a psychologist because I was frustrated with trying to change so much about the world.

    It’s important to maintain your values – the world needs feminists like you. It’s also important to realize that your values (even if they directly conflict with other peoples’ values) are not the only values that “do good”.

    I never thought I’d suggest to choose your battles. As cliche as it may be, it’s really helped me focus my attention on the few feminist issues I was most passionate about. Also, I find small things that I can actually change that add up to changing the system as a whole.

    Stay true to your values & keep learning. Don’t give up.

  • nikkole318

    Ugh, I know exactly how you feel. Once I became an outspoken feminist, I was shocked by the number of people who believe those types of anti-women tropes. It was hard for me at first, but eventually I decided to seek out people who are like-minded. I joined Google+ and did a search on feminism and added those who are feminists to my circles. I hand-picked the people in my circles carefully so I have a place to go after reading all of the sexist, racist, and ignorant garbage people post on facebook.

    And seriously, I am SOOOO sick of hearing that dumb lock and key analogy for a woman’s vagina. I came up with one of my own: Would you rather go to a pizza shop frequented often by locals or one that hasn’t had a patron in days and is going out of business? See, you can use any analogy for a woman’s vagina. Misogynistic people are going to repeat misogynistic ones.

  • http://feministing.com/members/janeo/ JaneO

    Oh yes, I identify with this. When I first managed to put my own experience into context, I went into battle. Then I was tired, because it seemed that no matter what I said or did nothing was going to change. BUT, it will change. The feminist blogosphere is beginning to break through to the mainstream and by sheer force of will we will get there. It is tiring, and we all need a break from time to time, but luckily there are now enough of us to carry on the fight. We can do this in stages and support each other when it gets tough and people need a rest. So take your rest, regroup your defences and we will carry it for you for now. You will come back, because you can’t unknow what you know. Just know that the rest of us are there as well. Peace.

  • http://feministing.com/members/colegr01/ Grace

    I could have written this myself, word for word. Don’t we all feel this way at times? Thank you for this post

  • http://feministing.com/members/alwaysalready/ Suzy

    I am tired of it too. Most of all, I am tired of arguing with men about what it’s like to be a woman.

  • http://feministing.com/members/veronicacharl10/ Veronica

    I love this post. I feel exactly the same way myself. I agree with every word. I am so tired of it all. I’m tired of being the one who has read the books, done the research, knows the statistics and is aware of the situation, but always being told that I “Don’t know what I’m talking about” or that I “just feel that way because I’m a woman.” It’s depressing, exhausting, painful.

    But yet, I get up every day, still a feminist. Because if I give up, all of that really will swallow me up. Tomorrow is going to be a good day. :)

  • oly

    how to be a feminist in a feminist community.thank you for that.thought I was alone.i’m probably sitting right next to you somewhere.just an old hippy who tries to bring support with guidelines not rules.hate those damn rules.allergic to them