It all started with a book.
I happened to have checked a book called Feminism: Opposing Viewpionts out from the library. Then I made the mistake of putting the book down on my desk while I was in science class. And thus began an all-out war.
First the classmate who was sitting across from me picked up the book, took a look, and said, “Feminism? Why do we need feminism? It’s useless. Women can wear pants and vote now. That’s enough for me.” She then proceeded to flip through the book and point out how stupid it was. Another classmate, a boy sitting next to me, said, “You’re right, we don’t need feminism. Women belong in the kitchen.”
I tried to remain calm. I explained that we still need feminism because women and men still aren’t seen as equal in our society. They shot a few misogynistic slurs my way, the worst of which was feminazi.
The period ended right after that insult was flung, but apparently word got around. Every class I went to, I was greeted by people yelling “FEMINAZI!” Then some genius made up the nickname Adolf Britler, and people started standing up and saying, “Heil Britler!” when I’d walk into the room. I know I should have told a teacher, but to be honest I feel like the adults at my school wouldn’t think I had a strong enough case to charge anyone with bullying.
Instead, I just tried to ignore everything. I tried to ignore it when a friend said that yes, I pretty much was a feminazi, so what was wrong with people calling me one? I tried to ignore it when another friend said that the name Adolf Britler was funny and that I should loosen up. I tried to ignore it when I walked into math class and a bunch of people stood up and yelled, “HEIL BRITLER!” while making a Nazi salute.
But that last incident broke me. I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I had so much anger built up, so many urges I had squelched to throw something and scream and run out of school and never stop running. I shouted, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? STOP IT! I HATE ALL OF YOU!” It wasn’t the best comeback, but I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly. I slid down in my seat and started to cry.
A girl sitting next to me turned around to face the saluters and said, “What’s wrong with you? You made her cry!” They all sat down, murmering softly to one another. Then the girl who had picked up my book in the first place (who also turned out to be the one who made up Adolf Britler) leaned over to me and whispered, “I’m so sorry, Britney.”
Luckily we had a test that day, so no one had to talk for the rest of class.
I’m still glad I checked out that book, though. At least it knows how to talk about feminism in an intelligent way. ♦