I am one of the most passionate feminists in my community. I will discuss issues at length with anyone who engages in debate with me. I spend hours writing this blog, reading my heavily feminist twitter feed, scrolling through Tumblr, and reading other feminist blogs. But sometimes people’s ignorance really gets to me.
I spend so. much. damn. time. explaining the same concept to people. Despite the numerous times I have tried to get my family to understand why they can no longer refer to Caitlin Jenner as Bruce Jenner (her pre-transition name), they continue to make jokes about her, referring to the reality TV star as a him, or making fun of her work advocating for transgender youth. It’s disheartening for me, when I can so clearly see that what they are doing is wrong, to see that my careful explaining and emailing of informative links is doing nothing.
Another example, this time an occasion where I came very close to losing my temper, was on a train with a friend. He repeatedly insisted that we don’t need feminism, and we should just call it equality. Not only that, but he shared his thoughts on how feminism is so annoying, and feminists are so loud and abrasive. I wanted to scream. I am loud because the opinions of feminism (that I am voicing) need to be heard! People like you need to read and educate yourselves! Keep in mind this guy is a white, cis, straight male. He is the epitome of privilege. This complete ignorance of numerous social issues just made me want to pull my hair out.
I don’t mean to make this all about me. Feminists everywhere have to deal with people misunderstanding the movement, making fun of them, shutting their beliefs down, and otherwise discrediting feminism. No one can possible correct every ignorant human being, no matter how much I desperately want to. That’s really hard for me to accept- I want to fight every fight. I want to debate with people for hours (and hours), and I do, but sometimes I just get exhausted. I have cried during debates with my family, not because they are personally attacking me (though sometimes they are), but because I am so sick of hearing the horribly ignorant things they say, like Donald Trump has good views on immigrants, or All Lives Matter (AAARRRGGHHHHH I hate even writing that phrase), or when they bring up black on black crime (which isn’t a thing). I consider myself well-educated (I’m entering my junior year of high school), but I have been reduced to stomping my feet and screaming in frustration when I cannot get through to someone (not in front of them though. In private.)
Even though I desperately want to right every social wrong, I physically can’t. I don’t have the emotional energy to correct every person who makes a rude, ignorant statement. As a feminist, I have to accept that I cannot single-handedly change every person’s views, no matter how much I want to. It’s really disheartening. But at the same time, if I can get even one person to change their views on something, I’ve made a minor improvement. I’ve taken a step forward. And that has to be enough.