I’ll admit it: I can be a rather un-likeable person. At least, that’s what some of my peers have told me. Since “un-likeable” is such an ambiguous term, I’ve pressed some of these aforementioned peers to clarify what exactly about me they don’t like (simply to satisfy my own morbid curiosity). The answers usually go something like this: “You’re too opinionated.” “You’re too loud.” “You talk too much.” “You’re too aggressive in your beliefs.”
Essentially, what my peers are telling me is that being a woman, and daring to have an opinion, and *gasp* sharing that opinion, makes me unlikeable. This speaks to a troubling trend in society: when women share their opinions, or express their anger at something that should make them angry (racism, sexism, harassment, etc) they are labeled as “bitches”, or other derogatory terms. On the other hand, men who share their opinions publicly are often lauded for speaking out or having the courage to share their beliefs. See the double standard here?
Furthermore, the fact that being a feminist makes me inherently unlikeable worries me. Feminism is such an integral part of who I am, and to have that be inherently unlikeable upsets me. I want people to understand the movement, and adopt it as part of their lives too. I want it to be inclusive and intersectional. I think the problem is that, because I believe so deeply in the movement, and I care so intensely about it, is that it colors everything I say. I truly have changed since becoming aware of social issues and feminism. I know more about the world now, and have changed my dialogue and everyday manner to fit this new awareness. Some people might have a problem with this change, because I’m no longer a timid little girl, afraid to share her opinion. Feminism has given me a voice. It’s given me a megaphone to share the things I have always believed in, but have never had a unifying name for.
Truthfully, I used to care what people thought of me. I still do, to some extent (I don’t want to unnecessarily offend or hurt someone), but since becoming a feminist and educating myself (becoming #woke, as many like to say) I have realized that being unlikeable means I have a voice. It means I’m voicing my opinion. I’m standing up and being counted. I am never going to sit back down, now that I’ve found my voice. So, call me unlikeable. I don’t see it as an insult- to me, it’s a compliment. I’m daring to speak out. And that’s pretty awesome.