It’s Okay to be an Exhausted Feminist
By Hilda Berg
Let’s face it— it can be overwhelming to preach about feminism. It shouldn’t be, but it often is. It’s not like there is an influx of positivity regarding women’s rights and, speaking from my own experience, you often get tons of backlash from peers for simply standing up for equality. It can be isolating and mentally tough. Now, that doesn’t mean we should stop fighting, but it is absolutely essential to provide safe spaces for understanding of the activism experience, in order for us all not to just burn out.
As someone who has diligently promoted feminism since elementary school, I can empathize with women who dare to speak up about the tough reality of it. And I can also share what’s kept me going for all these years (apart from the burning anger I feel whenever the patriarchy makes an appearance). Of course, every experience and every fight is unique in its own ways, but I’d like to share some tips and tricks that I believe can be applied almost universally to the arduous moments of being a feminist:
Remember why you’re doing it
It’s cheesy, it’s a classic, it’s been said before – but for a reason. Remember that you’re not just doing this for yourself, you’re doing it for the millions of girls out there who have suffered inhumane treatment because they are a girl. You’re doing it so that it doesn’t take another century for adults to shut up about that boy hitting you just because he likes you. When you stand up for the rights of half of the population, you are part of something greater than yourself, and that can be a heck of a motivation to keep going.
Respect those who came before you
Modern-day feminists aren’t the only ones who have struggled. For so long, women have died so that you and I can learn to read, write and speak up for ourselves, just like the boys can. Whenever you feel exhausted watching the news and seeing yet another women’s rights setback, remember that. You are part of a movement stretching over centuries, the burden isn’t all on you.
In the words of Dory (from Finding Nemo), “Just keep swimming.”
You don’t have to this all by yourself
You are not alone. There are hundreds of millions of us. If you need to take a break, do it. Then come back and fight like your life depends on it, because it might.
Lastly, I’d just like to say that (warning: incoming cliché), don’t forget to actually have fun. Even though we have unfortunately experienced some recent setbacks, going out into your community and taking a stance, whatever that looks like, is bound to give you a thrill. It’s okay to be an exhausted feminist, but also remember that the people you meet, the conversations you have, and the fights you take up, can make it a blast.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! I’m Hilda and I am a High School junior from Sweden. I also work as the ambassador manager for WIP and love to write, debate and develop projects, which is why I joined this organization. I hope to soon release my first book and continue writing about important matters!