"My response to the “I am not a feminist” internet phenomenon….
First of all, it’s clear you don’t know what feminism is. But I’m not going to explain it to you. You can google it. To quote an old friend, “I’m not the feminist babysitter.”
But here is what I think you should know.
You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.
You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis center, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.
You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).
You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (It is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.
In short, you know not what you speak of. You reap the rewards of these women’s sacrifices every day of your life. When you grin with your cutsey sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.
In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks.”"
I am very thankful I put on a black t-shirt.
That is all I can think, because I am standing behind the door that leads to the altar and I realize that the color of my t-shirt is very, very important. I am in a church after all, and modesty is next to Godliness (or something like that).
I think I’m supposed to pray for peace, but all I can think about is last Thursday, when I agreed to do this after emailing back and forth with my Pastor. I ran out of excuses as to why I couldn’t. I responded with a yes ten minutes after leaving Jeremiah’s house. He kissed me goodbye. Can 13-year-old girls who have been kissed be baptized? Isn’t there a rule against that?
My heart is pounding my blood through my veins so loudly that I barely hear my name when it is called. I walk quickly up the steps, smile at the audience, and lower myself down into the baptismal.
I can feel my chest tighten. The anxiety that had been building for weeks pours over, and I begin to cry tears of panic, though the congregation sees them as tears of joy. My Pastor gives me the cloth to cover my nose. I don’t want to do this. I wish my Mom were here.
“Tori, I baptize you in the name of the Father…”
My head hits the water. I’m going under. I’m not ready.
God, are you there?
I am submerged in holy water.
I open my eyes to see the other souls lost in this baptismal, waiting for their owners to come retrieve them. I watch as my own escapes my grasp, floating away from me. I desperately reach for it, but I’m being ripped back to the stale air.
“…and the Holy Spirit!”
The congregation goes wild. I flash a giant grin and hug my Pastor, my body still shaking from the nerves. I climb out of the baptismal and race for the exit. I have to get away from this freaking altar; Jesus is staring at me with disapproval from the cross.
I am a liar.
I am clean.
I’m out of the water, but I still can’t breathe."