Tell us about a time when your expectations and outcomes differed. How did you grow from this experience?
My confidence is always tested within the first few seconds of revealing that I’m a feminist. Misconceptions of feminism usually surface to repudiate the validity of my stance, and since feminism isn’t a common attribute within my age group, I always felt apprehensive to vocalize my beliefs. Today, I use my cognizance to confidently discredit these statements by asserting feminism is the belief in social, political, and economic equality between the sexes. My growth as a person was caused by an unexpected outcome where I failed to stand up for my beliefs; instead of being haunted by the memory, I took the opportunity to move forward.
One day, towards the end of sophomore year, I was in the middle of lunch when one of my friends tapped me and asked, “What is Meninism?” I turned to find a group of boys, all wearing matching shirts with this phrase. All at once, feelings washed over me battling to take over. When I made the decision to openly support feminism my extended family bludgeoned me with questions and belittled my answers, I soon gave up and nodded to what they were saying. At this moment, I felt I was being attacked all over again, and I couldn’t take the back seat any longer. I stormed off to the guidance office, planning to fight misogyny by banning those shirts.
Still mulling over about the lunch debacle, I entered my history class and prepared for our Friday current event discussion. I instigated the conversation about school dress code and vociferously defended my stance against incoming arguments. Recalling my experience from lunch, a mere hour ago, I lamented about the Meninist agenda to ridicule feminism. I began to argue that dress codes are unfair towards girls, as they are being sent home for showing too much leg or cleavage, but males are allowed to make personal attacks by denigrating women through their attire. But, as soon I began to articulate my thoughts, the room grew loud and things were yelled out, such as such as ‘they were just wearing a shirt’ and ‘it is a joke’. I was unprepared to face such vilification, my argument started to die off and I stumbled for words. I could not process what had just occurred.
That day I skipped the appointment that could have ended misogynistic apparel at my school, I had lost my confidence in fear of being ridiculed for my beliefs. Until then, I had never advocated for an issue that seemed taboo like feminism, and the experience was an eye-opener that made me grow as a person. By defending feminism, I realized I will always receive backlash, but it is what I do about it that matters. The experience gave me a goal to educate others and stand up for my beliefs. I started to attend feminist events and speeches and became a person filled with more bravery and confidence. With my confidence and bravery boosted, I am now able to stand by my beliefs.