Because sex is only counted as sex if the man gets off with no consideration for whether the woman does.

Because men think (pretend?) it is a compliment to comment on my appearance as I walk down the street, as I order food, as I do my job. Because it doesn’t matter who I am or what I accomplish, but only how I look. And every time it happens, I feel so angry that I freeze and then feel so guilty for not standing up for myself.

Because the man who sexually assaulted me years ago continually sends me friend requests on Facebook. But more importantly, because my best friend found me and pushed him off of me just in time. We are strong when we stand together. But I didn’t even think about pressing charges.

Because I know that I am powerful and intelligent and innovative and dedicated. Because Aletta Jacobs, Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Betty Friedan, Maya Angelou, Laci Green, Jade Beall, and Jessica Valenti. But when I was little, all I wanted was to be beautiful, and all my power came only through the number of boys who were interested in me. And even when I started to realize that the game is rigged, I didn’t want to call myself a feminist because feminism was a dirty word.

Because now, I do not wish to be beautiful but to be respected. I have embraced my feminism with the recognition that despite what they might say, we are not there yet!

girl in the hat

image courtesy Devil Doll image courtesy Devil Doll

Because my mother was a painter and a beauty when artists had patrons and a woman like that needed a man to take care of her, so she married a money man.

Because my mother’s mother was a beauty and her mother was, too, and that’s what people said: “She was a beautiful woman,” as if that was the only remarkable thing.

Because I was born in 1966, the year Betty Friedan and others started the National Organization of Women and challenged an industry which required flight attendants to quit if they got married, pregnant, or reached the age of 32.

Because when my mother had me, she stopped painting and started cleaning house and throwing dinner parties and smoking too many cigarettes and crying in the mirror.

Because my mother never told me that I looked pretty because she did not want me to grow…

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