Recently a friend and I had the "when did you become a feminist?" discussion. For many feminists I have spoken with, if they were not raised with the idea of feminism in their family there usually was an "aha" moment of putting together the pieces of all the injustices and inequalities around them and that eventually (or sometimes immediately) evolved into feminism.
Here's my story: Like every high schooler all over the United States of America I had body image issues of not being pretty enough/ thin enough/ cool enough, etc. I thought I was alone in these thoughts, that I was the only person in my high school who was struggling with these insecurities. Then, my senior year my college credit English teacher introduced me to Jean Kilbourne and her book Can't Buy My Love. Suddenly I realized that not only was I not alone in thinking I was not a good enough person because I didn't fit the beauty standards shown in my Seventeen magazine, but in fact advertisers were actually trying to make me have lower self-esteem so that I would buy their products to make myself more "adequate" to society. This was a revolution in my mind. During this time I also discovered The Vagina Monologues and the V-day campaign. I knew that as soon as I got to college I had to find a safe place to express my views and help me grow in my feminism.
Enter: the Women's Center. This was a place where I truly grew in my college career. I had the opportunity to be in and co-direct the Vagina Monologues, hear internationally renowned advocates speak on women's rights, march with Take Back the Night, have conversations with other people interested in human rights in all capacities, etc etc etc. It was truly a growing experience for me.
I now dedicate my life to working toward human rights for all people, especially women and girls. Feminism has made something positive and wonderful out of the negativity that society throws at us because of greed- and this is why I am a feminist.