I was fifteen when I first learned what feminism really was, and subsequently declared myself an advocate for it. My understanding and perception of the movement has grown and evolved since then, as any belief should, but one thing that holds true is that this is one of my core, fundamental beliefs. This is not a passing phase due to my young age and naivete. This isn’t a poor judgment call that I still haven’t grown out of. This is something that I earnestly attempt to defend and demonstrate in each of my endeavors. In the least cliche, movie-esque whiny emo kid way… this isn’t a phase. It’s who I really am.
However, many beg to differ. People view me as too young to genuinely understand anything about the world and its inner workings. I’m judged as somebody who doesn’t have the experience to have any say about life at large. But I feel like that only strengthens my case. I have not yet allowed myself to be jaded and thrown by how cruel the world can be. I still have the drive to not allow myself to be defeated, to not let the world beat me down. With my youth comes the desire to reform the society I inhabit. I know exactly what I believe to be right, just, and true, and I apply that in my methods of reformation. This is a courage and determination that often times withers with age. But I am still young enough to possess such passion, yet old enough to understand what I must do with it. In the words of civil rights leader John Lewis, as well as on behalf of my generation that I have seen to harbor the same burning desire to simply make the world better… “if not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
To my fellow young feminists, please allow me to offer a word of advice. Those who are against and older than us will try to break us. They will use our youth as a reason to discredit us. They will refuse to take us seriously until we have grayed and lost our passion. But I beg of you, do not ever let this passion for justice die. Do not let the world change you. Instead, change it. And to those who don’t believe we can — just watch us.