Trigger warning for sexual violence:
I am a feminist because feminism is the only politics I know that commits itself explicitly to a world without sexual objectification and the personal, cultural, socioeconomic and political violence — mostly, but not only against women — that comes from it;
I am a feminist because it was in feminism that I first found the language to name as abuse what the man who lived on the second floor of my building did to my thirteen-year-old self when he forced his penis into my mouth, pushed my voice back down into my throat and filled me with a silence that made any words I spoke afterwards feel simultaneously untrue and unreal;
I am a feminist because that silence left me voiceless when the second man who presumed that my body was his to do with as he pleased did precisely that;
I am a feminist because, like both those men, I was raised in a culture where men are taught that it is our right sexually to objectify those who are weaker or are perceived as “less than” we are, starting but not ending with women;
I am a feminist because I do not want that right, because I never want to stand on the same side as my abusers;
I am a feminist because, if I am honest with myself, I cannot deny that I am, as a man, always and already on that side, because to be honest with myself is to recognize the changes that “my side” needs to make;
And so, since feminism is the only politics I know that commits itself explicitly to a world without sexual objectification and the personal, cultural, socioeconomic and political violence that comes from it — mostly, but not only against women—I am a feminist.