I have gone on a couple of dates with a couple of guys and they all ended badly. They begin with, “girl you are beautiful and smart.” And end in, “you are a feminist. Young lady, you are a feminist.”

They say it like it is a complement or curse. Like this thoughtfully,  articulated word has elevated me, or belittled me, from a place or naivety or pride, to a lady who knew what she wanted and was willing to take it by force. Or a lady who was biting more than she could chew and must be shown her place. Sometimes it sounds like exaltation, placing me above other women, who have done nothing less than obey the rules of patriarchy like they were not meant to be broken. It also sounds like praise, except that it is not. Because this is 2020, and the most hated word in the English dictionary is feminist not pandemic. This is not to say that I care about the glories or hate that come with the title, but do not call me a feminist. 

First, I think labels are cringe-worthy. I will not let you fold me into a box because I stand by fairness. And if this title were to be a trophy actually, then I have done nothing to deserve it. All I have ever done and wanted is to be treating equally, like there is nothing wrong with my gender, because there is nothing wrong with my gender. All I say is simple: away from reproduction, gender is nothing. Gender means nothing. 

Again, I like you to examine your truest intentions for which you call me a feminist. You call me a feminist because you are comfortable with pretense. You like to pretend everything is alright. Like you have not made this world a man’s world. You pretend secretary is a woman’s position, until it is time to select the secretary of a state. You say teaching is mostly for women, until it is time to appoint a principal. You pretend you have not noticed, that the higher you go, the lesser women there are. You act like intelligence and hard work are tied to the genitals. Like you have not made positions of power unattainable for women. 

You call me a feminist because you think my anger is inadequate. Better put, you think I do not even have the right to be angry. You think I am an extremist, because you have forgotten that for every action there is a reaction. You seem to have forgotten that every course has an effect. Well, it will cost me nothing to remind you that all actions have consequences, and women’s outburst, the collective rage that shocks you, is a product of all the years of oppression, and abuse, and subjugation, and tyranny. You are a tyrant. I am an extremist because you have ruled this world extremely. 

I do not wish to be a terrorist, but inside my heart, you left a bomb ticking. So here are the fruits of your labor. It is a bountiful harvest. Do not call me a feminist. When you do, you get a little smaller, and all I see are your fear and shock that women are moving away from the roles assigned to them, in the manifestos handed over to you by your fathers. It was supposed to be a man’s world, was it not? Do not call me a feminist. I am only unapologetic about living in a world that is rightfully mine.

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