To My Lovely Young Feminists, Don’t Apologize For Being Young

To my lovely young feminists, don’t apologize for being young. You are not “just” an intern or however many years old. You are a person. You deserve to take up space.

In many spaces, declaring yourself a feminist can be hard. Working for change is even harder. Overcoming internalized sexism and other forms of oppression is a bitch. For this, you are strong. Remember that strength and take up the space you deserve.

As women, we are taught to doubt ourselves and our worthiness to be at the table. I have seen this play out especially with young feminists — an identity I held for so long, it turned me old.

This is not to say that older people don’t have something valuable to share. For that matter, a younger person could be more seasoned than an older person within feminism specifically, and this isn’t to say that more experienced people — regardless of age — don’t have something valuable to share. Humility toward the experience of others is an asset. Having the wisdom to listen to others rather than shutting your ears before they open their mouths is a form of maturity that will carry you everywhere.

But as that goes, being young is also a lived experience. Yes, older people were young once, but they are not living the life you lead in this current moment. So it’s important for you to speak up and take up space. In fact, it’s critically important for you to take up space at a time when women of reproductive age are treated with such disdain under the law (and, unfortunately, even by some lawmakers who claim to be on our side but are willing to compromise on our bodies and our humanity in order to win elections or achieve other policy goals).

Don’t apologize for sitting at the table, minimize your opinion, or disclaimer your thoughts with your lack of experience. Clear your throat and say your piece. If you are afraid to do it, hate on the gendered nature of imposter syndrome — and then speak up.

 

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Comments

  1. Paula Carleton Evans says:

    Hi Erin,

    How are you?

    I’m the pink flag designer: remember helping me to donate it to NOW? I bumped into Gloria Steinem one day on the sidewalk and she loved it, btw.

    I just want to ask your private, confidential opinion of NOW. Or rather, could you kindly explain what their problem is? They should be the most prominent voice for women (duh) in our country (at least) and instead they seem useless, to the point of being pointless. Please, really, help me understand. I grew up with such admiration for the organization as well as hopes for its influence that the irrelevance stings. Especially lately, if you know what I mean!

    I think your posts are wonderful and wish you all manner of well-being!

    Paula

    iPhone ergo typo

    >

  2. Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

  3. Love this post! 🙂

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