Why I’m a Feminist: Brianna Kovan

Yoko Ono, Arise

And they say “everything’s great”—
Everything’s equal.

But how would you respond when another friend sits you down and tells you about her assault, about how she couldn’t find the words to tell anyone, couldn’t find the words to tell herself, how she’s only just now accepting the fact that it happened?

Or what about the lingering comments as I walk down the street?
They follow me, you, us down South University when the clock has long passed 2 a.m.
They follow me while waiting for the subway
They follow you in the form of late-night catcalls walking home from work
They follow us on the Internet – a convoluted world of masks and facades

There’s no one to account for the sexism, the misogyny, the words.
The words that hang there – following me, you, us.

And they say “everything’s great”—
Everything’s equal.

But how would you respond to the women who sees herself as a physical object, who values her appearance more than her brain, who focuses
fixates
obsesses
about her weight instead of grades
instead of work
instead of relationships
instead of her well-being

even though she can rationalize the hell out of feminist theory.
because, believe me, she can.

And they say “everything’s great”—
Everything’s equal.

Where? How?
I have questions, and you don’t have answers.
How do I respond to my friend?
How do I respond when she sits me down and tells me about the assault?
You didn’t answer.

I can’t separate hers from the last story I heard – each forced out, each tangled, forming a web from within which I can’t navigate, can’t escape from.

How should I respond when this is the 1 2 3 4 5 6 seventh time a friend has sat me down and told me this?

I don’t want false optimism and rosy glasses. Fuck your rosy glasses.
There’s no liberation when you’re going in circles.

Brianna Kovan, photographed by Jerusaliem Gebreziabher

Brianna Kovan, photographed by Jerusaliem Gebreziabher

–-
Brianna Kovan
Editor in Chief, What the F Magazine

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