In my class, there is a tradition called the three minute speech. It happens every week where one student comes up to the podium and talks about a free topic of their choice for three minutes. This year, since our class is the same for three straight years, I was the first one on the list to give a three minute speech. Last year, I discussed about ‘Beautiful China’ since I have lived there for about seven years and there are exceptionally stunning places. This time, it was hard to come up with a topic since there were so many things I wanted to talk about. I wanted to give a presentation on Harry Potter, my biggest dream, or my family. However, I decided to talk about feminism.
To be honest, I was afraid to talk about such topic since it is considered as a ‘dirty thing’. However, it is extremely important to think about what equality really is and I decided to stand up for something I truly believe in.
My speech on went like this:
- 8th March: International Women’s day + Safety pin
I really wanted my classmates to recognize international women’s day and why it’s so important. In addition, I mentioned the safety pin since it’s proudly on my blazer next to my yellow ribbon badge, which is a badge for the 4/16 Sewol disaster in Korea. F.y.i. safety pin is to support the minorities, which includes women, disabled, LGBT, immigrants and more…
2. Feminazi + Definition of Feminism
Anti-feminists call feminism ‘Feminazi’. It is a combination of ‘Feminism’ and ‘Nazi’; it gives a strong indication that feminists are Nazis. (this is how feminism is really viewed in Korea) And I wanted to prove that ‘feminazi’ is not the appropriate term to use. Thus, I defined ‘Feminism’: a belief that women should be treated equally to men. When I mentioned ‘Feminazi’, I could see that many students’ facial expressions were filled with disgust and that’s how I reacted when I first heard the term.
3. Define misogyny and give examples
On twitter, I follow the Korean Femiwiki and collect useful information related to feminism. In my speech, I used their definition of misogyny: sexually objectifying women and depreciating women for being women. There are so many examples for misogyny. First, female workers are not getting paid as they are supposed to. According to womenlink.or.kr, while Korean male workers receive 100% of their salary, female workers only earn 64% which means that female employees work for free for three hours everyday. Moreover, it is a misogyny when someone sexually objectifies women wearing skin revealing clothes and they think that it is okay to sexually harass them. However, these two examples are situations where students cannot really understand. I gave two other examples that students can identify with. First, whenever the school judiciary committee gives penalty points to students, they tend to be more forgiving towards male students. I have experienced this myself. Personally, I do not prefer wearing jumpers (a.k.a. sweaters) under my blazer since it is incredibly hard to move my arms; I only wear blazers. However, I received penalty points while male students with no jumper did not. (I am not blaming the judiciary committee) Moreover, one of my teachers said that the teacher gave higher scores to a male student because he was better than other male students. However, the score did not differ a lot from a female student, who performed brilliantly on her speech. My classmates, including myself, believed that the male student did not deserve high marks. He was a good speaker, but not as much as the female student. Like this, misogyny is everywhere.
4. The reason we have to be angry
“Everyone should be angry. Anger has changed history numerously in positive ways. At the same time I feel hope, since I believe that people have the ability to change the society in a positive direction.” – @Femiwikidotcome (twitter account) translated by me from Korean to English 🙂
This was the quote I read out loud to my audience. In this statement, anger is not regarded as a negative emotion, but an emotion that can change the world to a better place. We should be angry about gender discrimination. We should be angry that misogyny is everywhere in our daily lives. We should be angry that feminism is considered as dirty and uncomfortable topic to talk about. We should be angry about everything that is wrong about the society. We should be angry about the wrong way people perceive feminism. And I know what it feels like to be a girl and I am angry about the mistaken reflections on feminism. Everyone should be angry.
5. Emma Watson’s quote from HeforShe speech
“Ask yourself; if not me, who? If not now, when?”
I don’t think I even have to talk about this quote. It means what it states.
To reflect on my speech, it was incredibly nervous to talk about feminism. There are even male students in my class who openly shows that he is unpleasant with talking about the topic. After my speech, the reaction was arid; however, I thought it was worth it. I was constantly making eye contact with the boy who feels uncomfortable talking about feminism and his face was red as a beet. He also did not make any eye contact with me at all and kept watching the solid, cold floor. He probably realized that his actions were wrong – or at least I hope he did. It was heartbreaking to see not many students clap, but after school was over, many girls came up to me and complemented on my braveness and I greatly appreciated their comments. I realized how important it is to fight for something that is right, and not be afraid to say that you are a feminist. Their support meant to much to me and I would like to thank them – a lot. So, don’t be shy to state that you are a feminist. It is not wrong or dirty, it is the right thing to do. It is one of the most bravest things you can do in your life. And next time when I have to talk about something I am passionate about, I would introduce myself to the audience: Hello everyone, I am a feminist.
“Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” – Hilary Clinton