Jinan Younis is my new hero. At just 17, she started a feminist society at her school. She has since dealt with the reality that those who are vocally feminist are often met with violent displays of abuse and sexist sentiments.
According to her well-written blog post on the Guardian, Younis decided to start the society after a confrontation she and some girlfriends had on a school trip. “A group of men in a car started wolf-whistling and shouting sexual remarks at my friends and me,” she writes, “I asked the men if they thought it was appropriate for them to be abusing a group of 17-year-old girls. The response was furious. The men started swearing at me, called me a bitch and threw a cup [of] coffee over me.”
That incident spurred Younis’ motivation to take action at her school, Altringham Girls Grammar. For reasons not fully explained, it took a year for the all-girl school to ratify her feminist society. The problems didn’t end there. When her male peers learned of her feminism, they reacted extremely negatively, tweeting that she was a “feminist bitch” and accused her of “feeding [girls] bullshit.” As more girls became outspoken, more boys added to the harassment.
Younis’ society decided to join the Who Needs Feminism? campaign (an organization that started an amazing photo project where people finish the sentence “I need feminism because…”). When her group posted their photos on the Who Needs Feminism? Facebook page, they received even more negative and violent reactions from their male peers. The school retaliated not by trying to stop the harsh response to the girls’ photos, but by telling the society to take down the photos.
Way to go, Altringham. You’ve validated the need for feminism almost as much as the sexist male idiots did. Is that really what you think is best for your young, female students? Now the girls can post a picture with the sentence, “I need feminism because my all-girl school wanted to stop this campaign.”
Photos via WhoNeedsFeminism.com and WhoNeedsFeminismUK’s Facebook