The time has come for this column to end. I have had that line blinking on my screen for over an hour now (that tiny cursor is really unforgiving when you have a deadline, isn’t it?).
I’ve been trying to think of something profound to say, some last words that will somehow be more important than everything that I’ve already written for this publication. The truth is, I’m not good at goodbyes, even though I’ve had lots of practice with them.
Wrapping up senior year makes everyone overly emotional, so I don’t feel bad for getting a little sappy here. It comes with the territory.
Ernest Hemingway once said something to the effect that writing is easy because all you do is sit down to a typewriter and bleed. I feel like this column has been my bleeding-ground, for lack of a better word.
I’ve written about a lot of stuff that bothers me and, if you’re still reading this, probably bothers you too.
But I’ve also left a lot out. One of the saddest parts of being an introverted writer is that you never have enough time to get all of the things that live in your head out into the world. Maybe that is as it should be.
So it’s hard to sum up everything I feel about anything, particularly feminism, in one tidy column. I have little advice going forward because, honestly, I’m still figuring everything out myself.
I’ve been doing this whole feminist writing thing for four years now, and I’ve changed considerably since I started. If you put me and four years ago Hallie in the same room, I’d probably think she was kind of stupid and naïve.
And she was. Back then I thought that if only the world would see how much smarter girls were than boys, the world would be a better place. I had no idea about the gender pay gap or what cisgendered or heteronormative meant. I’m sure that I said some pretty high school things that still echoed some deeply internalized ideas about slut-shaming.
What I’m trying to say is that I wasn’t a perfect feminist back then and I had some seriously problematic issues to work through. With the help of this column and a great many professors who have taught some impressive critical thinking skills, I have worked through a lot of that stuff.
I have bled. You have read it. It probably hasn’t been pretty. It probably never will be.
The honest to God truth is that feminism is not always easy. It takes some serious gall to challenge every established social norm concerning gender. But I have chosen it, and I would choose it again a hundred times over. To me, the constant battle against misogyny in its many forms is worth it because fighting against inequality and oppression is what love and respect demand from us.
It’s easy to be scared of those things, to participate in oppression as long as we win something for ourselves in return. We turn a blind eye because it’s hard to look at reality as it is. The ugliness of it all can cripple us.
We are fragile, fleeting beings. If I could go back and tell myself one thing it would be that feminism is a manifestation of love for people and fairness and to never be afraid of it.
I would say that love is going to cost you. It will take and alienate, make you crazy and angry. But in the end, loving in a way that demands that you work for the betterment of others is the kind of love that will give you back more than you ever expected, far more than you deserve.
So I hope you all go forward and love people in the best way you know how. I have been grateful to know you, dear reader, and I will miss you most ardently.
Thanks for sticking with me until the very end.