This Is What Happens When You Start A Feminist Group In Highschool

Feminist Group

A group of teenage girls in the UK decided to start a feminist group, not to bash boys or demean them in any way, but to stick up for their own gender and create a space where girls of all different shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds could feel accepted and loved.

17 year old Jinan Younis from Altrincham Grammar school in Manchester, UK spearheaded the venture after her and her peers were sick of being called nasty, sexist and derogatory names.  When Jinan and the girls stood up to a group of men in a car who whistled at them one day, telling them it wasn’t appropriate for them to be yelling at 17 year old girls, the men started swearing at them, calling them names and one even threw coffee on her!

“For those men we were just legs, breasts and pretty faces. Speaking up shattered their fantasy, and they responded violently to my voice.” says Younis to The Guardian in an essay. After this incident she was shocked to notice the boys in her own school act the same way towards girls and saw how much girls suffer because of this.

Feminist Group UK

“I started to notice how much the girls at my school suffer because of the pressures associated with our gender. Many of the girls have eating disorders, some have had peers heavily pressure them into sexual acts, others suffer in emotionally abusive relationships where they are constantly told they are worthless.”

It took a whole year for her school to recognize the Feminist Group as a legitimate society, but that was the least of their struggles along the way. Many boys took to social media to abuse Younis and the group, calling her a “feminist bitch” along with slew of racial remarks.

As the group started to grow, the abuse and negativity got worse, to the point of bullying and harassment. Younis tells the Guardian how much of an eye-opener it was for her, that she is under no illusions of what a long way we as women have to go to reach equality.

“I fear that many boys of my age fundamentally don’t respect women. They want us around for parties, banter and most of all sex. But they don’t think of us as intellectual equals, highlighted by accusations of being hysterical and over sensitive when we attempted to discuss serious issues facing women.”

Feminist Group UK

The hardest part to swallow was that after the group posted these pictures on the facebook wall of ‘Who Needs Feminism’ UK, they started to get verbal abuse from boys in their school, and when they reported it to their teachers and principle, instead of help, they were told to just take down the pictures. Essentially a band-aid problem. Out of sight, out of mind.

Younis talks about how sad it is that boys now have a whole new platform to abuse, attack, and humiliate women: behind the anonymity of the internet. She, and many people who read this story, are also frustrated that a school can’t even protect its own students from such intolerable behavior. Actions like this are deemed illegal in some sectors, so why is it allowed to continue in school?

“I feel like the school is not supporting its girls in a crucial part of their evolution into being strong, assertive, confident women. If that’s the case for a well-established girls’ school, what hope does this generation of women have in challenging the misogyny that still pervades our society?” Younis ends her letter.

Feminist Group UK

It’s a scary and shocking state of affairs when we realize how early on the gender bias starts. Unless we use our resources and our voices to make changes with our youth, then we shouldn’t expect anything different into adulthood. Parents need to take responsibility for teaching their children good morals and ethics while they are under their roof. Teachers need to take a stand and invest in the lives of their students beyond just the curriculum and classrooms.

We hope the story of Jinan Younis will spread like wildfire and encourage many girls around the world to start similar groups to support other girls. In the meantime, more power to this group of girls in England, don’t ever give up! You are doing a brave thing and we need more girls in the world like you all, willing to stand and be a voice for the rest of us.

Side note: Jinan’s school released this statement regarding her feminist group and posting pictures online:

“Altrincham Grammar School for Girls has supported Jinan in setting up the society, providing administrative assistance, guidance and proactively suggesting opportunities to help members to explore this issue which they feel passionately about.

“We are committed to protecting the safety and welfare of our students, which extends to their safety online. We consider very carefully any societies that the school gives its name and support to.

“As such, we will take steps to recommend students remove words or images that they place online that could compromise their safety or that of other students at the school.”

Wow… they really are unashamed in saying they would rather have “controversial” pictures taken down than making a statement about something important. How pathetic!

Feminist Group UK

8 Comments

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