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  • Elise Dottrens

Why I am a feminist ...


My Name is Elise. This is the story of why I am a feminist. And this is my story.

This is a personal story. But I guess every feminist has personal reasons to be one. Have you heard about endometriosis? That’s kind of what started my fight for women’s cause.

Endometriosis is a chronic illness, something that comes to you without a manual, without cure. As a matter of fact, no one has a clue of what it is. Even the best Endometriosis specialist will tell you that, maybe this will help, maybe not. Maybe we can take your symptoms away. Maybe they will come back.

My symptoms started when I was 13. I started my period at that age. I remember that day so clearly and this weird pain in my lower back. An unknown pain. I remember what underwear I was wearing and this spot of blood. I remember my family was proud. Having four older sisters, I had had the chance of having been told about it.

Nonetheless, I was suffering. One week per month, I was crouching, struggling to attend school, not attending it sometimes, spending days and days on the sofa, moaning and crying. At that time, my gynecologist prescribed the pill and the symptoms went away. I didn’t think about it anymore until I was 17. My first sexual intercourse. It hurt so much. I wept of pain, of humiliation, for days and days. But that was only the beginning of my journey with the illness. Fearing the pain could be due to a side effect of the pill, I stopped it. But it was actually helping. My Endo « unfroze » and started again, even worse than before. It never stopped growing since then. I fainted many times when my period arrived. I vomited, I shouted, I cried. I developed food allergies, at least five of them. And my back is hurts all the time so much that I walk as if I was eighty years old. But I am 25.

Endometriosis is closely linked with women’s rights because it touches mostly reproductive organs, something men have long asserted control over. If you tell them you have painful periods, they will tell you it’s normal. If you tell them you don’t digest this and this, they will tell you to not eat it anymore. If you tell your boss, or anyone you can’t work because of your periods, they will laugh at you. They will tell you you work too much, they will tell you a pregnancy will cure you, they will tell you to just start doing sports and eat healthy and it will pass. They will tell you so many lies that you won’t know exactly what you feel or even who you are anymore.

And once you realise this, you will start realising every single occasion in women’s life on which they are not believed. Or not taken seriously. It goes from « periods are just a small problem, it shouldn’t be talked about » to « equal pay is a myth », or « we are only doing this to protect you ». This is a lie. Patriarchy has based its power on a bunch of lies, of false and discriminative arguments.

This is why I am a feminist. I want men to start believing us. I want patriarchy to fall.


© Elise Dottrens, 2019

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