Feminism seems to be everywhere these days. From Beyoncé to Emma Watson to my pretend-boyfriend Joseph Gordon Levitt, beloved celebrities are stepping up and saying, loud and proud, “I am a feminist.” But why should it be important?

To borrow the words of the amazing author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as quoted in Beyoncé’s “Flawless,” a feminist is a person who believes in “the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” This sounds simple enough.

I am a feminist. And you know what I’ve learned? A lot of people really hate feminists. I have been called derogatory names. I’ve been told that if I don’t stop being a feminist, I won’t find a boyfriend. Girls have laughed at me, insulted me and rejected me. I’d be lying if I said none of this hurt me.

It’s hard for me to understand why I get these reactions when feminism just seems to be common sense to me. Men and women deserve the same rights. It is that basic. I should be able to show as much skin as I want without being told I’m “asking for it.” I should be able to go to the weight room without a guy asking me if I need help (which happens every single time). I should be able to walk down the street without strangers honking at me and telling me they want to have sex with me.

Likewise, a man should be able to turn down sex without worrying about being mocked. A man should be able to pursue hobbies that interest him, even if they are typically “feminine.” A man should be able to talk about emotions without being called “a girl.” Feminism, in its purest form, says both women and men deserve respect, ownership of their body and the agency to pursue to act whatever way they want, even if it isn’t typical for their gender.

If you say you’re not a feminist, you’re basically saying you don’t believe women are worth as much as men. No matter what way you try to spin it, if you’re anti-feminism, you’re anti-women. And if that’s really how you feel, I want you to look your mother in the eye and tell her that she doesn’t deserve respect.

Tell your little sister that if she gets raped at a party, she deserved it because she was drinking. Stand in front of your class and tell all the girls in the room to drop out, because once they get pregnant, they won’t be working anyway, because a woman’s place is in the home.

Feminism is beneficial for every single person in our society, and if you disagree with that, you are wrong.

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