There is a word in our society that is not said enough. It is one that makes you feel good when you say it. When I scream it, I feel like I’ve reclaimed something. A part of me inside becomes whole.
Everyone, say it with me.
What? Not what you thought I was going to say?
I understand why some may be leery of this word. Before I broke down the stereotypes surrounding it, I was afraid of it as well.
Think about it. A feminist is a liberal, butch, hairy legged, bra-burning, man-hating, member of the bitch patrol. Why would you want to consider yourself a part of that group?
Oh wait, that’s not true? None of those things really depict a feminist?
There are two things I would like to clear up. First, all feminists are human. No, we are not aliens. This means that everyone has their own unique idea of what makes up a feminist. Some may decide not to shave, burn their bras or even be man-haters, but let me be clear, that is because they are human, not because they are feminist. Being a human gives you the right to live your life however you see fit. So, before you go categorizing us as the feminists, think before you point.
Second, you may be wondering, if I am saying that everyone is unique, what makes us the same? Well funny you should mention it. In my definition, a feminist is someone who views men and women as equal. Can we each have our own unique qualities or identities? Sure! But, if you believe a woman can hold the same jobs, roles, activities, and here’s the kicker, get paid the same as an equivalent man, then guess what…you are a feminist! It doesn’t matter how you identify yourself in terms of gender or political party.
Again, I know this might be scary for some of you. I once was an anti-feminist. Though I believe I was always a feminist, I didn’t “come out” until I was in college and I took my first Women’s Studies class and even then it was scary. The F Bomb carries so much baggage; I wondered why I would want to label myself with that word. Once I started learning what it meant and examined the stereotypes around it, I learned that feminism is just a fancy way of saying that you want to make the world a better place. How is that a bad thing?
Even though you may not know my own feminist role models: Eve Ensler, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, bell hooks, or Jessica Valenti— you do know the more popular feminists: President Obama, Hilary Clinton, Andy Samberg, Larry David, Ashley Judd, and Tina Fey.
With election excitement in the atmosphere, I leave you with a quote. Susan B. Anthony was the woman who fought until she was almost dead to secure the right to vote for all women. She said, “It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.” Think about which presidential candidate would stand by that quote before you cast your ballot or worse, decide not to vote.