another post about feminism

Jess

In today’s society we toss this F word around a lot, yet I can’t help but think a lot us are just missing the mark.

Feminism is a lot like a job in consulting or the phrase “hooking up” in that nobody knows what it actually means. Not to say we’re all completely clueless, it’s just that the concept and history of feminism is complex, intricate, and at times difficult to understand.

Nonetheless, I call myself a feminist. I may not be getting it all right, but at its base level, feminism is pretty simple.

feminism: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

Yep, that’s all it is. It’s hard to believe an entire nation can get so bent out of shape over something that, at its very core, is simply equality of the sexes.

And still, so many otherwise intelligent individuals cannot wrap their heads around this concept. They can’t get behind the movement that is feminism, even when they’re more than happy to admit that they support the efforts and changes that have resulted from feminism.

Even Meghan Trainor, who is famous for singing about body acceptance, and wrote the line “don’t be thinking I’ll be home and baking apple pies,” said she wouldn’t call herself a feminist.

It begs the question, how evolved are we as a nation? I love to think that our country as a whole, but especially my generation, is so close to gaining irrevocable ground in the fight for equality, and yet nobody wants to be called a feminist. It’s disappointing.

A few months ago, I posted this image on Instagram. I was excited. I’m obsessed with social media and social activism, so I’m elated any chance I get to combine the two. I couldn’t wait to see the resounding support of my followers in the form of likes and comments.

Superwoman

Yes, I did receive comments from a few followers I know to feel similarly passionate about equality, but I was dishearteningly shocked at the lack of support this post received.

I have 402 followers, and only received 15 likes.

Don’t think this is me being disgruntled at a low number of likes on social media; that’s not it at all, I just can’t understand what’s so wrong with women receiving equal wages in the workplace. I really assumed this was an issue everyone would agree with me on. I really assumed everyone would be as excited as I was about this post.

I am so passionate about my views and opinions that I am most often unable to see the other side of an argument, but when it comes to identifying yourself as a feminist, I get it. As much as it hate to say it, even a year ago I was on the other side of this argument, denouncing the term feminism and its negative connotation.

The feminist movement is not perfect. Like every group or movement since the beginning of time, there are always going to be radical segments within the group as a whole. Maybe there are groups of feminists who inherently hate men, refuse to wear dresses, never shave their legs, or scoff at the thought of using a kitchen. That’s where the misconception lies; girls don’t want to admit to being a feminist for fear that such a negative stigma will be attached. In short, I didn’t want to claim the term feminist because I didn’t want to hurt my chances with guys, I didn’t want people to think I was this bra burning, radical, butch lady. I was also incredibly misinformed and immature.

I’m fortunate to have realized the importance of this movement. I’m fortunate that my true nature and my penchant for equality eventually won out over my desire to blend in. What’s more, our entire society is fortunate that support for the feminist movement and education regarding the feminist movement is becoming more common and more popular over time.

Unfortunately though, there’s a great segment of people holding onto those negative stereotypes.

New Girl

The truth?

I am proud to be a feminist.

I prefer wearing skirts and dresses to pants; I think they’re easier and so much more freeing.

I’ve never burned a bra, but I did burn a cracker over a candle once just to see what it would look like. Bras are a lot more expensive than crackers.

I hate shaving my legs. I also hate hairy legs. I’m not gonna make that call for anyone else, guy or girl. Your hair is yours.

When I was in seventh grade, this boy in my PE class hated me; I was sort of an intimidating girl in seventh grade because I was still taller than most of the guys. We went head to head in a soccer match one day; we were fighting for the ball and he kicked me in the shin. I’m a girl, but I’m not weak, so I kicked him back and took the ball.

I never played sports in high school because I thought wearing glitter and adding an enormous bow to the perfect ponytail to cheer on the sidelines was more fun.

The  point of all this? I am a person. I am a feminist, but I am also a human, which means I do not fall perfectly into any category, except that I believe in equality, and that is the norm. Most feminists simply want a fairer world, and that means for men too.

I know it’s not the first time most of us have heard words like this, that feminism isn’t bad, that it’s all about equality. But take it from someone who’s been on the other side, saying you support feminists won’t turn you into a man, or a lesbian, or whatever you’re thinking. It will however, mean that the people who matter most will see you as confident, strong, independent, and willing to work for something you believe in. The people who matter most will matter even more because they will agree.

Let’s stop putting a negative connotation on such a positive word. Let’s start agreeing that equality is good and fair and won’t hurt anybody.

And if this semi well written post doesn’t convince you, watch out, I may kick you in the shin if it will make you support my cause.

I’m kidding.

Kind of.

What are your thoughts on feminism and the negative social stigma that the word has? What can we do to promote the positive benefits of supporting a movement founded on equality? What are your thoughts on feminism in general? Let me hear what you have to say in the comments below. 

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

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