Here is a post I wrote last year about feminism; a discussion that repeatedly comes up in conversation to this day.
It's Tuesday night and I'm chilling in my pajamas, perusing Facebook, whilst sipping on a large cup of peppermint tea.
I'm at peace in my dorm room, unwinding after a long day, slowly settling into my Twin XL bed.
And then I come across a post on Facebook published by a mutual friend of mine that causes me to set my mug down abruptly and toss my Urban Outfitters sheets aside.
For the sake of protecting her identity, let’s call this Facebook post-er Rachel.
In the post mainly comprised of what would be considered by many to be radical Republican ideals, Rachel claims that she herself is NOT a feminist.
It's evident by the words Rachel used that she believes that if she is a Republican, she can not also be a feminist.
Hopefully, some of you by now are saying, "What? She's a woman, how can she not be a feminist?"
And if you aren't, let’s take a look at the definition of the word “feminism”:
Feminism: the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
I’m really hoping that Rachel is unaware of what the real definition of feminism is. I mean, what female wouldn’t believe in living in a world where “social, political, and all other rights of women" are "equal to those of men?”
It’s the 21st century for crying out loud!
In her mind, perhaps the image of a feminist looks more radical than most. Maybe she pictures the bold feminist protesters who continue to make headlines around the world, like the Tampon Tax protestersin London who “free bled” outside the Houses of Parliament while wearing white pants (who, might I add, are extremely brave).
Or maybe she envisions feminists like Miley Cyrus who choose to grow out their armpit hair as a way of rocking a body-conscious political fashion statement.
To a lot of people, movements like these challenge societal norms and to some are, yes, unsettling. However, these are the same movements that are being published across the Internet, especially in world-renowned publications, such as Vogue and The New York Times.
However, these are the same movements that urge both men and women to start conversations that have previously been avoided for decades.
Other celebrities (i.e. Emma Watson) have also recently stepped up to the plate to discuss the topic of gender equality, like the HeforShe speech she presented to the UN in 2014 (which I highly recommend seeing if you haven't already).
During her speech, Watson discusses gender equality. Watson asks, “Why has the world become such an unpopular one? I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.”
And I guess Rachel doesn't believe in anything Watson has to say either.
Let’s be real, ladies. If you’re not a feminist, you don’t believe in gender equality.
If you’re not a feminist, you don’t believe in equal pay for equal work.
If you’re not a feminist, you don’t believe in having full reproductive rights.
And if you’re not a feminist, you're disregarding the sacrifices made by women since the 19th and early 20th century who fought for the freedoms you have today.
Being a feminist doesn’t mean you have to “free bleed” every time you are on your period to prove a point.
Being a feminist doesn’t mean that you have to stop shaving your legs.
Being a feminist doesn’t mean you have to stop dating guys.
And being a feminist most definitely doesn't mean that you have to start hating the entire male population.
“Feminism” doesn’t have to be a controversial word, plagued with stereotypes and misconceptions.
In fact, it can be a quite simple one.
After researching the plethora of ways you can perform feminist acts in your everyday life, I found this simple list on www.andpossiblydinosaurs.com. Blogger Sareeta lists six simple steps to being a feminist wherever you are, whoever you are:
1. If you identify as a woman, know that you are worthy.
2. If you identify as a man, recognize that your experience is different and talk to others about it.
3. Point out sexism when you see it and encourage people to think critically about it.
4. If you have children or you work with children, find teachable movements and instill a belief in gender equality.
5. Catch yourself and stop yourself when you judge other women unfairly.
6. Read to learn as much as you can.
See? Being a feminist is a lot easier than most people think. Hell, like Watson urges in her HeforShe campaign, men too can be feminists.
"If not me, who?" said Watson. "If not now, when?"
To any female or male reading this post, I urge you to contemplate these questions. I urge you to fight for gender equality in your daily lives if you don't already do so.
Oh, and to all the Rachels in this world, if you still don’t believe in gender equality and feminism, that’s your choice.
But please don’t disregard feminism and it’s significance until you truly and wholeheartedly understand what it means.