Monday, February 4

What Does Feminism Mean to You?


Feminism has always been about the rights of women, to me. Since the first time I was able to see bias shown between boys and girls, by adults, I was interested in how to make things fair. Hearing, "this is just what boys do" and "girls don't do that", made me want to find out why. Something as simple as wearing red and green versus pink and purple; playing with Transformers & G.I. Joe toys instead of dolls and dressing up. Even wanting to read comic books in addition to my Sweet Valley High books, was pointed out as something odd.

As I entered high school, it became clear that other things would separate males and females because of their genitals. If you had a concern that you wanted/needed addressed, it was always asked if you were on your period or why you were complaining/whining. When guys spoke up about things they didn't like or wanted changed, they were commended for not being a pussy and taking the initiative to get things done. None of this made sense and it was what sparked my initial interest in feminism.

As I read more about feminists and what they stood for, I grew to understand that feminism was about the RIGHT to do what you wanted as a female human. Limitations weren't to be put on you simply because you had a vagina. If you worked a long, hard day of work, you deserved to be paid the same amount as a man who was capable of doing the same job. If you wanted to accomplish your goal to become a business owner/high-level executive/housewife/mother, no one had the RIGHT to tell you to go do something else.

As I got older, I began to realize a lot of women wanted to deny their fellow sisters the RIGHT to choose what they wanted too. Except it was on the other end of the spectrum. "Oh, she thinks she's better than us because she doesn't want to get married and have kids. Who does she think she is?" "She needs to act like a lady and settle down with one guy, get married, and have kids" "She's lying. All women want to be married and have kids". I hear women say these things about each other and it saddens me because what was the point of a feminist movement if some of us were going to replace the oppressive role men had over us and tell other women what they should be doing? 

The most unnerving thing was...a lot of these women call themselves feminist too. It got to a point where I didn't want to be associated with a group that wanted to take control of HOW we were oppressed versus ending the oppression altogether.

When I see women who CHOOSE to be strippers, entertainers[singers, rappers, actors, etc.] who wear little clothing, look at dating the same way as men [exercising their RIGHT to date multiple people until deciding on The One], and pretty much go against traditional grain, I STILL see feminism. It isn't any different than a woman who decides to put her career before having a family. It's a CHOICE that ALL women are entitled to. It NEVER stopped being our HUMAN RIGHT to choose what we wanted out of life. No different than voting rights. If someone chooses not to vote, it is STILL their CHOICE and no one has the right to make them feel bad for not exercising it.

It is now 2013; 28 years from the first time I realized how stupid it is to tell someone else what they can't do/should be doing with their life, because they're a female. I won't be a fool and say nothing has changed, because it has. I'm interested in where we as women will be collectively and individually when it comes to our rights, 30 more years from now. I don't want my daughter to deal with males/females telling her what she can/can't do because she has a vagina. I want this close-minded view of things to die out so that it's understood that no human being is one-dimensional. Each of us have different things going on that will determine, who/what we become in life. Whatever my daughter decides she wants to do/be, I want it to be one not influenced by other people who only want to control others because they aren't busy enough in their own life.

Feminism can be defined many different ways since its origin over 175 years ago. It still has one universal meaning that everyone should never forget; having equal rights to men.

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