If you know me, you probably know I am a feminist… a proud one may I add. Many of my posts will probably be about issues regarding women in modern society, this post is merely an intro. I have found over the years their are many misconceptions about the modern feminist. When I was asking my editor what to write for my first opinion column post, she suggested something that I am passionate about. The first thing that immediately came to mind: women’s rights.
One of the most disheartening things I have witnessed as a feminist over the years, has been the common misconceptions of what exactly a feminist is. A few years ago, I remember asking my mother, through tears nonetheless, after a frustrating encounter, “I just do not understand why all women are not feminists, Mom. Don’t they care about their rights? And the fact they are a minority?” My mother sweetly coaxed me, “Maybe Shannon, they do not understand what a feminist is.”
I actually dislike the fact women like me have to be labeled as a feminist in the first place. I care about women rights, I care about being treated fairly and equally to my male counterparts and I care about the future for my sisters and daughters. The label of feminist is often used in a negative way to describe, “radical, pushy women”. Well, I just think that’s not fair. I am a feminist, but I can’t stand the stereotypes.
The common misconceptions…
You will not find me running down streets topless, waving my bra in the air.
I have no desire to burn my bras.
I do shave my legs and underarms.
I do not hate men.
I am attracted to men.
I think the stay-at-home mom has one of the hardest jobs in the world…and should be commended not looked down upon.
I like to get my hair and nails done.
I love to wear makeup.
I care about my appearance.
I am spiritual.
But….yes, I am still a feminist.
You will not find me letting my boyfriend pay for my dinner or open a door for me.
I am pro-choice. Every woman has the right to her own body.
I want a extremely successful career…and if a family eventually happens… that will be a bonus.
I will never be proposed to….my future husband and I will have a mutual conversation about getting married (and we will both pick out our engagement rings together!)
I think organized religion demeans and lessens women.
I hate when people make jokes about women including, “that’s a woman’s job” or “go make me a sandwich”
I think the war on women is extremely relevant.
I do not think I am better than any man…I believe women and men are equals (and should be treated as so!).
I believe in equal pay for equal work.
I will never let a man subject me or emotionally abuse me.
I do not think you have to be a woman to be a feminist.
The modern feminist is not the same as the feminists from the 60’s and 70’s. Although, some attributes of all feminists are the same. They believe in equality and they believe in fighting for women overall. It is sad that in 2012 the United States still needs feminists to fight for women. Unfortunately, feminists are needed now more than ever. It is the 21st century, yet discrimination and social exclusion are something women still face on a daily basis. Just the other day every single Republican in the United States Senate voted against a bill allowing women to receive equal pay for equal work to their male counterparts. With women on average earning nearly 74 cents on every dollar less than a man…this issue is so major and SO relevant. The glass ceiling women face in the workplace and the lack of opportunity go to show… modern or not… apparently, feminism is a necessity.
Women are a minority. Yes, there are some things chauvinists can argue, but that fact is not one of them. The definition of a minority is a group of people that are socially or economically viewed as unequal. Minorities groups are considered to have lesser opportunities for wealth, social status and overall prosper within a society. Women directly fit under the minority label.
I could get into facts, statistics and reasons why I feel it almost necessary as a woman to be a feminist, but I will be writing a lot more articles/posts covering those sort of topic regarding feminism in relation to politics, religion and even a woman’s role within society.
My good friend, sorority sister, and fellow feminist, Amy Campo, graciously shared with me why she chooses to be a feminist in the 21rst Century. She explained she most closely relates with Black Feminism. “Black Feminism maintains that feminism, racism and classicism are all intrinsically related,” she said. “I am a feminist because I’ve realized even at 20 years old that society doesn’t do a good job of treating people fairly.” In other words, society needs women and men to stand up and protect minorities, those socially, economically and racially discriminated against. They need women to take charge and continue this much needed revolution.
When speaking with Amy, one thing that she said that really impacted me was, “As far as perception (of feminists), it annoys me that it is seen as radical to expect fair and equal treatment for everyone regardless of sex, race, or class, she said. “It seems like such an elementary idea to me.” BOOM! Exactly the point I have been struggling with my entire life… everyone is entitled to their own opinion of course…but why wouldn’t everyone want equal treatment for all? Why wouldn’t every woman want to be a feminist? …Well, as my mother said so many years ago…maybe they really do not understand what a feminist is.
I will leave this post with the dictionary definition of a feminist, “Advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.” If you have a sister, mother, aunt, grandma or you are even a woman yourself, wouldn’t you want that? The only thing feminists really want is to have women viewed and treated equally to men whether it be socially or economically. I really don’t think that is that radical of a concept, and if it is, then I will gladly be considered radical.