While this title could easily mislead you into believing that this is an ode to a specific swear word, that’s not what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about another type of “f” word, that somehow gets just as negative of a reputation even though it really doesn’t deserve it. Yep, that’s right, I’m talking feminism.
I’m fully aware that this might be perceived as politically controversial to a number of people, so if you don’t like what I’m about to say, go ahead and click away from this post. I don’t want rude comments – this blog is supposed to be a source of empowerment and encouragement and that just doesn’t fit in. If you think you won’t be able to contain yourself from spitting hatred over my explanation of why I proudly identify as a feminist, go read one of my other posts about eyeshadow palettes or scuba diving and calm down a little.
However, I’m fully of the belief that this shouldn’t be a controversial issue, because there is absolutely nothing “controversial” about the fact that all people should be treated equally. The fact that society has somehow taught women to be ashamed of the word feminist is, quite frankly, a little ridiculous. How is advocating equality something to be ashamed of?
You know what else is ridiculous? The people who claim feminism isn’t needed anymore. Yes, I am totally aware that some countries have it even worse that the United States. That doesn’t mean you can’t also deal with the issues here – it’s not a one-or-the-other situation. The U.S. still experiences a wage gap, the number of women who experience rape or sexual assault is staggering, and for some reason many insurers cover Viagra but refuse to cover birth control. This doesn’t even go into the social issues, in which women are discouraged from pursuing leadership positions for fear of being labeled “bossy” (but we’d never call a man bossy – he’s just the boss), in which women are shamed for merely showing their shoulders in a public school (because shoulders are so alluring and while we can trust men to run all of the top government offices in our country, we can’t trust them to restrain themselves when presented with bare, completely non-sexual skin), and in which we teach little boys that they can’t express emotions and teach little girls that that the boy who pulls her ponytail on the playground is just flirting with her (which makes them likely to excuse abusive behavior from a partner when they’re older).
We teach girls to be ashamed of their intelligence, particularly if it will threaten boys, and we entitle boys to believing that their opinions are somehow more valid than women’s. It’s not taught explicitly, but we let society force these values onto us. My intelligence and ambition are some of my most powerful characteristics, and I still spend way too much time trying to convince myself that it’s ok to feel that way.
Feminism isn’t a dirty word, and I’m tired of pretending like it is. So, in case you were wondering, this blogger is a full-blown feminist, and proud of it. I accepted an internship with the National Organization for Women in Washington D.C. this summer, and it is without a doubt my dream internship. This issue is something I’m so incredibly passionate about, and it’s something I’m determined to make a difference in. If you’re not a feminist, you should be.
And no, I don’t burn my bras. I paid way too much for those to light them on fire.
(P.S.: If you’re looking for a quick read to start understanding this whole feminism thing a bit more clearly, go check out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists. It’s a short little 50-page book that basically expands on what I’ve already mentioned. Or, if you’re even lazier, she also did a TED talk on the same topic.)