Last week I was listening to a very important woman talk about gender equality in the United Nations. After learning that things aren't as good as it seems, I was washed over with a sudden desire to overthrow the patriarchy and fulfill the entire feminist agenda on my own. Sadly, I am not capable of doing such a thing, which is why I will content myself with sharing ten tips for everyone to be better feminists.
1. Don’t interrupt when a woman (or anyone, really) is speaking.
Interrupting is just rude, period. Don’t you hate when you are in the middle of explaining an idea and someone decides to cut you off so that they can rephrase what you were just saying? Studies show that men (and other women) are more prone to interrupt when a woman is speaking than when a male is talking.
2. Stop with the misogynistic jokes already.
They are not funny. And even if they were funny, making sexist jokes is only a way of normalizing abuse towards women. If we are supposed to find domestic violence funny, then why should we stop it from happening?
3. Educate yourself.
If you think that feminism isn't needing because women in your country have the right to vote, then it is time to think again. It's about time we all learn the true meaning of feminism and gender equality, so we can start advocating for them.
4. Support females.
As every item of this list, this tip goes for both men and women. It's about time that we stop putting women down, and being surprised when they succeed. It's about time we stop asking actors about their experience with a role, and actresses about what they are wearing. It's about time we tell small girls that is okay to be a scientist, that it's alright to not like the color pink. It's about time we support everyone who identifies as a woman, and we allow them to thrive.
5. Understand your privilege.
Almost everyone has a privilege, whether it is class, religion, sexuality, gender or race, odds are you have a privilege of some sort. This means you do not get to speak for those who lack this privilege. Instead of pretending to understand someone's struggle better than they do themselves, it is time for us to use our privilege to make a change.
6. Speak up.
If you see someone telling a sexist joke, if you hear someone catcalling a young girl in the streets, if one of your friends is dismissing feminism. Speak up.
7. Be intersectional.
All oppression is connected, and it's important that we feminists understand that. Our feminism must be intersectional, it must include the voices and stories of women of color, transgender women, lgbtq+ women, women from different religions and different countries. It must take into consideration that we are all powerful, unique and beautiful, and we all deserve to be taken into account.
8. Be kind.
To girls, to boys. To women, to men. To puppies, to kitties. Be kind to everyone.
9. Call yourself a feminist.
Don't shy away from the word, don't ever ever ever say "I support women's rights, but I'm not a feminist." We have to stop giving feminism a bad connotation, and we have to do it now.
If you believe in the radical notion that women are humans too, then don't be afraid to call yourself a feminist!
10. Be patient with yourself.
Being a feminist is hard. There is nothing worse than rewatching your favorite chick flick and realizing it is nothing but a sexist film with a really cheesy soundtrack. I get it: having a social conscience sucks. But that is absolutely no reason to beat yourself up, and we have to understand that.
So make yourself a cup of tea, embrace your feminism and listen to Roxane Gay's Ted Talk on how to be a Bad Feminist, but mostly remember: