Everyone, it's our favorite time of year again. Yep, that's right-- Women's History Month! If you're like me (a liberal, self-proclaimed feminist) you may love taking the month of March as a time to reflect on the amazing, wonderful, strong women who came before you and dedicated their lives to be able to earn women the inalienable rights. However, it becomes easy to turn into "angry feminist" mode when I see something like this:
Yep, that's right. In my college bookstore, directly next to a sign proclaiming "Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we praise them," we find Real Housewives of New Jersey "star" Teresa Giudice's memoir: "Turning the Tables: From a Housewife, to an Inmate, and Back Again".
I'm sorry....but what? Gloria f***ing Steinem, the leader of the feminist movement in the 1960s is on the bottom shelf? What does this tell women? What does this prove about how far women have come? Where's Betty Freidan? Sheryl Sandberg? Rosa Parks? After seeing this, I realized we needed a little lesson, for men and women alike. Here are just a few ways every human can support feminism, since it is Women's History Month and all.
1. Check out singledout.org.
Some really awesome women have realized there's a problem with our current gun laws (other than the pre-existing problems) that's currently putting single women at risk. Even though domestic abusers are supposed to prohibited from purchasing a gun (duh), here's the catch: They're only prohibited from gun purchase if they're currently married to, living with, formerly married to or have had a child with the victim. That leaves a massive gap that ignores stalkers and abusive ex-boyfriends. And here's the worst part: more women are killed each year by dating partners than by spouses. Check out singledout.org, where you can join Everytown for Gun Safety, donate, and read more. While changing this law will support women, it really is supporting human rights and hopefully, a change for the greater good will be made.
2. Party Themes/Halloween Costumes
I have a serious issue with women who subject themselves to degrading costumes. CEOs and Corporate Hoes, Millionaires and Mistresses, Creepy Guys and Cutie Pies....cringe-worthy. Still don't want to miss the party? Switch the gender roles at the very least. Ladies, who says the woman has to be the mistress? Roll up like a millionaire that night. You don't need to voluntarily subject yourself to sexism on a Friday night when it's already vehemently inherent in our society.
3. Don't just vote for Hillary because she's a woman.
Don't take this the wrong way, however. If you like Hillary's ideas, okay. Vote for her. But don't just vote for her because you want to see a female president in office. Women, our time will come. But recently, news reports have proven that Hillary's women in office were paid 72 cents to every dollar the men in the office made. And to me, that's a problem. How can a woman champion equal pay, but not demand it within her own staff? If I wanted a candidate who cares the most about gender equality, I would choose someone else.
4. Engage in discussion about it.
Whether it's with your friends, your professor, or an event on campus. Every human being should go out, and hear some people talk about it. Watch a performance of The Vagina Monologues. Ask a feminist why they're a feminist. Talk to your parents. Read books about it. Watch documentaries about it. Check out Ms. Magazine or check out some feminist Instagram accounts. If you want to take a stance against feminism...*sigh* fine, but at least know your stuff. It's that simple.
5. Donate to a women's shelter.
This is a no-brainer at first, but here's the deal: homeless women are severely lacking the feminine items they need as women. We're talking tampons, pads, female deodorant, etc. Could you image going without tampons for a month? Yeah. Neither can I. Homeless women need the materials their gender necessitates. A time of the month for a homeless woman should never be degrading and dehumanizing. You can help that.
6. Stop slut-shaming.
If I hear one more girl greet another girl with a "Hey Bitch!" I might vomit in my mouth. I'm so over using derogatory terms used to belittle women being used by women. Don't we understand how truly messed up that is?? Women should empower each other. How can we expect men to not use those phrases to describe us if they see women using them on each other playfully?
Even though I don't like Teresa's memoir sitting in the Women's History section, I would never disrespect her as a woman or call her anything less than she is-- a reality TV celebrity and now published author. And even if you really don't like the girl in your Sociology class, she's not a slut because she's been Snapchatting the guy you like. Human race, we need to get it together.
7. Don't distance yourself from the word "feminist."
There are some people I've met in college who, despite advocating for gender equality, cannot commit to calling themselves "The F Word." Some women find it to brazen, too emotionally-charged, too forceful to associate with. Some men find it emasculating to consider themselves a feminist. To this, I say: Peeps, you have a strong support system behind you, ready to welcome you into a community. It is an emotionally charged word. It is brazen. And it is a commitment. But overall, it's worthwhile. Make the jump.
However, when I meet a young woman who doesn't consider herself a feminist and doesn't believe in gender equality whatsoever, my response is always the same: "That's fine, but I'm still going to fight for your equality too." And I mean that. We're not only working towards equality of those in the "Feminist Club." Everyone will benefit from the positive effects of gender equality, self-proclaimed feminist or not. So to those people, I say this: If I respect your opinion enough to not shove my feminist ideas down your throat, take the time to really research what it means to be a feminist. I think you'd be surprised to find that the ideas aren't so bad.
It's 2016. We need gender equality. We need feminism. We need men and women to become feminists. And we need it today. Happy Women's History Month. Take this month to learn what it means to be a woman.