I am the first person to admit that I am a feminist. Why shouldn't I? In my mind and according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, feminism means "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes." I believe that men and women are entitled to the same rights. Feminism is a complicated issue to tackle, especially in this post #METOO era. Saying I am a feminist does not mean I hate all men. It is about actively seeking change in our society to end social problems which affect women. Despite my beliefs and stance on feminism, I have been met with controversy when I call myself a feminist. Why is this? Is it because I do not fit the typical standard of what a feminist should look like? I have begun to notice other women who have the same opinions as I do judge me based on appearances alone.

Here is a small news flash for those feminists who think negatively of me because I wear make-up or "comply" with western ideals of beauty- your judgment does not make you any better than a man who thinks poorly of you based on your looks. Feminism is not about defying all stereotypical standards or even believing women are the superior sex. It is about having the freedom to express who you truly are. I happen to be a feminist who feels confident when wearing makeup. Makeup and heels are not some male inventions designed to make women feel as though they need to alter their looks.

I recently started listening to a podcast called The Bechdel Cast which analyses the portrayal of women in movies. Although it is highly entertaining, I don't always agree with the hosts. They once mentioned their audience probably does not look a certain way. Their assumptions about what their audiences' looks like left me feeling a little bit snubbed. Why did these two women assume you can't be a model and a feminist at the same time. Why should my exterior define the way I view social rights. Yes, I like wearing makeup and absolutely love wearing heels, but I am the first one to point out that men do not live with the same fears women do, or that the wage gap still exists.

We need to step away from the concept that there is one idea of feminism. A feminist can be a pageant competitor like me who continues to support other women, it can be a female sound engineer, or a feminist can even be a man who continues to fight for gender equality. Just like with any social movement, religion, or political opinion there are extremists. And yes, these extremists might believe that all men are scum but not all feminists believe that. Instead, the goal of feminism is to address that men have access to greater privilege based on their sex alone while working to create equality for both sexes. Just remember men, do not call feminists angry or complainers because I promise you, that will only further fuel our fire.