What Is Feminism

Anyone Can Be a Feminist, Even You

Your mom, friend, boyfriend, dad, cousin, literally ANYONE.

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Feminism isn't about anything other than the ideology of women being treated equally to men in the presence of politics, economics, and social justice. If you don't believe women should have the equity that feminism fights for, then fine you definitely hate feminism.

Typically people bash feminism because of things like nudity, sexual expression, "Man-Hating", or claiming they just want to be a wife! The reality is none of those things remain in the core values of what feminism is or believes in. Feminism is huge on choice, giving women the equal right to choose how they live life, just as men have.

What this means is that if you're a very promiscuous person and want to display yourself in a sexual and empowering way, feminism says "You go!" but the same response goes for women who chose to be more reserved regarding their sexuality. This is where the idea of no slut-shaming in feminism comes into play. Women, like men, should be able to dress how they want without fear of being shamed for showing too much or too little skin. In the same token, nudity is sometimes associated with feminism because of movements such as "Free the nipple" which is less about nudity and more about reversing the sexualization of women's body.

The most common dismissal of feminism seems to stay consistent with "I don't hate men, I'm not a feminist!!!!!". This is silly to me because though feminists get frustrated with the misogynistic group of men that exist, they don't hate the entire gender. A lot of feminists actually have boyfriends, how shocking! Actually, it's not shocking at all and shouldn't be. By definition, a feminist is someone who believes in social, economic, and political rights of women to be equal to that of a man. Someone wanting to be equal to another doesn't mean they hate the other person. When I slice a pie and you ask for an equal slice, does that mean you want mine too? Or a bigger slice? Of course not, don't be silly!

Considering all of the above information, literally, anyone is allowed to be a feminist. This includes people who are married, mothers, sisters, brothers, etc. You can still be a fantastic wife and believe that women should be treated equally to men. Your boyfriend or husband can still romance you without it threatening your feminist ideals. All feminists want is to not be treated like less than their partner, her husband.

You can also hold any job you feel fits in your life the best, people often say they don't believe in feminism because they don't work in male-dominated fields so they feel when referencing the patriarchy that, that includes them. The patriarchy is just a system and society in favor of men which is something female feminists are trying to change in order to gain equality between the men in their lives. This means that when there's a promotion and you work harder than your male co-worker you can still have a shot at it!

To those who still are against feminists, remember that all the women who fought for our right in the workforce and our rights to vote were feminists. Without feminists, we wouldn't have a lot of things that we have now, it's just something you might want to keep in mind.

Anyone who believes these things are rights that women deserve is a feminist. no matter your gender, occupation, relationship status, or sexuality feminism still means the same thing.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Violence Against Indigenous Women: Why Is This Not A National Topic?

"84% of Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime" -National Institute of Justice

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Unless you are Indigenous yourself, you may not have heard of the amount of Indigenous women missing across the United States and Canada.

The amount of news coverage of political candidates, celebrity gossip and other world events appear across our cell phone and laptop screens. Yet, we hear no discussions about Native American news. Specifically, the amount of Indigenous women that go missing every year. Seattle, WA is in the top 10 cities of most missing and murdered Indigenous women in the United States. As of June 2019, there are 56 Indigenous women missing just in the state of Washington (The Bellingham Herald). Why is it that each of these ladies get no news coverage?

Despite popular belief, we are a minority. Our peoples used to be in the hundreds of millions. The goal of colonization and assimilation was to wipe us out completely. We are still here. This creates a problem for non-natives because that means we will still continue to fight for land and water rights and sovereignty. The best way to control us? Is to ignore us. They ignore our achievements but highlight the problems in our communities. They constantly discuss alcoholism and gambling problems in new reports but ignore our missing women.

They ignore us and do not value our women. This is a huge problem. How can we as Indigenous people continue to feel alienated and invisible in our own country? Our own land and water? The land our ancestors took care of for thousands and thousands of years. When they do not value our rights, they do not value our missing women. If a girl from an upper-middle class family goes missing, you hear about it non-stop from the moment it happens. Even months and year later, we continue to get news updates on her. I am not saying this is a bad thing, the woman missing deserves to be searched for. But why do Native women go missing and we hear nothing? Why are their lives not worth the same?

People fight to the ends of the earth to find their loved ones. The news continues to shadow over our missing Indigenous women. What you can do right now is fight against that. If you see a post about a missing Indigenous women, share it. Let your peers and family know so they to can keep a look out for these missing women. Show support in your city by going a MMIW march.

They are our sisters, after all.

For more information:

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Report: http://www.uihi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Missing-and-Murdered-Indigenous-Women-and-Girls-Report.pdf

National Indigenous Women's Resource Center: http://www.niwrc.org/

Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women: https://www.csvanw.org/mmiw/

Deb Haaland fighting for Indigenous Women in Congress:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/02/missing-murdered-indigenous-women-deb-haaland

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