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I Am A Proud Feminist, But I Used To Be Ashamed About It

How I learned the real meaning of being a feminist

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fem·i·nist, feminist: noun

1. a person who supports feminism.

fem·i·nism, feminism: noun

1. the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Based on those definitions, I am a feminist. And I am not ashamed to be one. But if someone asked me if I was a feminist back when I was 15 or 16, I denied any relationship with the word.

Why?

Because to me, at that time, it meant being a "man-hater," a power-hungry activist, someone who was assertive or demanding. Someone who wanted to be better than men, or to make them seem obsolete. It's clear to see that at that time, I had no idea what it truly meant. I'm happy to say I know better now.

I am a feminist because my rights should be equal to men. I shouldn't have to work twice as hard to make less. I want to be a mother someday and I want my children to feel safe and proud of who they are in the world.

Because I was a college student who had been told that when I traveled abroad for a semester and got verbally and physically harassed, I should have just let it happen. And now, as a post-grad searching for a full-time job, I've been asked why I don't go into a field "more suited for me as a woman."

No one would dare say that to my male counterparts. But to me, as a woman? I've lost count of how many times it has happened to me. And a lot of times, I've let it slide. But not anymore.

I shouldn't have to walk in fear to my house every night when it is dark or feel compelled to call someone, anyone, on my phone just in case something happens. I have to clutch my keys in my pocket and remember the self-defense moves I learned on the Internet, just in case. I shouldn't have to worry if I'm being too loud or assertive in front of my male counterparts.

But more importantly, no one, regardless of gender identity, should have to worry about these things. This is what I am fighting for. I'm not fighting to be "better than men". I'm not fighting to have all of the power. I'm fighting for equal rights for everyone

I am a feminist. And while I used to be ashamed of the word, I am no longer so.

And if you have a problem with it, that's fine. I'd be more than happy to discuss those problems with you.

But please know that I am not planning on changing my ideas anytime soon. I am proud of who I am. And I hope one day all women can be proud of who they are too.

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