I'm Tired Of The Stigma Surrounding My Identity As A 'Feminist'
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I'm Tired Of The Stigma Surrounding My Identity As A 'Feminist'

Do you believe in equal rights for all? "Yes, but I'm not a feminist."

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feminists protesting outside of state house
Beth Ricks

I was in my writing class when an argument broke out about some silly little prompt. People were flying off the handle over these two women who ran a business and their reaction to a business inquiry which they had deemed sexist. They didn't like being referred to as "ladies" and that this man seemed to feel he was more competent than them, by the wording of his letter. a few men chimed in, and the things they said intrigued but worried me at the same time.

This encounter got me thinking. Why did both some men and some women defend these remarks which seemed blatantly sexist to me?

And then it hit me, people are afraid of being labeled as a "feminist."

A boy said "what does it matter if they are called ladies?" and I thought, "because they don't want to be called ladies." Now I have no idea what his thoughts are on feminism, but I know that a lot of people associate it with being obnoxious and plenty of women don't associate with the term. However, without first-wave feminism, there would be no voting rights, and we might still be churning butter with six children at home (which is fine if you want that, but it's not for me).

So, why has it become so negative to be a "feminist?"

As a white woman, I have it easy, and I cannot speak for the struggles of women of color, but I acknowledge that my struggling is different. A lot of modern-day American feminism is whitewashed, but that's not how it is always going to be if people continue to educate themselves. So maybe yes, you are happy with the status you hold in society, as I am due to my renowned privilege and all the opportunities that I have been given, but there are people who aren't.

We see those people in the news, the girls with their shirts off, screaming, and people spit "see look at those feminists at it again" like its a dirty word. Yes, there are extremists, but there are also extremists in every group of people and these women are not hurting anybody. They are simply speaking their truth and advocating for their rights be valued as more than children-bearing, sexual objects for men.

I will not sit here and tell all women that they need to become a liberal protestor fighting for rights with pink hats on because it is a right to choose. However, do not put other women down or make them feel bad for being too "preachy" because they want to go out and join in with movements like #MeToo. Remember that the first amendment applies to freedom of peaceful assembly.

I would say that currently, this country needs to focus on stopping the 304 mass shootings that have occurred this year, but that doesn't mean small actions cannot be taken to reduce biases expressed towards women. Cat calls need to stop, women need to be compensated fairly for the same work as men, and the microaggressions exhibited toward women as the weaker sex need to end.

"But by calling it feminism, it is completely leaving out men, call it humanism."

But no, think of it this way.

You really want a cookie, but it's at the top of the cabinet. You struggle and try to get the cookie and just can't seem to do it, but your friend was born with a ladder and can easily get the cookies. Feminism is that ladder that is going to help you get those cookies. if the ladder is too big you will hit your head. If it's too small you won't reach the cookies, so it must be EQUAL. It is a way for women to rise up to the same status as men and renounce their stigmatized status.

As Beyoncé once said, quoting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, "Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes."

I am a feminist, and I'm not ashamed of it.

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