I'm A 19-Year-Old Female And I Am A Feminist

I'm A 19-Year-Old Female And I Am A Feminist

There's more to feminism than an Odyssey article can explain.
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Recently, Odyssey shared an article on its Facebook page titled, “I'm An 18 -Year-Old Female And I Will Never Be A Feminist.” I read it, interested in learning where the author and I differed in our opinions. I grew up believing that “feminist” was an empowering word as it stood for someone willing to fight on behalf of equality. But as I read Macey's article, I was struck by how she never actually touched on what the definition of feminism is; rather, she talked about common misconceptions rooted in a personal understanding of what "modern day feminism" represents.

Macey: I’m not writing this to start a fight or to say you’re wrong. I just want to offer you clarification on what feminism offers women, including you. While I can't speak for everyone, I feel like you might have gotten a misconstrued image of the term "feminist"; thus, I would like to offer another way to view feminism, a way that maybe you haven’t thought of, just as I had not thought of yours.

I grew up in a house led equally by a mother and father who believed in me. They didn’t tell me I could do everything, because, like Macey, I too cannot possibly “carry a 190-pound man back to a safe zone after he was shot on the front line of a war even if I tried.” But they also didn’t stop me from setting my mind to something. For years growing up, I played on ice hockey teams dominated by boys and my dad coached me just the same. When I turned 12, he told me that I had the option to play on an all girls travel team and ultimately, I joined the girls team and made some fantastic friends.

But the key thing to note in that statement is that my dad didn’t tell me I had to stop playing on boys house teams, or even stop playing hockey because it isn’t a feminine sport. Everything in my life has been my decision: my career path, where I go to college, what I do my free time, what I wear, and my physical appearance. Growing up with modern feminist parents gave me the opportunity to have the freedom and support in making any choice just as much as my brother would.

In regards to your claims that feminists hate Donald Trump because it’s “cool”, I would like to toot my own horn and bring back my article regarding why “locker room talk” isn’t acceptable. I don’t hate Donald Trump because my friends do, or because I voted for Hillary Clinton, or simply because I’m a Democrat; I don’t believe he is a capable leader and I don’t think he’s open-minded enough to run a country with such a diverse population. And yes, being a feminist does play into my perception of Trump because I think it sends the wrong message that we’ve elected a sexual predator to the White House.

But even so, I live my life day to day without checking his Twitter. I too am not spending my time running a revolution against anyone who likes him. But that’s not because I’m a feminist; that’s because I, as an individual, just do not like him.

You said it perfectly: Women must stand up for what they believe in and be strong in their shoes. That’s modern feminism, that’s what feminism overall gives women the ability to do. It has given us education, voting rights, career opportunities, and control over our own lives. That’s it.

So when I say I’m a feminist, I’m not saying that I hate boys, or that I think girls are always unequivocally smarter or better, or that we are built equally. What I am saying is that I believe everyone should have just as much right to get paid the same amount for the same amount of work, to not be told how to take care of their bodies, to not be told they can’t do something just because of their gender, to feel safe when walking across campus at night, to feel safe at all times in our lives, to be told that I can train enough and lift a 190-pound man if I ever should so want to.

Feminism is complex and nuanced and intersectional in so many directions. It is also, however, not easily disproved by telling me that I physically can’t lift that much. You’re right; I’m 5’1” and have no upperbody strength, I can’t even dream of being able to lift a man that weight. But feminism, to me, means that I still have value if I were to fight on the front line. It means that I won’t be told to stop before I have the chance to try.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Why Getting Financially Stable is Too Difficult

Becoming 18 and having freedom is every kid's dream, but the reality of it hits you hard. The problem is not the laziness of people, but the system is set up in a bad way.

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Turning 18 is a big deal in life because you are finally a legal adult and your about to graduate from high school. It is a new experience for young adults because now all the pressure is on and you in control of your own life. The freedom and ability to choose your own path is a great problem to have because the opportunities are endless on what a person wants. The problem that kids do not realize and I think need to be changed is the cost of trying to get comfortable living in life.

One major problem is the number of bills that young people have to start paying for themselves. A car is a necessity to get a person to school or work and car insurance is the most expensive at a younger age due to the lack of inexperience and the increased risk of a child participating in poor behavior while operating the vehicle. Most people need a cell phone for many uses and that is another expensive bill. The more people on a plan the cheaper it is, but most people only get their own.

Some parents expect children to pay their own bills and get a job while they attend college or tech schools to learn responsibilities and start supporting themselves. Although some parents make children pay rent and utilities or ask them to get their own place and that is had to do when only working a minimum wage job without school experience. Getting a college degree or certified in a tech school can take 2 years, but if the student has to work a lot to support themselves then it takes longer to just get their basic knowledge for their job.

Establishing credit is something that many young adults struggle with because no place wants to give you the first chance to do it which makes no sense. People will apply for loans and credit cards and be denied because they have no credit, but you can't get any because you are not given the fair chance to work hard at making your payments on time and avoiding falling into a huge amount of debt. Credit cards can help teenagers with emergency situations and can help them attempt to establish their future credit when they need to make a purchase on a home or car. These are necessities in everyday life and the fact that nobody wants to be the first to trust you is extremely annoying and not fair.

The responsibility of learning to budget money and make the payments on time would be great if they were affordable for students. They should have small set limits to start out to teach them how to budget their credit card. Credit cards can be dangerous if you spend too much that is not within your financial means, but they are a good way to get established for the future. Buying a house is a big deal and if a younger adult does not have any credit they will easily be denied if they do not have good credit with tons of experience in paying their debt back.

Obtaining school loans is the hardest task I have ever had to deal with. I have struggled to get approved due to our absurd system of needing a cosigner to sign for the student. Most college kids are pretty responsible because they typically are maturing and gaining plenty of responsibilities and they have gained knowledge from their parents to become better. Parents have their own finances to worry about and being an adult at 18 or older we wanted to take the responsibility on ourselves to take out the loans. Taking out the loans in your own name can make a person feel good that they have been given the opportunity and work harder knowing you're doing this all by yourself and becoming a full adult.

The way the world is set up is a little too difficult for a younger adult to get established in their career and schooling to ensure they live a happy and healthy life. The key to a persons success is finding what they want to do and making sure they have the right schooling or certification to get in the career field they choose. People will all need to have money and credit to get necessities like houses and cars in their lives in order to provide for their families to ensure they are happy and healthy. Young adults have a lot of stress and change happening in their lives and they are still trying to gain the knowledge, experience, and opportunities they need to become stable with their money so they can enjoy their job and come home to their family and be happy.

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