It's Time For 'Choice Feminism' To Die

It's Time For 'Choice Feminism' To Die

And we have to kill it.
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My generation has a feminism problem. A lot of people have said this, and most of those people are the kind we shouldn’t be listening to — pick-up artists, alt-right activists, Republican congressmen. They think our feminism problem is that we have feminism at all. But I’m not concerned about those people. I’m concerned about the people who think that all that’s needed to become a feminist is to say that you are one. I’m concerned about people who claim that any choice a woman makes, no matter how damaging it may be to herself or others, is a feminist choice simply because it’s a choice made by a woman. It’s like "Incredibles" supervillain Syndrome says about what happens when everyone is super — if everything is described as feminist, how do we determine what’s feminist and what isn’t?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about how to express my convictions about feminism without directly attacking the idea that all choices are feminist ones, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not possible. In order for feminism that accomplishes things to exist, choice feminism has to die, and we have to be the ones to kill it. We have to stop blindly accepting declarations of “I’m a feminist” from politicians, celebrities, family members, and friends. Instead, we have to judge them by their actions. A politician who doesn’t strive to protect women’s rights and speak up when those rights are threatened isn’t feminist, no matter what their campaign material says. A celebrity who refuses to even recognize the negative impact their work has on girls and women isn’t feminist, even if they claim to be. And family members and friends, no matter how loving and supportive they may be, aren’t feminist when they criticize your appearance, your career choices, or your way of speaking on the basis of your gender.

If we stop uncritically accepting other people’s assertions of feminism when they aren’t backed up by their actions, we also have to stop uncritically accepting our own anti-feminist behaviors. Nobody’s innocent of this. I’m certainly not. When I was younger, I judged other girls and women by their appearances because I was afraid that’s what they were doing to me. And maybe they were, but that doesn’t excuse what I said and did. If my goal is to be a true feminist, I have to support other women and girls, even if I disagree with their choices.

But in return for my unconditional support, I’m going to ask my fellow feminists a favor. Think critically about your own decisions. Ask yourselves why you’re doing something, and don’t believe people who tell you that all it takes to be a feminist is to say that you are one. Support your fellow women and girls, because you can’t expect them to have your back if you don’t have theirs. Expect to be treated well, and speak up when you aren’t being treated well. Stand up for each other. And don’t be afraid to admit you’ve made mistakes.

Thinking critically means realizing you’re not perfect and striving to get better. And that’s what being a real feminist is all about.

Cover Image Credit: Flaunter

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Please, If You're Somehow Still Using The 'R Word'— Leave That Habit In 2018

Come on guys, its 2018. Google a new word.

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Maybe it was because I witnessed two boys get in trouble in elementary school for using this word as an insult.

Maybe it's because I fell in love with a thing called Camp Able. Maybe it's because one of my best friends is a special ed major. Or maybe it's because I try to be a decent human being. I do not use the R word.

Until this past semester, I hadn't really heard anyone use it often despite one encounter in 6th grade. Most of my best friends I have met while serving at places like Camp Able or Camp Bratton Green where summers are dedicated to people with diverse-abilities. I think having been surrounded with like-minded people for so long made me forget that some people still use it as an expression.

Let me tell you, it's annoying.

The word itself has been brushed off even in a "scientific" sense. It means to be slowed down, but it has stretched far beyond that meaning and has turned into an insult.

It's an insult of comparison.

Like any word, the power behind it is given by the user and most times, the user uses it to demean another person. It's like when you hear someone say "that's gay."

Like, what? Why is that term being used in a derogatory sense?

Why is someone's sexuality an insult? Hearing someone use the R-word physically makes me cringe and tense up. It makes me wonder what truly goes on in someone's mind. People will argue back that it's "just a word" and to "chill out," but if it was just a word, why not use something else?

There is a whole world full of vocabulary waiting to be used and you're using something that offends a whole community. Just because you don't care, it does not mean it shouldn't matter. Just use a different word and avoid hurting a person's feeling, it really is just that simple.

There is not a good enough reason to use it.

I volunteer at two summer camps: Camp Bratton Green and Camp Able. If you know me, I talk nonstop about the two. More realistically, if you know me, it's probably because I met you through one of the two. Even before I was introduced to the love at Camp Able, I still knew that this was a word not to use and it never crossed my mind to think of it.

The history behind the R-word goes back to describe people with disabilities but because of the quick slang pick up it was sort of demoted from the psychology world. Comparing someone or something that is negative to a word that you could easily avoid speaks volumes about who you are as a person.

The word is a word, but it is subjective in its meaning and in its background.

Just stop using it.

A List of Objective Words/Phrases to Use:

Fool/Foolish

Blockhead

Nincompoop

Silly

Ludicrous

Dim-witted

Trivial

Naive

"A few beads short on the rosary"

"On crack or something"

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6 Things You Notice When You Transfer From A Community College To A University

Transferring to a university from a community college could be the most stressful and rewarding thing you ever do.

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After spending four years of my life taking classes on and off at a community college in the middle of Michigan and living at home with my parents, I finally decided to make the move and transfer to Eastern Michigan University to finish my degree. I still have a lot of work to do, but making this transition really helped me focus on what I need to do.

Here are the top 6 things I noticed after transferring to a big school from a small community college.

1. No matter how easy it might seem to get everything transferred, it's not.

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Maybe I've just had a bad experience, but everyone I've known that has transitioned from a community college to a university seems to have the same horror stories about the process involved with transferring: and it sucks.

Not only is there a ton of paperwork and appointments to go to with various advisers that all tell you different things, but sometimes the credits (a.k.a. the hard work you've put in at your previous school) just don't transfer for whatever reason. It's stressful, and anyone who says it doesn't have some kind of mental capability or superpower that I wish I had.

2. Students get way more involved.

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A big difference between community college and universities is how spirited the students get! At a community college, people pretty much just go to class and then go home. At EMU, it's all about the eagles! There are so many clubs and organizations to get involved in and sporting events to go to, and it's really refreshing to be around people who love their school! It makes a huge difference and makes you feel like you're part of something bigger.

3. There really is no college town like YOUR college town.

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College towns really are a whole other world. Everything on campus is close together, and there are lots of "spots" in town where students hang out regularly. It's almost like each university is in its own little snow globe that is separate from the rest of the world. And I love it.

Ypsilanti, MI is starting to feel like a home away from home for me, and I know lots of students feel the same way about their college towns. Whether it's weekly trivia nights at the local pizza joint or walking to Insomnia Cookies at 1 a.m., every university has staples that make it unique.

4. You don't see people you went to high school with every day.

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My community college was like part two of high school for me. This is because it was so close to where I graduated, and the fact that it's cheap and an easy way to ease into college. I used to see so many people in classes and in the hallways that I already knew from high school, so it wasn't much of a change and didn't really feel like college. (I'm not by any means bashing people who start at community colleges either, I think they're a great place to start.) Since my university is almost two hours from home, there was pretty much no one I already knew here. New city, new school, new people.

5. The friends you make will be longer lasting with stronger bonds.

Kristin Madaj

This is not to say that I didn't enjoy anyone in my classes at community college. I made a few friends there, but it's a lot different. I pretty much only saw those people in class, and then everyone goes home afterward.

At universities, many people live on campus or near it, so they are around a lot more and have time to hang out. I've made some lifelong friends already this year in my classes and especially in the building I live in. I hang out with my roommates every day, and I see the people who live in my building pretty often too. It's a community where we all have a lot in common, and the friendships are lasting.

6. You have a chance to start all over!

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Because everything is new and different when most people transfer to a university, you have a chance to make a whole new start for yourself! No one knows you or your past failures, no one knows who you dated in high school or what your reputation was. New school, new you!

Bottom line: transferring to a university after being at a community college for a few years can be stressful. It can be difficult and a lot different than what you're used to. But it was one of the best things I've ever done. I'm only one semester in and I've already made so many memories and met so many amazing people! And those people will be there for all of your stresses and bad days. If you're getting ready to make the transition or even thinking about it, I hope you fall in love with your new school and home as much as I did.

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