Calling Me A 'Modern-Day Feminist' Is Not A Bad Thing, But Nice Try

I Am A 'Modern-Day Feminist' Woman And I Don't Care If You Judge Me

When did being labeled a feminist become an insult? Why does it feel dirty to call myself a feminist? Why am I so conflicted?

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There is a really strange stigma around women who identify as a feminist. Several assumptions are that to be a feminist, you despise men and never shave your armpits. All though some women may feel compelled to choose this lifestyle, many do not. Feminists have acquired a negative reputation to the point that it feels almost dirty to say you are one, but that should not be the case!

A few days ago, one of my male peers (who I've known for quite some time) asked me "are you a feminist?" and for a second, I stopped to think about how I should respond. Will he think I'm weird? If I say yes, will he think I hate him? Will I have to justify myself? I see myself as a feminist and I know exactly what that entails, but many people often see feminism in a radical light. I turned to him with a smile on my face and a modest, "Yeah, I'd say so" in which my over-thinking was matched with the "Oh, cool" in response.

See, the thing is feminism takes many different forms. There is the "radical feminist" who sees the patriarchy as the governing evil of the world, and the "modern-day feminist" who works to see equal justice between all peoples no matter their gender identification, race, religion, or economic background. Often, when people think of the word "feminist" they visualize the first version of feminism. To each is their own, but in order to change the stigma of what feminism is, we must focus on the second version.

Modern-day feminists do not see men as their superior, but they also do not see them as my inferior. Throughout grade school, young girls are taught alongside their male counterparts that women can do anything that a man can do. Sooooo, when did we stop believing this? A major argument against feminism is "women are just not built to handle the physical labor a man can, therefore they are not equal" and of course, some women are not built as large as men… but sometimes men aren't built as large as the "average man" either. Does this make him any less of a man? Heck no! Some women are built larger than men, does this make her any less of a woman? No, sir! As a society, we need to stop attributing physical attributes to gender to attempt to justify if one gender reigns supreme over another one… that is irrelevant.

Also, major news flash!! Men and non-binary people can identify as a feminist. Feminism is not strictly interwoven into being a female, but it is intersectional as ANYONE WITH A PULSE CAN BE A FEMINIST! The thought of a feminist of being a crazy woman is just not true… we all aren't crazy, and we all aren't women! The "modern-day feminist" fights for social injustice issues amongst all people and creating legislation to protect everyone, not just women, therefore, they do not have to be just women!

Ladies have proven throughout history that they can be as badass as the men (sometimes even more badass), so why does it feel dirty calling yourself a proud feminist woman? Feminism has taken some negative connotations over the years as the changes in the feminist movement have shifted, but the current "fourth wave" movement is one to take in pride. Being called a feminist today is not an insult. Today, being a feminist does not mean you're angry, or that you hate men, or that you do not want to shape to the societal norms that women before you have set, it means that you want equality amongst all.

The definition of feminism is shaped differently in people's mind, however, modern-day feminism helps to create justice for all walks of life no matter who you are. The stigma around being a feminist must change in order to rid the taboo of being labeled as one and create the equality we want to see in the future. If feminists are people who want to see improvement for the health care of minorities, for equal rights for LGBTQ+ people, for more women in high power positions, and many other things… then I am damn proud to call myself a feminist woman.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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In Case You Haven't Heard, My Body Means My Choice, So Deal With It

With all the political differences and laws trying to be passed, based on what a woman can do with her body, demonstrates how the United States decides to use their power and control others by the means of it.

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Since the beginning of America, there have always been minority groups, which include African American, Hispanics, the disabled, homosexuals, and women. Such minority groups have made it their responsibility to fight for their rights and earn justice for it. However, there has recently sprung up a debate on abortion policies, attempting to alter and re-write the rules on Roe vs Wade per state to pursue when or if abortion is illegal based on certain circumstances.

Now, I am not writing this in any means to deter you from your individual opinion on this situation or your perspective, but I do believe that I have a voice in this situation since I am a woman and this situation affects me if any of you individuals like that or not. And most of all, I deserve to be heard.

Starting off, in no means should a man, government officials, or anyone for that matter be able to decide what is acceptable to do with my own individual body, EVER. How have we become a country that thinks it is more than okay to tell what others can do based on the decision of another person. See, we have this thing called bodily autonomy which means we have independence over our own body, or at least we should. A prime example of this is when an individual dies, a surgeon can not remove the person's organs (if they were an organ donor) until the designated power of attorney says it is okay to do so. However, it is apparently acceptable and illegal for someone who has become pregnant through rape or in general is unable to care for a child to receive an abortion and loses their bodily autonomy for the following 9 months. How does a corpse have more rights and bodily autonomy than a pregnant woman does today?

Currently, the state of Alabama has passed a bill that makes abortion illegal under any circumstances and committing this now known felony, can lead to a very long jail sentence. In fact, committing abortion in Alabama (for the woman or the doctor) can lead to a longer jail sentence than someone who raped another individual. Wow. How is that acceptable????

Many states are following in Alabama's lead and we need to put a stop to it before it becomes too far. We women, need to fight for achieving our bodily autonomy and band together and show America that we are a force to be reckoned with.

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