Why I'm A Feminist

Why I'm A Feminist

We live in a time where there are more rules governing what we shouldn’t do than what we should and can do.
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In the wake of the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement, there are extremely polarizing opinions on what it means to be a feminist. Coming from a fairly conservative area in the south, often times, people are confused or shocked when they find out I'm a feminist.

So here’s my story on why I chose to join, quite frankly, an extremely divisive and controversial movement:

My identity as a feminist didn’t come as some sort of awakening or existential crisis, but an identity that slowly manifested over time. See, I was raised in a single-parent household where I was told that women could do anything and everything by themselves. That being said, growing up I wasn’t just taught how to cook by my mom, but how to build furniture, paint walls, and do my taxes. (Sorry, Mom, I still need some help on that one), along with many other traditionally male roles.

I took for granted that women are equals to men because that’s what I had experienced my whole life. As a result, I stood oblivious to the fact that many other people had never experienced the same reality as me. Thus, I never thought of myself as a feminist because, to me, women’s rights weren’t a humanitarian issue or an issue at all.

As I grew older, I became more knowledgeable about the issues that women face, but being a feminist was never part of my identity because it seemed like something so distanced and extreme from the world that I lived in.

However, during the 2016 election season, I began to notice the small, but still extremely degrading actions happening around me. I never experienced anything traumatic or life changing that made me identify as a feminist, but it was the monotonous, daily actions that soon helped to mold who I am.

Whether it was being ignored by my male classmates in an engineering class, or catcalled while walking back from the library, I began to realize that women are, in fact, an oppressed class and that something needs to be done.

Women are under the constant reminder to utilize their bodies as Swiss Army Knives— to stand in a constant mode of defense against the world. We are the girls taught to live via a checklist: don’t drink the PJ at parties (check), travel with a group of girlfriends when going out (check), don’t raise your hand too much in class or you’ll seem like a bitch (check).

We live in a time where there are more rules governing what we shouldn’t do than what we should and can do. We live in a time where female oppression is not an isolated experience, but something that all women experience —where having a friend harassed at a party is a weekend, not a life-altering event.

I want a city where my body isn't public property, where what I wear is an outfit, not a welcome mat. A place where Mace is not my go-to accessory in my purse. I want a school where I'm no longer told I'm "brave" for majoring in a predominately male field. And that is why I am a feminist.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Figard

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Gillette Somehow Faces Backlash For Saying That Women Should Be Treated Like People

I mean seriously, what just happened?

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I've always found it funny when conservatives make fun of liberal "snowflakes" the get offended by everything only to burn their Nikes when the company ran an ad with a guy they don't like. Another example of this hypocrisy happened just this week.

In case you've been living under a rock for the last week or so, the razor company Gillette, also the namesake of the New England Patriot's stadium released an ad that has divided the internet just as effectively as any blue and black dress...or white and gold...whatever. How were they able to accomplish this? All it took was a simple advertisement.

The ad played on Gillette's famous slogan, "The Best A Man Can Get." It went on to show casually sexist men catcalling, stalking, and silencing women, an experience that I'm sure any woman can relate to. The men in the commercial responded with the age-old excuse of "boys will be boys" and dismissed these events. However, as the ad progresses other men begin to intervene on the women's behalf and basically saying that this crap ain't right, which it's not. The ad ends with a text saying "It's only by challenging ourselves to do more than we can get closer to our best."

Personally, I thought nothing of the ad. To me, all it was saying was "please don't be a dick to women. Women are people too." I found these positions to be pretty reasonable, and the advertisement left my mind completely...until the next morning. Remember how I thought the ad was reasonable? Yeah, not everyone else thought so.

Social media was inundated by those who hated the ad, and many were calling a boycott of Gillette in response to it. This, of course, started another one of those respectful, thoughtful and nuanced conversations that the internet is known for...I'm kidding.

It was a bloodbath with accusations of sexism and toxic masculinity and toxic femininity and Nazism and communism and so many other political buzzwords that even Fox News would've had an aneurysm.

As I read as many comments and tweets as I could (as much as I could stomach anyway), I found that the vast majority of negative responses boiled down to two basic complaints. The first of these is the accusation that the ad paints all men as rapists and woman-haters, demonizing an entire gender. However, if you actually watched the ad for more than thirty seconds, you would see that this is bullshit.

The ad doesn't paint all men as trash, just the ones that are acting like trash.

In fact, there are even men in the ad holding other men accountable for their actions. In my opinion, if you think that the ad is treating men like trash for no good reason, then you probably see yourself in those trash men, which probably means that you are, in fact, also trash.

The other large complaint was that they saw it as liberal propaganda, with a lot of comments reading something along the lines of "keep politics out of my razors!" This of course, is only said when you disagree with the politics being pushed. If Gillette had run an ad with a more conservative angle, the same people bashing it now would have had no issue. Whenever someone says "I don't want politics in my [insert thing here]," they really mean "I don't want politics that I disagree with in my [insert thing here]." This goes for both sides of the political spectrum.

All in all, Gillette made a reasonable ad that promoted the idea that maybe we shouldn't treat women like objects that are meant to bring us pleasure. Unfortunately, Gillette underestimated the unholy amounts of sexism and right-wing hatred on the internet, which is only allowed to escape 4chan when something is about to utterly destroy the fabric of society....like a football player not standing for a song and other such world ending events. I find the ad pretty tame and harmless, but always remember that in the era of social media, the standards for outrage are extremely low, and only getting lower.

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