Saint Mary's Turned Me Into a Feminist

Saint Mary's Turned Me Into a Feminist

At SMC, I finally learned what it means to be a feminist.
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Saint Mary’s turned me into a feminist.

No, not a bra-burning, man-hating feminist. And I don’t believe believing in feminism means a woman has to pursue a career, be pro-choice, forgo girly things, vote Democrat, or anything else stereotypically “feminist.” To me, feminism is having options.

When I came to Saint Mary’s, I really wasn’t all too into feminism and gender rights. To be honest, I actually was in opposition to the whole thing. “Gender equality isn’t an issue anymore,” I’d assert. “Feminism is outdated and unneeded.” To be frank, I felt feminism should just be ignored.

But then I chose a women’s college, where feminism is anything but ignored. I came to Saint Mary’s thinking I’d never get rid of my original values, and that I wouldn’t be influenced by all the #YesAllWomen around me. But, then I took Marne Austin’s Comm class (and about a dozen Women’s Voices courses, because really, most classes are), and saw "Miss Representation" at least 300 times, and I finally started seeing the issue everyone around me was so fired up about it.

Once you’ve got all the facts, it’s pretty hard to say women and men are totally on par in the United States. Women make up 51 percent of this country, but only 17 percent of the seats in Congress are held by women. Because you know, that’s an accurate representation of the U.S and that gender wage gap people love to tweet about is real; women make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. The gap even goes beyond gender: women are less likely to have access to health benefits and and retirement plans. And don’t even get me started on the number of stories I’ve heard about girls being asked to actually leave school and change because their outfit was “distracting” for male classmates.

So, all these facts and stories I heard about women definitely made me step up and see the importance of gender rights, but it took awhile for me to be okay with the word “feminist.” I mean, what is feminist? In high school, I pictured angry girls claiming they’d never get married, have kids or shave their legs. To me, feminists constantly ranted about “the patriarchy” and believed women should dominate men. Honestly, I pictured this:

But I came to SMC, and here, you see every sort of girl asserting her feminist beliefs, from the Lilly-wearing southern belles to the girls wearing pajamas to class. So if so many different people believe in feminism…what is it?

To me, feminism is having choices. Feminism doesn’t mean I have to have a thriving career, it means I can chose to. It doesn’t mean I have to forgo marriage, it means I don’t need a husband to define my value if I don’t want one. I can work in finance, or I can be a stay-at-home mom. I can shave my legs, or I can rock the peach fuzz. I can wear makeup to work, or I can go au naturel.

I’m pro-life, but I don’t disregard women who are pro-choice. We’re allowed to have different beliefs. I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton, but it’s not because of her gender. I fully support the idea of a woman president, I just don’t think Hillary Clinton is right for the job. I can’t wait to have kids, but I’m glad it isn’t the only path I have to take in life.


The point is, I have the choice. Feminism doesn’t mean I run around thinking I’m smarter and stronger than men, it means I have just as many options as they do. And that’s why I’m proud to call myself a feminist.
Cover Image Credit: Midge Blitz

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Making Abortion Illegal And Banning Birth Control Is Backwards For Society

Women's rights are at stake now.

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Roe V Wade is a landmark US Supreme Court case from 1973 that gives women the right to privacy and legalized abortion. However, recently the Alabama Senate voted to ban abortion at every stage of the pregnancy. Many other states have signed this bill known as "The Heartbeat Bill."

The name comes from the fact that the bill states that it will be illegal to terminate a pregnancy as early as 6 weeks when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. However, most women do not even know whether they're pregnant or not at 6 weeks, and doctors usually don't schedule to see pregnant women until 8 weeks. On top of all of this, this bill will have no exceptions for rape or incest. Under this law, a woman who is the victim of rape or incest will be charged with a felony for an abortion. And, doctors who illegally perform abortions could face up to 99 years in prison. Not only is this messed up but its extremely backward for all the progress we've made for women's rights.

Additionally, under the new Georgia Law, a woman who miscarries can be tried for second-degree murder. This makes absolutely no sense to me. In some cases, it is not the women's fault for miscarrying. It can happen naturally and it does happen often. Women who want children often miscarry as well. Not only is this law insane but it is degrading and strips a woman of her rights over her body.

Along with all of this, Ohio is trying to ban all forms of birth control. What the uneducated men that are signing these bills do not understand is that birth control has more than one purpose. There are many types of birth control that are used for various reasons. While many women do use them to prevent pregnancies, others use them to reduce pain from their menstrual cycle or to reduce acne. Because of our hormones, women's bodies are constantly going through change and in many cases, birth control can help reduce extreme changes.

I can not comprehend how a man is voting on a women's body and more importantly, a woman's choice. For a country that claims to be about freedom and the right to choose, they clearly don't seem to care about women. Throughout history, women have been fighting for equal rights and despite all of this, men still have the ability to essentially decide the fate of our lives. Women have many reasons for abortions including but not limited to: not being able to give their child a good life, not having the financial means, being victims of rape or incest and having to live with that trauma, etc. Additionally, birth control is something that women use for a variety of reasons and taking that away from us is outrageous. All of this is against Roe V Wade, however, it is sadly unlikely that our Supreme Court will do anything about it.

I am extremely heartbroken about this situation and the fact that after all these years of fighting we are back to square one. A woman's body should be her choice and not some uneducated white man's who has nothing to do with her. I hope that these bills are overturned and women across the country have their basic, human rights back.

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