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.

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 “Feminism is outdated and unneeded.”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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?


Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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