What's So Wrong With The F-Word?

What's So Wrong With the F-Word?

Just so we are clear, the word is feminist.

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I walk around my campus proudly with pins all over my backpack. Most of them reading empowering statements. "Feminist AF," "Girl Gang" and "Pro-choice, Pro-pugs, Pro-Pizza" (my personal favorite). I wear them because they are fun, because they reflect my values and because girls are strong as hell.

I ALWAYS end up getting THAT comment. The one from a boy looking to make a joke to degrade women, yeah I know, hilarious. "You must hate men, right?" Only the misogynistic, uninformed ones!! For some reason, there is this stigma that surrounds the simple idea of girls supporting girls. What's wrong with that?

I decide to call myself a feminist not because I'm into an institution full of men-hating, obnoxious and over-sensitive women because that's definitely not what feminism is about. It is a movement of individuals that believe women and men should be treated equally. That's it. It is not as radical as people make it out to be. The stigma that surrounds the word itself makes people scared to label themselves a feminist.

Part of the way feminism is viewed has to do with the way it has evolved. To many young girls, it has become a trend that they like to advertise across their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter hoping to gain the followers of the "girl gang." This is an awesome way to promote self-love, and confidence in women but at the same time, it stigmatizes feminism even more, making it seen as a "trend." This evolution of the term in no way lessens the fact that a woman earns 80.5 cents for every dollar a man earns. Or that one in five women will be raped at some point in their lives. And, it absolutely does not validate demeaning comments towards women. What many heedless men that mindlessly spew comments are ignorant to is how much harder it is for women in this world than they think.

They will never get the feeling I get when I walk outside as passing men holler degrading comments out their car window.

Or when my mom gives me pepper spray to "defend myself" when I travel to New York City alone.

When I screenshot my male Uber driver's information and send it to my parents, just in case.

When I pretend to be on the phone with someone to avoid a staring man from approaching.

When I pick out the right outfit that is cute but doesn't make me look too "slutty."

Thinking that I have to say "sorry" even after a minor inconvenience.

Saying "no" and being labeled "prude."

Of course, I know being a man is not a walk in the park and both men and women have their own struggles. I am trying to diminish the stigma around feminism as I am sick and tired of living my life in fear of walking alone. In fear of being judged. In fear of the capability of a man. I don't want to be the one to enforce the stereotype that all guys have malicious intent towards girls because that is not the case at all. I want to believe that guys like my brother will do the right thing when necessary. I want to bring my future daughters into a world where they could just be girls.

Yeah, girl power is cool but what is even cooler is universal respect for everyone!

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I Support Late-Term Abortions, That Doesn't Make Me A Baby-Hating Monster

A late-term abortion is a horrible, devastating and heartbreaking choice... but one I'm glad women have.

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If you think that late-term abortions are for mothers who get to 8.5 months and then randomly decide they no longer want to have a baby, then don't even read this article. This article is not to argue with ignorance. Read some unbiased articles, actually, think about it for two seconds and then realize that women who are due any day now aren't just going to terminate their pregnancies because it is "legal" now. (It is not.)

I've seen so many posts and comments and arguments, the crux of them being, "I can't imagine aborting my child after 24 weeks."

Well, guess what... The women this law will apply to probably can't imagine it, either.

Nearly all abortions occur in the first trimester of pregnancy (approximately 91.1%). This tells us what is (more than likely) a pretty obvious fact: That beyond the first trimester, most women are planning to keep their baby (or give him or her up for adoption). So you can imagine that even being presented with the option of termination would be heartbreaking.

Imagine this: You're pregnant and absolutely ecstatic to bring a child into the world. You go in for an appointment at 30 weeks. During the exam, your doctor is quiet. You are growing extremely anxious. They tell you that they have some bad news. Your daughter has a serious condition, one that will allow her to live less than a year. They can perform a c-section, she will be in the NICU for a long time, but even once you take her home, she has an extremely low chance of survival. Her life will be painful. Or, they can perform an abortion.

What do you choose? For some, they absolutely cannot fathom the idea of termination. They'd rather take a chance at life. And for some, they cannot even fathom the idea of watching their child live a painful, short life that will end in incredible heartbreak.

Both of these are traumatizing decisions. Your pregnancy and your hope for the future and your plans for the child you are so excited for have come crashing down. This is not a lightly made decision. And if you would choose to take your chances, pray for a miracle and get to hold your child in your arms, you should have every single right to.

But if you decide that the trauma of terminating your pregnancy without having to fall further in love with your child and watch him or her struggle every day and deal with the gutwrenching pain of losing them, you should have every single right to make that choice, too.

This is not cut and dry. This is something that changes from woman to woman, from family to family. But one thing stays the same: Learning that the life that you planned for your baby can no longer be as you desperately hoped is heartbreaking. It is a uniquely horrific feeling that, you're right, you can't imagine. No one can imagine it until they're living it. I write about it and I think about it and I have to assume that there is nothing in this world that can prepare you for it.

Posting and commenting that women who choose the path of late-term termination are monsters or killers or heartless is wrong.

Picture this: A pregnant woman and her husband, sitting in an exam room alone after learning devastating news about their pregnancy. They're holding one another, sobbing, thinking through their options. Trying to decide if ending their pregnancy, crushing the hopes and dreams they had for their little baby is the right choice, or continuing on and hoping for a miracle but knowing they should prepare for the heartbreak of their lives. Picture them, through tears, while holding an ultrasound photo to their chest, telling the doctor they choose to terminate. Picture them going home, sitting in the nursery they decorated, calling their parents and telling them their grandchild won't be arriving.

Are you picturing a couple of monsters? A couple of heartless killers?

Or do you see a family put into an impossible situation, trying to make an impossible decision for themselves and their unborn child? A family who threw a baby shower and decorated their nursery and argued over the perfect name for months. Who took progress photos of their baby bump, who talked about what sports their kid would play, who had to hear the devastating news that turned their world upside down?

I don't see a monster. I don't see a killer.

I see pain, I see hardship, I see love.

And I hope that you do, too.

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It's Time To Start Standing Up For Yourself

A lot of people let others walk all over them but it's time to start standing up for how you feel.

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Whenever you've got into a confrontation or fight or anything that even resembles an argument, someone always says be the bigger person. What does that really mean? To some people, it means completely ignoring the whole situation and everyone's emotions and that isn't fair. Or maybe to some people it means letting them scream at you and you apologizing and just taking the blame.

Being the bigger person shouldn't mean these things. It should mean making sure no one is treating you poorly or taking advantage of you. Now maybe don't take it so far to become mean or a bully because that's just awful behavior.

Standing up for yourself is so empowering. If someone close to you is hurting you or taking advantage or anything you don't like, just a simple conversation can keep it from escalating. If you have a friend calling you names, even if it is just a joke, you can say something and not be a buzzkill or jerk. You 100% should feel comfortable and confident no matter who you're with.

So many times in my life I've wanted to save a friendship or relationship so I just ignored or took what other people were doing to me. This even happened and it led to an abusive relationship where I felt stuck and didn't see an out. It was an extremely eye-opening experience that taught me to never let any hurt me.

To say this is easier than doing it. Start small, if someone says something hurtful towards you just ask them not to do it again. If that person continues to hurt you leave the room or space. You need to take control of your own life and write your own story.

Life is a lot better when you live it free of worries and pain.

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