Why I'm Not A Perfect Feminist
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Politics

I'm Still A Work In Progress But I'm Taking My Time To Figure It Out

The process of trying to combat years of negative associations as a woman

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I'm Still A Work In Progress But I'm Taking My Time To Figure It Out
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I find it difficult at times, to discern the right moment to present my social justice warrior self. As a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor, I've taken a bunch of classes that mainly consist of examining what appears to be the smallest of issues and relating them back into a bigger system of discrimination and power inequity. It's also much easier to tell someone one thing, and then do it yourself or vice versa.

For example, shaving. I, personally, can find myself going without shaving the usual areas, underarms, and legs, for quite a bit of time without being too bothered by it. Actually, that's not completely true. If I'm wearing shorts and my leg hairs have been thriving strong since last September, not bothered by it.

Wearing any type of tank top or sleeveless shirt or dress without shaving my armpits in over 2 weeks? Changes the game entirely, changes my outfit entirely and my outlook of the outing I was looking forward to attending.

Instead of focusing on enjoying time with my friends, I'm instead sweating even more than usual because I felt too insecure about the hair on my body and didn't have time to shave, so I'm stuck wearing a shirt with long sleeves that also happens to be in a darker color( which isn't the best when leaving in an area with heat indexes that exceed 100F).

It's very easy to think that my hair on certain areas of my body doesn't matter and that no your armpit hair is not going to make you smell as body odor is simply a cause of the bacteria that is present and will disappear with bimonthly waxing or shaving sessions. But reality hits hard and certain people can make you very self-conscious and honestly no one likes being judged.

At the same time, you're also thinking why it matters what other people think of your body hair and quite honestly I'm still not sure why the most appealing values tend to be traditionally masculine, but the moment that your body is seen as having whatever is seen as masculine features like body hair, you're an abomination and less of a woman or other gender identity.

Another issue that I deal with is that I can't wear certain clothes. Now I'm not talking about, it not being my style or just not an item that I don't care for like turtlenecks (which are terrible).

I haven't worn a skirt in a casual outing since I was in elementary school. Back then wearing skirts had slowly shifted from being inconvenient when playing at school or climbing trees in my backyard, to feeling uncomfortable at the looks I will occasionally get from strangers as I was a child and other situations where I shouldn't have had to worry about those things.

My style slowly evolved to eliminate skirts at every point in my life. My mom would still have me wear them for church and that was difficult but I was able to dodge them as I grew older. It's so easy for young people to attach negative associations to their bodies or clothes because of certain experiences growing up and for me, skirts were the line that I really didn't want to cross because unsettling comments about how grown I look or even just stares don't really help anyone.

Attempting to change that thought process is even more difficult when news outlets and other media tend to portray victims of any type of sexual assault as being in the wrong. Like oh, they were under the influence of alcohol and wearing a dress or skirt or whatever type of clothing they try and turn into a tool to use against the victim.

I have one skirt that I bought hoping to wear it maybe when going out with friends during the day or maybe even to class, but the thought of putting it on makes me feel exposed and like I just put another target on my back, which no one should even have to think like that.

It takes time as well support, which can come in the forms of seeing personal role models being outspoken about their own body insecurities and still having plenty of confidence or being inspired from a friend while also having them encourage you that you do look nice and that if anyone makes around move against you, they'll have your back.

So even if you're struggling to be following your own words of support as a feminist, let it be clear that things take time and there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the time to feel secure in your body and the space it occupies.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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