In A World Of 'Fake News,' Here's What It REALLY Means To Be A Modern-Day Feminist

In A World Of 'Fake News,' Here's What It REALLY Means To Be A Modern-Day Feminist

WE. DO. NOT. HATE. MEN.

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In a world where mass media influences society, where news is available 24/7, and where politics and social issues split countries in half, it is difficult to keep up. One thing we cannot do, however, is have this term "feminism" confused with something it isn't, amidst all of the other things happening in the world.

Feminism. The definition of feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Going based off of that definition, it is almost impossible to not agree with it. Equality amongst the genders. Equal pay for the same work, equal opportunities, equal say in issues that concern our surroundings. That makes sense, right?

Then why is that the actual term "feminism" has such a controversial connotation?

Some common misconceptions about what a feminist is and what feminists stand for are being confused with facts. Feminists, real feminists, do not hate men. Not all of us burn our bras, or follow one political party or not shave our armpits or blah blah blah blah blah, etcetera, etcetera. Do you see what I mean? While there are feminists who might do some of these things, the important thing to take away is that we need to stop being stereotyped into one mainstream category. It is difficult to really define feminism because it isn't simple. It is a complex movement that stands for a ton of different things. Feminist issues are issues of social justice. Feminists fight, or should fight, for equity for all of the genders and for the rights of those who cannot do it on their own.

I think that the thing that people get wrong about feminism is that the fight for equality is over. That feminism as a whole has "already succeeded." That is not the case. While it is true that today's women have more rights and freedoms than those of the women that have come before us, the fight for equality has only just begun.

Here is why:

As a white woman, I know that I have more privilege than women of color. Intersectional feminism is feminism. I know that women of color are paid less than white women and face discrimination, not only because they are women, but also because of their race. That white feminism is ruining the feminist movement.

That. Is. Messed. Up. That is why we still need feminism.

As a cisgender woman, I know that trans women face transphobic people on a daily basis and often fear for their safety for simply being themselves. That. Is. Messed. Up. That is why we still need feminism.

As a United States Citizen, I know that there are young girls in other countries who are denied education and are forced into marriages before they are 18. All they want is a chance to be someone other than a wife or mother. They are denied their right to live their own life. That. Is. Messed. Up. That is why we still need feminism.

As a middle-class woman, I know that I am lucky to have a roof over my head because while I sleep in the comfort of my own bed, there are people in poverty that are 12% more likely to be sexually assaulted than I am. That. Is. Messed. Up. That is why we still need feminism.

As a feminist, I know that these issues, amongst many others, cannot be swept under the rug. I know that these are the issues we march for. These are the rights that will not be denied.

I am a feminist. That, for me, means that all I want to be is the change I wish to see in the world. We've come a long long way, but there is so much more to do.

I am not trying to convince every single person reading this to identify as a feminist. I know that isn't realistic. All I hope is that whoever reading this opens up their mind and their heart just a little to see that all some people want is a voice. To be heard. That is what I think a huge part of being a feminist means. And that is why I will continue to fight this fight.

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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My Catholic School Would Never Do What The Covington Catholic #MAGAteens Did

I went to Catholic school since preschool and even with divided political beliefs, I have faith no one would have acted this way.

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I went to Catholic school my whole life. From preschool through high school.

The high school I went to definitely had divided political beliefs, but we embraced it. Instead of having a divide, we came together with clubs supporting voter registration and activism in your party of choice. We had a civics course and government course that required us to volunteer for campaigns.

On the religious side of things, we were required to complete service hours and it encouraged us to make change, learn about different cultures, and become involved. Throughout my time at Catholic school, I never was targetted by my race, political beliefs, or my view on religion.

It was not until I went to college outside of California that I started seeing changes in how people react to diversity. I am proud to have been raised in an environment that would have shut down and owned up to any severe or harmful actions their students would take.

In the era of a racial and political divide, it is important to remember the values that you were taught. Especially, when you involve religion.

The most important lesson I learned from Catholic school is to love your neighbor as yourself.

We are more similar than we are different. Especially in a melting pot like America. Become educated and aware before you target a group of people, who have not harmed you.

We can all learn a lot from the way Nathan Phillips handled the situation and we should all be alarmed about who was targetting him: the youth, the next generation.

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