What It Means To Be A Feminist In Trump's America

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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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?

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This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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