Feminism. Defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as: (1) the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes and (2) organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests.
And the third definition of feminism: Me.
We live in a world that's defined by change. A world that has continued and survived due to the evolution of humanity. In technology, in science, in medicine and most importantly, in social change.
The America my grandparents grew up in is much different than the America I grew up in. I was a child of technology, my grandfather was a child of World War II. I grew up in a country that was built on diversity and that celebrated the many people that make this country what it is. But, I also grew up with the societal understanding that my male counterparts were better, because they were men. An idea that has been around for as long as society itself.
Luckily, I was raised by incredibly hardworking, strong, independent women that taught me what it means to be a woman. Who instilled in me the value of being a woman, even when the patriarchy was telling me I had no value at all. So while society said being a man was better, I was being taught that all people deserve equal rights. I was a feminist from day one.
However, it took me a little while to accept that title because the word "feminist" — for some reason — insults people. There's a negative connotation that comes with it because there's a general assumption that all feminists are angry and unkind and hate men. But, like any group of people, we don't all fit into the same box. I am a feminist because I believe in equal rights. I am a feminist because I believe women should be paid the same as men for doing the same job. I am a feminist because I believe a woman's body is her own and she is the only one that can make decisions regarding it. I am a feminist because I believe that girls should know that they are just as important as boys and that they can do anything they want, regardless of their gender or what society says. I am a feminist because I believe girls and boys should be raised as equals.
I don't hate men, I hate the patriarchy. I hate that misogyny still exists in the twenty-first century because the patriarchy is scared that women can make a positive change in this world. A change that can't be made by men. And that's why I'm a feminist. The patriarchy shouldn't have the right to oppress women — or anyone for that matter — due to fear. It's 2017, ain't nobody got time for that.
I support my fellow women because I want my cousins to grow up in a world that accepts and acknowledges them. I support my fellow women because my mom, grandma and aunt taught me to be the best woman I can be for my sisters. I support my fellow women because I am a woman and I wouldn't have it any other. I am here for humanity, no matter the starting place; all genders, all sexualities, all races, all religions, all people.
"I am not free while any women is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own." -Andre Lorde