You Are Not A Feminist, But I Am, For You

You Are Not A Feminist, But I Am, For You

Whether or not you want feminism, you still need it.
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I am a feminist. And that is okay.

A fellow Odyssey writer authored the very controversial piece “I Am Not A Feminist, And That Is Okay” about two weeks ago, and I’m pretty much positive you’ve seen it floating around social media since then. Thus far, it has received almost 170,000 shares on the online platform, a feat not many can say they’ve achieved. Writers have responded, readers commented, both in support and in dissent. A majority of the contention and dispute involves some confusion on the history and purpose of feminism, in addition to the fact that her message, though claiming to be anti-feminist, aligns closely with the fundamental beliefs of the movement.

But what I want to say to her is this: I don’t know who you are personally, but reading your articles, I can gather that you are a very kind young woman and an eloquent writer. I sense that you, being a fellow writer, read the works of other writers with an open mind. I’m sure you’ve seen the articles and the comments, trying to convince you that what you wrote it not as accurate as you feel it is. I can also tell that you are a human being, and you are just as entitled to your words, your feelings, and your identity as the next person. I’m sorry the world jumped down your throat. I do not want to give you a history lesson. I do not want to tell you that you are wrong to feel the way that you do. I do not want to try to explain things. I do not want to ‘clear things up.’ I do not want to argue. But in the same way that you choose to actively not pursue feminism, I choose to embrace it. And in the same way that I listened to your reasoning, I need you to listen to mine.

SEE ALSO: 6 Movies You Must Watch If You Consider Yourself A Feminist

Feminism, for me, is about so much more than equal pay. In fact, seeing as I like to write and to travel-- I’m pretty much doomed with the whole ‘pay’ thing. Equal pay is only one topic on an entire spectrum of issues that affects so much more than just gender. My feminism is about equal opportunities. What is more important to me than money? Education. Safety. Health. Choice. I will fight for your right to fall in love and get married and start a family just as hard as I will fight for the next woman’s right to become a CEO.

Even though I am not religious, my feminism does not deny religion. It does not deny the values of the bible. It does not deny what God has taught you.

My feminism does not wish for women to exclusively ‘run the world,’ but it fights for a world where people don’t give a flying freak about whether or not women run the world. My feminism isn’t about removing traditional female roles, it is about saying that tradition does not have to dictate what you or me or she or he has to do.

My feminism is about giving a voice to people who have not had the opportunity to speak or an audience to listen.

My feminism is about equality, yes, but it is also about humanity, which you completely neglected to acknowledge in your article.

I am a feminist-- but I also want to feel loved. I want to be fragile and nurturing sometimes. I want to be strong and aggressive sometimes. I want to be taken care of, but I also want to be independent. I want to be loved. I want a family. I want all these things that you want, and yet I am a feminist. Our biggest difference lies here: I have a title. And with that title comes a support system of both men and women who want me to have all of the above, and more.

But in a way-- I get it. The title ‘feminist’ is met with many unintended connotations, and that is not okay. You don’t want to be a ‘feminist’ because that word is so powerful that it threatens people. You don’t want to be a ‘feminist’ because you don’t want to meet the expectations of the negative ‘feminist’ picture that the very people who are afraid of feminism have fought hard to paint. There is so much negative publicity around the word ‘feminism’, in fact, that people have actually argued to change the name to ‘humanism’ instead. Would you identify with humanism? Because it’s basically the same thing.

The difference is that while feminism often intersects other movements, it is not fair or just to take away the spotlight and the credit from fighting for women simply because some people do not like the word. People have made feminism a dirty word, but that does not mean women should have to give up one of the very few things that is actually about them. Feminism gives women a voice, even the women who choose to criticize it.

And I know that there are always the feminists who are branded ‘bra burners’ and ‘men-haters’. They are the most vocal and the most active and the most talked about because they are the angriest. However, if they are truly feminist, then trust me, they don’t want to tell you what to do either. If they tell you that you have to do or be anything that you don’t want to do or be then they have a very distorted view of feminism-- and to chalk feminism up to that very minuscule population is is the same as saying that all Muslims are like radical Islamic extremist terrorists.

In other words, you can’t.

I am a feminist for the young girls around the world who are forced into marriage at the ripe age of thirteen. I am a feminist for the one out of every five young women who are sexually assaulted in college. I am a feminist for the men who want to be stay-at-home dads but feel like they can’t, because society expects them to be career-oriented. I am a feminist for the lower class African American woman who has worked her ass off her entire life and yet still has to fear violence each and every day of her life. I am a feminist for the 13,000 women and children victims just in Nepal, that are sold into sexual slavery for a mere ninety dollars, and are forced to have sex with up to forty people a day. I am a feminist for the twenty-one innocent transgendered women who were unjustly murdered in 2015-- their only crime being that they were women. I am a feminist for the single mother, who works endlessly and sacrifices everything to make ends meet, and who doesn’t complain about it for even a second. I am a feminist for the young woman who wants to find herself a good husband and raise a family and submit to him completely.

I am a feminist for this much and more. I am a feminist for my friends and family. I am a feminist for my future friends and family. I am a feminist for my future daughters and sons. I am a feminist for you. I am a feminist for me.

And finally-- I’m sorry. Whoever taught you feminism got it horribly wrong. Whoever gave you the idea that you can’t be a feminist and want all of the things that you want at the same time should not be allowed to utter the word ‘feminism’ ever again. I’m scared that at some point, someone in your life allowed you to actively denounce feminism, and that the same person is encouraging others to think the same thing. I’m sorry that you feel like you have to reject the movement that wants the very best for you. I’m sorry that at some point in your life, feminism was made into a dirty word.

I am a feminist. That is okay.

You are not. That is okay.

Because I am a feminist enough for the both of us.

One day, I hope I won’t have to be.

Thank you.


The most important way we can help is to be educated and use our voices. However, if you are looking for more active ways to become involved, please check out some of the following links:

http://feministing.com/

http://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/ (Sex Trafficking)

http://www.thetaskforce.org/stop-trans-murders/

http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/how-can-we-end-child...

http://www.heforshe.org/en


Cover Image Credit: Medium.com

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Gun Control Debate Comes Down To The Power Of God

My opinion on two parts to the most, in every sense of the word, "loaded" issue.
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There are a plethora of difficult issues in a Christian's life, and despite what it looks like on social media and mainstream media, gun control is high on that list. It pains me to see such a divide on this issue. Liberals are painted as children who want to give up all their rights, while conservatives are seen as idiots who value guns more than human life. And Christian conservatives are seen as hypocritical Pharisees, not unlike the Nazis.

But we all know, at least I hope we all know, that this isn’t the case for either side. We all love our families, and we all cherish life. We all prefer a world where murder doesn’t exist or at least a world where mass murders don’t exist. We all want a world where our children, siblings, friends, and parents can live safely

So, what gives? If we value the same things, why are we so divided on gun control? The answer, I believe, has more layers and more depth than I could ever hope to understand, let alone write about. But I can share my own thoughts and concerns on the issue in hopes that it is a positive, edifying contribution to the dialogue.

There are two main parts to the gun control debate that most social media posts can be divided into: Gun Control Laws, and the reason for gun control. What I mean by Gun Control Laws tends to either challenge or support certain claims like “more guns= more deaths.” The second part, the reason for gun control, asks why school shootings and general acts of terrorism are happening in an attempt to answer if gun control is even needed. I think the reason why communication on this topic is so difficult is that people are often arguing on these different parts of the same topic. So, I hope my own thoughts, or rambling at this point, can help with the general discussion, even if it’s just a Conservative Christian’s (note: not a conservative that’s also a Christian) opinion on Gun Control.

The first issue, the gun control laws, is that the gun control debate is not about gun control, and it’s not about guns. I’m talking about the debate itself, the “dialogue” surrounding gun control. I think a gun control debate would look into methods and strategies of gun control. It assumes a bipartisan agreement that gun control is actually needed, which we haven’t reached, at least, not on a mass level.

Rather, the debate is about us: the people who are gunned down, the people that witness the deaths of friends and family, the people that hear about the tragedy on the news or social media, the people that want to do something. It is also about the people that seemingly don’t want to do something. It is also about the people who shoot other people, the people who go on shooting sprees in schools and other public places. The issue is about an enormous, democratic nation that is split on almost every topic, like a Giant with feet that does not want to walk in the direction its walking, arms that does not want to hold the things its holding, and a head that plans out things it does not want to plan out.

But the solution isn’t somehow forcing half of the individual body to a restriction or code. The United States isn’t a single body, it’s a group of people divided into 50 states, each with their own restrictions, which are at least just as strict as any overarching restriction. And in each state, there are municipalities. This is good because individual people are different! And oftentimes, people in a certain area tend to think alike, or agree on the same ideas.

It feels like people forget that there are stricter gun laws on the state level than the Federal level. For example, Minnesota has gun restrictions on the mentally challenged. If one feels those restrictions aren’t sufficient, one could work on changing the local, or state laws. In fact, it might be easier to work on the local and state level rather than the federal level.

The second issue, which is the reason for gun control, isn’t about us. It’s about God. The United States might work like some form of democracy, but any leader or government was placed there by God, and even they are subject to the authority of God.

But this doesn’t mean God is okay with the murderous lashes of people. God is very much against murder. He is against any form of action that places a person in the seat of the Judge. By judge, I mean defining actions, or cases, according to one’s own prescription, for example, the judge of who lives and who dies, who steals and who’s robbed, who’s to be loved and who’s to be hated… the judge of who’s judge and who isn’t judge, the judge of who’s God and who isn’t God.

Sadly, there are people who do play Judge, like the Parkland shooter, or the Santa Fe shooter, or even myself. To think that I’ve never judged in one way or another is a lie. I do it every day. But admitting that society is filled with self righteous people doesn’t solve anything, it won’t solve mass shootings, it won’t stop sin. The lamentations of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes comes to mind, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

What I’m trying to say is that whether or not we have strict gun control, loose gun control, or no gun control, we won’t be any better off. The United States in 1918 wasn’t any better then than it is now in 2018. Horrors have been performed now that the people then could never imagine. And people then practiced things that were so horrible, we riot against them a century later.

I think my conclusion, then, would come from Ecclesiastes, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

But I’ll also tack on a line from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, “...God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We can work hard to make this world a better place by pushing for stricter gun control, by lobbying for or against issues, and by protesting for what we believe in. But the most we can ever do is pray.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

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