When people find out that I am a feminist, a lot of times I get responses of judgement, laughter or rude jokes. This then causes me to either stumble over all my words or get a little too defensive. That is why I wanted to write this post so badly, so that I could give you the most authentic answer I have to any questions about the subject and to just talk about the thing that a lot of people don't really like to talk about. So after 6 months of a whole lot of drafts, I finally finished. Yay!! This may not be christian enough to you, religious enough, or feminist enough, but I hope you will continue to read this and see my heart in it all.
Around this time last year, I began to hear the word feminist thrown around a lot. I normally heard the word feminist used in a negative context or as an insult. There was this whole negative connotation surrounding the word, but I wasn't sure why. I had friends and family members that were feminists, yet I knew nothing about it. All I knew is what people around me were saying. I heard comments like, "Feminism is stupid," or, "Women already get paid equally, so why are they still protesting?" The list goes on. While I did not know much about feminism, these comments really angered me, but I had no idea why. Soon after I started hearing feminism in a negative context, I was given the opportunity to write about feminism for one of my college essays. I immediately jumped on the opportunity because I wanted to understand feminism more and what it really was. I just could not believe that women were angry or protesting for no reason. That made no sense to me. So, I researched. I watched videos, read articles, read books. I did everything I could to try to understand this whole 'feminism' thing a bit better before I gave any opinion on it. Quickly after all of this research, my thoughts on the subject were completely turned. I understood why women might be angry and I understood why feminism is so important. And let me just tell you, FEMINISM IS SO IMPORTANT AND NEEDED!!!
Now if you disagree with feminism, but actually know nothing about it, please stay and read this article. If you disagree with feminism and know EVERYTHING about it, I'm glad you did your research, but I definitely hope you stick around to read this article too! And if you do agree with feminism, read along as I give you my thoughts on the matter!
This is just my personal opinion and it is completely okay if you don't agree with everything I write. That's the beauty of individuality. None of us are going to have the same opinions on every single thing, but that is where love and understanding come in. When we choose to understand one another and why we believe the things we do, that is when real intentional love begins. It doesn't matter if I don't agree with you, or you don't agree with me. I'm not always right and you're not always right. Understanding is loving, no matter what one's stance on a matter is. It is remaining true to yourself and your values, while also intentionally trying to understand another person and choosing to love in the process.
So Feminism... What the heck even is that? I used to think it was just a bunch of crazy women who hated men. I'm sure some of you reading might think the same thing. When I started researching what feminism was at the core, the first thing that I did was watch a video that my cousin sent to me. It is a Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called "We Should All Be Feminists". When I first sat down to watch it, all I could think was, "Ugh... this video is 30 minutes. That is way to long and I really don't want to sit here and listen to a talk about feminism for that long. BORINGGGG!" I sat down to watch it anyways and pushed through it. Now, imagine my reaction after I watched it: Jaw. Dropping. And. So. Good. It really began to spark my interest in this whole feminism thing and all I wanted to do was research. If you haven't watched it before, I highly encourage you to stop reading for a second and go watch it. It sums up perfectly what feminism is at the core. It is the whole reason why I am now a feminist. So go watch it!! Click here! Now! And then come back and finish reading.
Okay so here we go… feminism actually isn't being man-haters and hating bras. I know! Mind-blowing right?! It is actually a really great thing!! It is about every woman out there who has been silenced. It is for every person out there who has been told that they can have dreams and aspirations, but not if they are too big. It is for every woman who has felt worthless. It is for the women who are told they are too big, too small, not funny enough, too loud, too intimidating, and everything in between. It is for the women who have been violated and have felt too scared to speak up. It is for the women who have been sexually assaulted and chose to speak up but were then told, "Well you were probably wearing something inappropriate so that's your own fault." It is for every woman out there who is being silenced. Feminism is an outlet. It gives a voice for women that might not feel like they can use theirs or those that physically can’t speak out. It is for those women who are still being trafficked. It is giving a voice to all of these people. It is so so important because it is the voice to tell women, “Hey, you are loved. Hey, you are worthy and you are worth it. You are so much more than what people say about you. You are everything. Be too loud, be smart, have huge dreams. Be who you are. Because you. are. enough.” People wonder why there are a bunch of women marching each year and speaking out. It is because they have been silenced for so long and there is so much injustice in the world. The fact that individuals continue to make jokes about rape and race and gender and think it's funny continues to worsen huge issues in the world. Feminism is not simply a bunch of women walking around for no reason. There are so many beautiful and amazing reasons for their cause!! And the reasons are HUGE. Just because something might not affect you personally does not mean that it is not an issue for so many people in this country and around the world. Feminism is simply saying, “I see you and I support you. I see your hurt that you've been through. I see that there are so many people who have been silenced. I see that sexual assault and sex trafficking is so real. I see that ignorance and judgement on gender and race is still so real. I see that you are strong and that you are so much more than your body and how you look. I see that feminism is people of every gender and every race coming together and being able to use their voices for those that don't feel like they can or physically can’t. I see that feminism is giving others the voice to speak their own truth.”
There are so many people around the world whose voices are not being heard, which is why it is so important for us to speak up for those who can’t. Take Malala Yousafzai for example. She stands up for so many women, that don’t have a voice, and she has changed lives because of it. “I raise up my voice not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” - Malala Yousafzai
Feminism is believing in the equality of all people. It is “believing in the power of women just as much as believing in the power of anyone else.” - Zendaya. It is loving yourself for all that you are. It is the empowerment of all women and all people. It is just as much for women as it is for men.
Either way, we should all empower each other, with or without putting a name on it.
That is just the tip of the iceberg as to why I consider myself a feminist. Sure, there are things about feminism that I don’t agree with. But at the core of what feminism truly is, the empowerment of all people and all women and giving people a voice - that is what I agree with wholeheartedly.
With all of that being said, let's choose not to judge each other. Because choosing to judge someone for their beliefs and values can hurt a whole lot. You never know what a person is going through and you might not know why someone believes what they do, which is why it is so important to choose to listen and not judge, and choose to love and be kind. We are all worthy of love, and no one deserves to be seen as less than they are because of what they believe.
And, if you haven’t watched it yet, I encourage you to go watch Chimamanda’s Ted talk. I promise it's actually really good and it is not just a bunch of boring facts. It will give you a whole new perspective and understanding for people dealing with these issues.
On that note, thanks so so much for reading and listening to my thoughts! That makes me heart HAPPYYY!! Happy Friday!!
"Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong." - Emma Stone
"We all move forward when we recognize how resilient and striking the women around us are" - Rupi Kaur
Adichie's Ted Talk: We Should All Be Feminists