The title "feminist" scares away a lot of women either because of the judgement associated with it or simply because it's confusing! Maybe you feel like you're a "bad feminist" or think feminism itself is bad. Whatever boat you're in, I'm here to explain some things and help you figure out whether or not you should consider yourself a feminist (and you definitely should!)
Table of contents:
- you believe in equality
- you know representation matters
- you think the gender gap is unfair
- you’re tired of harassment
- you disprove of sexist dress codes
- you care about reproductive rights
- you support women’s rights all over the world
1 You Believe in Equality
Simply put, that's what feminism is. There are entire books written about it, but really you can sum up the definition of feminism in "the belief that all genders deserve equal rights." Feminism is intersectional; that means people who identify as women of every race, sexuality, religion, ability, and social class should be included in the fight for equality
2 You Know Representation Matters
For most of history, business leaders, politicians, artists, writers, athletes—you name it— were almost all men. Now that the opportunities are available, it's time for women to seize them! A feminist understands that it's the media's job to represent women as more than just objects for men's enjoyment or use; women can be strong, intelligent, independent, and successful. In TV and movies, you love to see women of all colors and sizes represented in a positive light as a whole person, not just a prop, to send a good message to young girls.
3 You Think the Gender Gap is Unfair
The wage gap is an issue feminists are always working to close. The wage gap is the difference in earnings between men and women that is consistent across races in the U.S. and other countries. Gender gaps present themselves in other ways too that can't be measured in dollar signs. For example, there's an opportunity gap for women in business and STEM fields. There's also a gender gap when it comes to education in developing nations. If all of these make your blood boil, you should consider yourself a feminist!
4 You’re Tired of Harassment
So this gif is shocking to say the least. But that shock factor was part of a video campaign to raise awareness about sexism. Do you know what else is shocking? The amount of harassment women deal with every day! Can you count the times you've been cat-called by creepy old guys? I certainly can't. And cat-calling just the tip of the ice berg. Rates of sexual assault and rape are much higher for women than for men (90% of rape victims are women) and the perpetrators often walk free.
5 You Disprove of Sexist Dress Codes
If you're a student, you probably know this all too well. At my school, my shoulders, stomach, thighs, and back were not body parts the way they are thought of for boys who wore revealing muscle T's and ran around shirtless. Rather, my body, and every other female body at my school, was labeled a "distraction." The problem with this is that school's assume 1) boys can't control themselves 2) girls should sacrifice their comfort and confidence to accommodate the needs of boys 3) A girl should go to the office and miss out on her education so a boy can "focus". If that all sounds wrong to you, congratulations, you're a feminist!
6 You Care about Reproductive Rights
A woman should always have a choice. Whether that choice involves becoming a mother, preventing pregnancy, or terminating a pregnancy, the choice is always hers. You've probably also noticed that maternity and paternity leave needs a lot of work in many countries, especially the U.S.
7 You Support Women’s Rights All over the World
First world feminism can definitely become a mindset. However, a feminist should care about the rights of women all over the world from different backgrounds who face different problems. For example, access to education is extremely limited for girls in many countries. Child marriage, female circumcision, and human trafficking are all very real threats to girls around the world. Are you committed to learning how to help? Great, you should call yourself a feminist!
Feminist is not a dirty word. It isn't even a confusing word; it's just another way of saying "I believe in equality." There are many reasons and ways to be a feminist, these are just a few! Do you understand where you stand now? Why do you call yourself a feminist?
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