Thoughts Of A Feminist

feminism-graphic

By Madelyn Starritt

The advocacy of women’s rights is nothing to be ashamed of, yet some are weary to use the word feminism because of criticism. Feminism is not about demanding that women be given things they don’t have but about advocating for the rights that women deserve. It is wanting to be treated like an equal intellectual person instead of an inferior object.

Men and women are different. They have different bodies, different chemicals, and different needs. This does not mean they cannot be treated like equals, different means different not inferior.

This is an argument I have seen often: The argument that women do have equal rights but everything can’t be the same because women and men are physically different. So, women need to stop trying to do everything men can do because they are going to lose their own special “uniqueness”.

I have heard, in many iterations, people say, “It’s 2017, we have come so far. It’s modern day and things are better and equal now” I have been told that women need to stop complaining about what they don’t have and just be grateful for their freedoms because there are far worse oppression’s in other countries. Told that “us women” and feminists should just shut up and be thankful that we don’t have things as bad as others.

I am not here to tell you that this way of thinking is wrong. I am not here to tell you that your opinions are wrong because you don’t agree with me. I am here to ask you to think outside your own experiences. I am here to ask you to listen to these people speaking out because they are doing so for a reason. This is what feminism is to me. It is supporting and fighting for women’s rights but not condemning others in the process. It is using kindness and love to make progress.

There is always going to be someone in a worse situation with bigger problems but that does not mean the issues we are fighting for in America are not valid. Feminism means many things to me and one of them is that the fight for women’s rights does not end when I have achieved equality for myself or when there is full women’s equality in the US but when there is equality and equal rights for all women. Feminism is not just for white, privileged, straight women like myself but for women of all skin tones, religions, orientations, etc. Because feminism to me is not just fighting for my own equality but the equality of everyone.

So please, stop telling me that I am ungrateful for advocating for women’s rights. Stop telling me that I am whining because I didn’t get my way. Stop telling me that women’s oppression is over because it is not. You may not feel oppressed, and your neighbors may not feel oppressed but that doesn’t mean that others aren’t. Feminism and the fight for women’s rights isn’t over when the women in the US get paid the same as their male coworkers. The fight isn’t over when justice is served for sexual assault victims in the US. The fight isn’t over when women’s bodies stop being used as objects. The fight is over when all girls and women get a chance for an education. The fight is over when all women can have jobs. When women stop getting punished for speaking their mind. The fight will be over when every woman has the rights she deserves, not just the women in the US.

Feminism is not just for us privileged whiners here in the United States but for women all over the world. Feminists aren’t just speaking out for their own rights but for everyone woman who doesn’t have a voice.

Feminism is something different for everyone. This is what feminism is for me.

To me, feminism is not a mindset that women are better than men. It is not telling people that their beliefs and ideas are wrong because I disagree with them. It is not to get offended at every little thing just because I can. It is not about judging others because they have different ideas. Feminism to me is about equal rights and spreading love.

Feminism to me is the fight for equal pay for equal work for women and men.

Feminism to me is not making sexual assault victims prove they didn’t deserve to be raped.

Feminism to me is allowing women to make their own decisions about their bodies.

Feminism to me is having woman CEO’s and leaders to look up to.

Feminism to me is getting to see women in the media as people instead of sex objects.

Feminism to me is judging girls based on their smarts not their looks.

Feminism to me is allowing women to breastfeed without criticism.

Feminism to me is not paying extra for something just because it’s pink.

Feminism to me is teaching girls about their periods instead of shaming them for it.

Feminism to me is about teaching girls to be strong instead of afraid.

Feminism to me is not only fighting for the rights of all women but for every person.

Feminists are people who believe. Believe in themselves. Believe in each other. Believe in an important cause. Believe in change. Believe in progress. Believe in making the world a better place for everyone.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Thoughts Of A Feminist

  1. Thanks Maddie for your article on expanding people’s definition of feminism. I am commenting not to critique you negatively, but just to quibble with a few parts in an attempt to further expand this article and perhaps your definition of feminism. Firstly, in the beginning your section that reads “Men and women are different. They have different bodies, different chemicals, and different needs. This does not mean they cannot be treated like equals, different means different not inferior,” makes my knee jerk a little bit because this assumes essentialism, which is that our gender is based on our biological features rather than societal constructs. There is a lot of research on this topic, not only within theory, but also within science that points to gender being more of a societal construction than a biological phenomena. Judith Butler is a good read on this topic, along with this article from NPR (http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/01/26/511734926/the-science-of-gender-no-men-arent-from-mars-and-women-from-venus), which I read just yesterday. This leads me to my second point that when defining feminism it is important to be intersectional, not only with race, but also on LGBTQA+, trans, and gender issues. Ultimately feminists should be fighting for equality for all, as you say, and this includes these other groups. While your article emphasizes many important women’s issues it lacks the intersectionality that is so key to solidarity within the feminist movement and between other equality movements.

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    1. Thank you for reading! The statement about men and women being different does refer to the biology of men and women because they are physically different. I can see how this could be misunderstood but gender isn’t necessarily related to biology and is a social construction that encompasses much more than just male and female. One of my points in this is that feminism is very personal and there isn’t a strict universal definition but that there is an individual meaning for everyone. I appreciate your comments and agree that feminism is related to many other movements and issues and I could have been more inclusive about that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  2. excellent article, I loved it, very well worded. my favorite part was “It is supporting and fighting for women’s rights but not condemning others in the process. It is using kindness and love to make progress.” I think kindness and love are the best ways we can work towards progress.

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