Feminist. It puts a look of disturbance and fear on men’s faces when I say I am one.
Feminism. It’s a word that carries a stigma that many women don’t want to be associated with. It’s a word that when defined by society, is far less desirable than the actual Merriam-Webster definition.
For the longest time I didn’t know what being a feminist was. I thought it was synonymous with “man-hater” and the opposite of “feminine.” I thought the feminist movement was to steam roll certain ideas of what a woman is, and labeled being sexualized as degrading or sexuality as empowering. It said, “You can’t enjoy Sex and the City, you can’t love men and you have to be a hard ass bitch in a power suit if you want to advance your career!” Being a feminist meant that you couldn’t appreciate a man opening a door for you because “I can do that myself, thank you very much.” It meant giving something up to gain something.
Am I a Feminist?
None of those definitions of feminism fit me. I’m a woman who loves men. I adore them, for all their flaws and all their perfection. I want to have them do nice things for me and I want to appreciate them and express gratitude for it. I don’t need a man, but I like having one around. I can take care of myself financially but I don’t feel offended when a man pays for things.
I’m a woman who loves pink lipstick, high heels and who wears dresses to work. I don’t even own a pair of dress pants. I don’t need to be dressed sexy to feel sexy or come across as sexy—but I like to now and then.
I’m a woman that is comfortable in my sexuality but I don’t feel as though it defines me. I don’t feel degraded or empowered when it comes to sex. I feel like sex has more to do with what my needs are and the relationship I have with the person I’m sexual with.
I’m a woman who loves other women. One who wants so very badly to help and empower other women should they choose to empower themselves. I don’t believe in competing with them because I feel like when we compete we all lose. I crave conversations with successful, powerful women. I yearn to inspire those looking to find their way in the world.
It took me a long time to realize, that despite what I thought feminism was, I was wrong. And even if I didn’t fit society’s “mold” of a feminist, I still am one, albeit I think I can be categorized as a Lipstick Feminist, but it’s a feminist all the same.
Are You a Good Feminist, or a Bad Feminist?
There’s no such thing as a good or bad feminist, you either are a feminist or you aren’t.
Merriam-Webster defines feminism as: The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
That’s it. You either believe that women should have equal rights and opportunities or you believe they shouldn’t. You don’t have to participate in protests and rallies to be a feminist. You just are, or you aren’t. You believe, or you don’t.
It doesn’t say you have to be, look, or act a certain way. The feminist herself doesn’t have to fit a specific profile; she just has to believe that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities. Hell, according to the definition, men can be feminists too. Why not?
I was reading an article the other day called 24 Rules For Being a Lady in 2014 and I really liked a few of the points that were made.
It doesn’t matter what you choose to do with your life—as long as you’re happy doing it. You can be the quintessential 50’s housewife for all I care, it’s your choice, but you can still be a feminist.
Living the life you want to live and choosing to do whatever you want because it’s what you want. Knowing you could do something else if you wanted to, even a stereotypical “man’s job.” This is what feminism stems from, having the choice to be any kind of woman you want to be and believing that just because you’re a woman it doesn’t mean you have to have a certain job or act a certain way.
Judging another woman’s feminism is what sets us back. Not baking cookies for your husband, wearing makeup or watching chick flicks because you’re afraid it makes you less of a woman…that sets us back.
Are You a Feminist?
It was pretty eye opening for me to have my views on feminism turned on their side. I was wrong. I didn’t want to be associated with a word that was misunderstood and now that I understand– I’m proud. I’ve grabbed my feminism by the balls, so to speak, and want to help other women discover this amazing movement that they don’t have to be afraid of being associated with anymore.
By movement, I don’t mean rallies and protests, necessarily. I mean supporting other women, voicing your opinion, and maybe even tossing out a “get it girl” now and then. Don’t be afraid to embrace the meaning of the word. You don’t have to want to participate in military combat yourself to believe another woman should be allowed if she wants to. You don’t have to make a living as a stay at home mom in order to believe men and women should be paid the same for doing the same job.
It’s not about being more like men. I think this is another spot where people get confused. Personally, I don’t want to be treated like a man. I want to be his equal, but being equals does not mean being the same, it means we have the same rights and opportunities. I want to embrace my femininity and what makes me different from a man (even though I have plenty of tomboy qualities that I embrace completely as well) but I don’t want to be shafted on a loan or in pay because I’m not one.
Let’s shatter all these ideas together and shed the negative perspective that is cast upon feminism.
What does feminism mean to you? Are you a feminist?
Image credit: Shutterstock
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