Feminism Friday: 5 Reasons I Need Feminism!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I wrote a post a while ago about all the reasons I am a Feminist, and there were A LOT. I have been wanting to do another post about Feminism for a while, and decided to maybe try out a semi-regular "Feminist Friday" series which talks about.. you guessed it.


Quick backstory: I've always been a Feminist. My mother is a Feminist, my father is a Feminist, and they raised me to believe that I could do anything I could ever want to do, and my options, talents, and value were not decreased because I was born a girl.

Fast forward to last year, and I'm in college. I'm part of a group of amazing women who help re-establish the Undergraduate Women's Council on my campus. I finally felt like I had an outlet to try and make something happen for women, and actually make a change and a difference for women on my campus. No sooner had I celebrated with my friends than I realized why I needed Feminism in the first place.

Flash forward to now, and today on this blog. I could give you a very academic, statistic-filled look at why Feminism is still important... but that doesn't give you an insight into why I need Feminism. I want to give you my personal stories and accounts of why Feminism matters, and why I still need Feminism today.

1. It's hard to be a woman... and women make it hard on other women.
Why is it, that as women, knowing how hard it is to be a woman sometimes, we are so hard on other women? There is an endless commentary running through my head at all times of other women I know. There is no doubt that when I first enter a room, I am sizing up other women, comparing myself to them and mentally making note of their flaws. It feels horrible, it's a competition none of us agreed to, but it's a security blanket.

I need Feminism because there is no one single perfect woman. We are all different, and we are all beautiful in our own ways. We should be doing more to celebrate and help each other than competing with each other.

2. I want to see the world, and I don't want my gender to dictate whether or not I feel safe. 
Luckily, in France, I didn't have too many bad experiences with feeling unsafe about my gender. That could be because a large part of my orientation had to do with the preventative measures I should take as a woman. "France is a latin country," I was told, "so men will call out women on the street or touch them in bars and it's normal. Don't think too much about it." But when I'm just walking home, at 3:30 in the afternoon, and I know someone is following me... I'm going to think about it.

I need Feminism because women worldwide deserve to feel safe and comfortable in their bodies, no matter where they are.

3. There are a lot of women who fought hard, were tortured, beaten, and imprisoned, just so women could gain the right to vote. 
The battle for the 19th Amendment was a long and arduous one. But it didn't end in 1920, and it certainly hasn't ended in 2015. We have made amazing progress in Feminism, as women, and as a society. More women than ever are getting degrees from institutions of higher education, and that is absolutely amazing. However, there are more roads to cross - not least of which is tackling the wage gap. Click the link.... it's a seriously fascinating map.

I need Feminism because women have made an insane amount of progress in the last 100 years. But we still have a long way to go.

4. My choices, desires, and interests should not determine my worth as a woman.
I wear an insane amount of stripes, and the right pair of heels makes me feel hella sexy. I love glitter, pink, and I can spend hours painting mason jars and wooden letters. I paint my nails several times each week, and I own a ridiculous amount of nail polish. I am smart, strong, and I work really hard. I'm vulnerable, sensitive, and I take things really personally. I cry... a lot. My priority right now is not getting a boyfriend, settling down, and getting married. I don't want kids. I love them, but I don't know if I want to be a mom yet. Contrary to what I've been told... that doesn't mean that I am less deserving of love, happiness, and potential marriage, when I'm ready for it.

I need Feminism because I should be free to choose the life I want without being judged, ridiculed, or laughed at for it. My choices and priorities are valid.

5. There are still a lot of women and men who feel like they don't need Feminism, or who misunderstand and misuse Feminism. 

There is nothing that breaks my heart quicker or more than when someone I love declares that Feminism is just a liberal, man-hating ploy, and they don't need Feminism because they love men. I've been teased (and I'm in college) for being a proud and outspoken Feminist, and it makes me so sad. Yes, there are a lot of different factions of Feminist thought and theory, especially today. However, the one thing all of these strains has in common is that we all believe in equality of the genders (cisgender, transgender, genderqueer, etc.).

I need Feminism because it's not a man-hating, bra-burning, violent movement. It is all about equality, which is something that should bind us all together.

I need Feminism now more than I ever have, and I am so proud to be part of a group of women and men who believe in equality as much as I do. Without Feminism, we would not be here today, and I would very likely not be where I am right now, writing about my opinions while earning a degree.

We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

Why do you need Feminism? Do you consider yourself a Feminist? 

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