I’m a feminist.
And I’m pretty tired of both men and women groaning when they hear this.
I’m a feminist who wears makeup and loves when a man holds open a door for her. I’m a feminist who loves lace underthings and who believes in marriage. Being a feminist doesn’t mean that I’m burning bras (which never happened, by the way), going to poetry readings (I’d much rather read a book) or not shaving my armpits (I actually hate having any body hair).
If you consider yourself a feminist, you believe that men and women should have equal rights.
Yup… that’s it. So that makes me a big ol’ feminist. And I hope you’re a feminist too.
I’d first like to mention that I have traditional values. That means I like when men make the first move and ask me out on a date. I like when men open doors and hold my hand. I’d love to be married someday, but when I do, he will be a feminist with traditional values too. Earlier this year I asked a boy I was dating if he was a feminist. He responded with “Of course I’m a feminist Morgan. Everyone should be a feminist. Why would anyone not consider men and women equal?” So not only did he know what being a feminist meant, but he vehemently described himself as one. I kind of wanted to jump him bones right then and there.
There’s a ridiculous double standard for women. If we sleep with someone we’re labeled as a slut, easy or a whore. If men sleep with several women, he’s just experienced. We’ve been raised on the book of Cosmo and we now know how to “please our man” by trying different positions, waxing our body and wearing sexy negligiees. When have you ever seen a man read about how “please his woman”? Women have subscribed to the notion that we are here to cater to men, to look like what they want and to be what they want us to be.
I no longer read my favorite magazines because I’ve come to realize how grossly unhealthy they are. Every other article is about plastic surgery, dieting or makeup. Almost every article pushes the idea that we aren’t good enough as we are and instead we must eat a certain way, apply makeup just so or nip and tuck to be presentable. For several years I’ve been the only one of my friends or coworkers that doesn’t wax, tan or highlight. I don’t really see the point of wearing false eyelashes or getting manicures because these just focus on the most miniscule parts of your body! What about being healthy? What about learning something new? According to societies view on women, these subjects just don’t matter.
Now, please don’t get all squirmish on me, but I want to talk about masturbation. We see men jerking off in movies and on TV, we hear them joke about it constantly and it’s slowly become part of regular society (and we can’t just blame Judd Apatow). Yet, when was the last time female masturbation was discussed? Samantha on Sex and the City did it, but she was the “slutty one”. Even my best female friends don’t want to discuss it… as if having an orgasm as a female should be kept hush hush or discouraged. I’ve actually been told “Girls don’t do that”. Um… yes they do! And as if I couldn’t love Lena Duhnam more, she had one of her “Girls” characters masturbate on TV. HBO TV… but still.
Here is one of my biggest pet peeves: why are young girls and grown women creating wedding boards on Pinterest when they aren’t in a relationship? As a society, we’re accepting this behavior to be OK. They’re obsessed with the idea that it’s “their day” and “the most important day of their life”. They frenzy over miniscule, idiotic details like what the favors will look like and finding the “perfect dress”. Even the term “bridezilla” has become a commonplace, comparing a bride to a giant monster who destroys entire cities. In my mind, that’s just as bad as calling someone a “bitch” or a “slut” and the worst part is, women have begun to refer to each other by these names! The wedding is a celebration of two people coming together and unifying in their love. Basically, it’s just a big party. This expensive obsession needs to end now.
I feel like this dialogue should’ve ended in the ’60’s, but instead, we’re still arguing about women’s rights in presidential debates. Women should feel that they are allowed to have sex, that they can easily obtain birth control and that if they so choose, they can terminate a pregnancy. We shouldn’t be making laws about what people choose to do with their bodies. (And if we were, I’d like a ban on belly button rings and foot tattoos please.) Women are quite literally under attack whether it’s violence, assault or rape. Women comprise 51% of our population and yet we’re treated as second class citizens making less money, working under less prestigious titles and lawmakers (old, white, male lawmakers) are stripping women’s rights.
I recently read Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti and I thought it was a great, easy to follow book. Her words are colorful (hopefully you don’t mind a few curse words!) but eloquently written and supported with thousands of facts. I’m lucky enough to have known most of the information beforehand, but it rekindled my passion and inspired me to share my thoughts with you. I definitely encourage you to buy the book (I bought mine at Barnes and Noble) or you can have my copy!
I was fortunate to have a teacher who instilled how important it is to be vocal about this. Also, my teacher was in a movie that came out last year and was bought by OWN. It’s an incredible film and so informative. It’s on Netflix DVD rental or you can buy it on Amazon!
If I can convince even a handful of women (or men) in my life to consider themselves a feminist, then I’ve done a good job. It’s not a “movement”… it’s my life. And I refuse to live in a world where more than half of the population is so grossly mistreated.