I am a 21 year-old feminist, and I’m here to clear up some misconceptions about feminism. Just because I want the same political, economic, and social rights as a man doesn’t mean I don’t want to marry one. I’m feminine, but I’m also strong — mentally and physically – outspoken, well educated, and want to forge a career path that I am passionate about. I want a family just as much as every woman who considers herself to be traditional or conservative. I am an empowered woman who very well knows that women can be or do anything they want to; we can be intelligent, funny, brave, stylish, sporty, caring, and hardworking all at once — we don’t have to choose one.
It pains me to see my peers shy away from the idea of feminism on a daily basis, because I know its true meaning — not what certain aspects of pop culture and media have painted it to be. I want feminism to be a word that women of every age, but especially my peers, are proud to identify with. I want to erase the age-old image of angry, man-hating, finger-wagging women who see something wrong with every institution that includes men.
I grew up as an only child, in a home where both my mom and dad worked full time for most of my life. I don’t feel that I have missed out on a single thing because my mother worked while raising me; in fact, I feel I benefitted from it. My mother continues to serve as an incredible role model of a strong and loving mother, wife, and professional. And my father never made me believe for one second that there was anything I couldn’t do that men could, and he often told me growing up that he believed I could be the first woman president. Because my parents shared various responsibilities, and home wouldn’t feel like home without either one of them, I understand the true value of an equal partnership.
While I understand that not everyone has grown up in this kind of environment, I want to stress that women can do it all, just as men can be fathers and professionals without anyone asking them how they manage to ‘balance it all.’ Should two life partners, regardless of their sex or gender, be anything less than an equal team that share both domestic responsibilities and each have a career? Because I don’t think any person deserves anything less in a relationship than a partner who is equal with them on every level.
When interviewed, many celebrities have chosen to identify as humanists, as opposed to feminists, but I see them as the same thing. Feminism welcomes and celebrates all races, sexes, genders, different abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds—does this not include all humans?
We need to stop shying away from the word “feminism,” and begin to share its true meaning: equality for everyone, on every level.
I’m here to tell you that feminism isn’t angry — it’s optimistic and it’s passionate. Feminism, as I know it to be, is about identifying the gap in equality between all of the sexes and genders, and actively working to close it by spreading knowledge and empowering others. It’s not just women helping women; it’s women helping men, women helping children, and women helping humanity. Feminism is serving others and inspiring them to reach their full potential; it’s wanting everyone to have the very same opportunities for success, simply because every single person on this Earth deserves to live the life they dream of.