I’ve probably been in your shoes – done perusing Buzzfeed, you feel your apathetic fingers fall into a pattern and end up on Thought Catalog. You wade through musings about clothes you probably can’t afford and freelancers in their mid-20s lamenting a lost love or giving you unsolicited advice, all in listicle form. And then you feel your eyes creep back into your skull as you see another article about Feminism.
We’ve all seen the definition floating around and had the time to review it based on our own respective cultural upbringings: Political, Social, and Economic equality of the sexes. It seems straightforward, but somehow, people keep screwing it up.
What Feminism is Not:
- Bored millennials justifying personal choices.
- Attacking/blaming men in any way.
- Burning bras (that’s expensive).
- Subtle digs at men or other women based on personal tenets, practices, or presentation.
- A general sense of superiority.
- A dirty word.
- An excuse.
What Feminism Is:
- Protecting and supporting your sisters of every color, class, religion, and culture regardless of the body they were born in.
- Recognizing that neglecting intersectionality is a huge problem in the feminist community; feminism is not just for white women. It is for everyone, and for every problem that a middle-class, heterosexual/cisgender Caucasian woman faces, there are additional challenges faced by women of color, the disabled, trans* people and the LGBTQ+ community, the disenfranchised, the lower class, the young and old, every iteration and combination of the above, and more.
- Realizing that men do face social inequalities: the culture of masculinity puts huge pressure on males to fit certain ideals just as it does for women, especially in when it comes to law, punishment, and nurturing (Q. When was the last time you saw a baby changing station in a men’s restroom?).
- Owning your physical and mental autonomy and encouraging others to do the same.
Relating to women on a fundamentally human level, instead of classifying them as mothers, teachers, sisters, and girlfriends but recognizing that they can still be all those things.
- Respecting everyone’s personal choices while accepting that they might not adhere to your own beliefs: It is okay for someone to not agree with you, and neither of you is in a place to convince the other.
- Valuing all people on the same scale and realizing that being patient, respectful, willing to have conversations, and willing to listen is a more effective way to move towards inclusion that stratified ideas and voices that constantly swim and evolve in the media.
So click on another listicle about letting go of the ones you love, 20 things that you really should have done before turning 20, or what kind of person you should date based on your food preferences. Let the poetic blue light from your laptop set alight your shameful spoonful of peanut butter as Netflix asks: “Are you still watching?”
But remember: being respectful and willing to speak to your fellow humans as complete beings is a lot more important and useful to feminism and humanity than clicking and scrolling.