What it means to be a feminist

Megan Friel, Feature Editor

To all who follow my column, you’ll know that my usual writing-style is a how-to. This week, however, I’ll be writing something a little more on the serious side. The topic I’ll be writing about is something that not only I, but most of America seems to have an opinion on: feminism.

Feminism, in the eyes of some, are the stubbly, topless, and aggressive “feminazis” that will stop at nothing to take down the supreme superior of men. This notion, although I’m happy to say, is generally false. There are in some cases, these women that don’t shave, burn their bras and stand for the feminist agenda. While I don’t consider myself such an extremist, to these women I have two opinions. For one, I believe that if you want to stop shaving, wearing bras or cut your hair, feel free. In fact, an important part of being a feminist is standing up for other women, empowering them. On the other hand, this stereotypical feminist is usually not the case. A feminist isn’t defined by her hair, or her clothes – in fact, a feminist isn’t even defined by gender.

For myself, I consider a feminist anybody who believes in the equality of men and women. This doesn’t mean completely empowering the male gender and expecting all power. In fact, this means that men and women will have the same power, same pay, and same equal opportunities. I consider myself a feminist because I believe in equality for men and women. This doesn’t mean that I hate all men, or that I’ve ceased shaving, but instead only that I’m willing to stand up for women until this act of equal pay, equal power, and equal opportunity is put in play.

As a feminist, it’s also important for me to stand up for other women. The idea behind feminism is to empower women and make a change. When women are accused of wearing “too much” makeup, or wearing clothing that is “too revealing,” these phrases are used to make women feel ashamed for their beauty. This is what is so important to feminism, is the need to make girls feel secure and embrace their beauty instead of being ashamed, or slut-shamed, for it. Standing up for women and supporting each other just makes the fight for equality stronger. This means for standing up for trans-women, as well, who receive scrutiny as well for their choice to transform.

For those of you who know me, you know I’m not ashamed to call myself a feminist. And for those who consider themselves feminists, don’t feel ashamed to admit it either. Feminism is just another step to the bettering the future, and it’s something to be proud of. By being shameful of feminism, you’re only adding to the contribution of people trying to shut it down. So be proud, wear it on your sleeve, and let no one tell you differently. This is what it means to be a feminist, and this is what will shape the future for women and girls alike.