I understand why so many women do not identify as feminists, because I used to be one of those women. I grew up surrounded by many radical feminists. These were women who didn't shave or wear makeup, who seemed to hate men, who believed that women were not just equal to men but BETTER than men.
I didn't identify with any of it.
I like wearing makeup and feeling pretty and even, to a certain extent, dressing for men. I love men. I wish more of them would see me as their equals, but I do not feel I am better than the vast majority of them. And again, to a certain extent, I don't even have a problem with our traditional gender roles. I think it's fine if women want to stay at home and raise the kids. They should just also have the power and opportunity to pursue more if they wish to, and they should be taught that they CAN pursue more and that they deserve to have more if that's what they want. I think it's also fine if a man wants to stay at home and raise the kids or take care of the house. I plan to have one of those men.
So growing up with this radical brand of feminism, I just couldn't relate to it. I didn't want any part of it.
And more than being unable to relate to it, there was also a certain level of hostility between me and these feminists. I wear makeup and like pink and other "girl" things. I do pageants and flaunt my sexuality. They didn't take me seriously. They made fun of me. And I made fun of them.
Fast-forward to my freshman year at Ithaca College. I was surrounded by feminism. But this was a different brand of feminism. These feminists believed that women should be whatever they wanted to be, whether it's a house wife or a lawyer or a stripper, without judgment. I learned that you can wear makeup and strut around in a swimsuit and still be a feminist. I learned that I can aspire to whatever I want, as long as it makes me feel empowered.
And suddenly I realized that I am a feminist. And so, in solidarity with so many women and men across the entire world, I marched at the Women's March in Los Angeles.
I marched for equal rights, not just for women, but equal rights regardless of gender or sexual orientation or ethnicity or religion or anything else. I marched for equal pay for women. I marched for a woman's right to choose and to have power over her own body. I marched for paid family leave, not just for new mothers but for new fathers, and for programs that benefit single mothers and their children. I marched to stop sexual violence against women, because it shouldn't matter what I was wearing or what I was doing.
And I marched against our new president, who I feel will be harmful not only to women, but so many other groups in our country. I marched against his desire to overturn Roe v. Wade. I marched against the wall, and against his hostility toward Muslims and Mexicans. I marched against policies that would hurt the poor and middle class, and against government corruption that favors the rich. I marched so that Donald Trump would remember that we are here, that we are listening, and that we will not be ignored.
Other people marched for different reasons. And that is because feminism isn't one thing. It isn't about being a woman. It isn't about one set of issues - not even abortion. It isn't about whether you shave your legs or wear makeup.
It is about being empowered, and being equal. It is about having the right and opportunity to be whoever you want to be - about having equal rights and opportunities.
Feminism is for everyone. The march is for everyone. This movement is for everyone. Join us!
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!