Boo! I'm A Feminist. Did I Scare You?

By definition, I am a feminist. I am someone who believes that women are equal to, and should have the same rights as men. I have been known to fight (very loudly) for this belief. It is a large part of my values and who I am.

I was raised in a family of very strong women who have accomplished great things. I was raised to know that I could do anything a boy could do and that being a girl didn't limit me in any way.

However empowering referring to yourself as a feminist can be –for an unknown reason–I have trouble proudly saying that yes, I am a feminist, and I’m not the only woman who is experiencing this.

Using the term feminism in a dismissive light is just another way to put women down, demean them, and shame them for wanting to be treated as the equals they are.

Unfortunately, with the recent political climate, sexism has become an even more prominent issue. During Donald Trump’s presidency campaign he called his competitor Hillary Clinton, a “nasty woman,” boasted about sexually harassing women, treated them as objects, and still won the election.

In recent news, Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court of Justice nominee, has been accused of sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford, a woman he attended high school with. Although this information has been made public, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence still support his nomination. This sends a dangerous message to followers with the same views; it tells them that undermining women is okay.

It isn’t.

Still, there is a prevailing negative view of the ‘feminist woman’ and it’s because society sees the term as an act of individuals. There is not one ‘feminist woman’–feminism is a term that encompasses a broad spectrum of people, just like any other cause worth fighting for.

Women have the right to do whatever they choose with their body, can think whatever they wish to think, and can do whatever they want to do. Feminism is believing that we belong to and make decision for ourselves.

Why then, are people so threatened by the idea of feminism? Is it that by empowering women, they become harder to control? Is it that a strong woman is a force of nature? Are there people so insecure in their own sense of self that they feel the need to treat women like objects? The answer is yes to all of the above. The main thing to remember is that feminism is not threatening; it is the belief that as a woman, I can do whatever I want, I can grow up to be whatever I want, and I am just as valuable a member of society as my male counterparts.

I want to be able to do the same things as men, I want to be praised like they are. Instead of being called bossy and overpowering, I want to be called a leader and a mentor. I don’t want to be shamed for behavior that is promoted in men. I don’t want to be everything that society tells me to be, and that’s okay.

I am not an object and I am nobody’s possession. I am my own person and I demand to be treated as such. Yes, I am a feminist, and from now on, unapologetically so.

 

Cate Newman, nasty woman extraordinaire.