Wait… You’re a Feminist?

On a sweltering day in mid-July, my friends and I floated lazily in a pool, aimlessly chatting about nothing. Somehow, one of the girls and I separated from the group and drifted into a rather intriguing conversation about political ideology and the countless definitions of feminism.


Although I often bite my tongue in certain conversations regarding feminism because my words cannot catch up with my thoughts and I fear being boxed into a corner based on one choice of phrase, this conversation was different. My friend and I do not share all of the same political views; she tends to lean more left, and I tend to lean more right. Nonetheless, we are able to have deep discussions about controversial topics without making the other feel uncomfortable.


In this case, we openly talked about what it meant to be a feminist. There is obviously a stereotypical view of a feminist: dressed head-to-toe in pink, no bra, unshaven armpits and legs, and a face that seems to say “I hate men.” I think that most people tend to think about the very extremes of feminism, so much in fact that when I mentioned to my father in passing that I was a feminist, he was surprised.


“But wait, you’re not a feminist…?”


I was not offended or angry with his response. It just reminded me that there is a consensus about how a feminist should look, speak, and act, and I don’t necessarily fit that description. But just because I’m not out there on the front lines, screaming into a megaphone with my #PussyPower t-shirt on, doesn’t mean I don’t support women’s rights. I do. And I support men.


Being a feminist is not advocating for female-supremacy, it’s pushing for equality. Whether you’re a feminist or not, a liberal or a conservative, a man or a woman, there’s no denying the fact that women face certain obstacles at home, in the classroom, and in the workplace on a daily basis that men do not. I don’t want men's pay to be lowered, I want women’s pay to match it. I don’t want to segregate men and women in the office so that there are no threats of sexual misconduct, I want everyone to be well informed about the signs of sexual misconduct and how to properly deal with it so that everyone can have a safe workplace.


It’s hard to talk about this subject. Even while I’m finishing up, I know that I’m leaving ideas out. Yet I feel that what I’ve written needed to be said, not to the public but for myself. Like I said before, I tend to align more with the policies of a conservative. However, when it comes to social issues, I am usually more liberal. In today’s political climate, it is easy for people to pick a side and stay there, blind to the others’ point of view. This norm led to my apprehension in declaring my own political identity because I felt that I was in limbo and had no place to call home (metaphorically). But I know that it is okay to be a girly conservative liberal feminist with many male role models and a passionate love for sports. No one is ever going to fit neatly into a stereotype about his/her political ideology.


This is not a call to arms, this is not an attack on men (especially not on my dad!), these are simply some of my thoughts that I’ve managed to actually get down on paper about my role in the modern feminist movement.