The F Word

There are a few things I am proud to be in my life. I am proud to be from Scranton, PA, proud of my Irish heritage, and lastly, proud to be a feminist.  When people hear the word “feminist,” they usually associate the idea with angry women who hate men, marching around topless, and wanting to bend society to view all women as goddesses. Well I am here to tell you that, nope, that is not what feminism is. The definition for feminism, defined by Merriam-Webster, is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.  This means that people who identify as a ‘feminist’ fight for the equal rights of everyone, not just a singular gender.

There is a wide range when it comes to feminism views.  First, it’s important to understand why feminism is needed. It’s not to be shoved into men’s faces, but instead, to educate those about the significant differences that occur within our society due to gender.  One example would be when children are first born. Girls are shown in colors like pink, with bows and frilly dresses, while boys stick to blue and are seen with toys like dinosaurs and trucks. We teach our children at a young age what they are ‘suppose’ to do or  what work fields they should go into after when they grow up. As these children grow older, they both endure pressure, and begin learning the stereotypical ideas about their gender. Girls are known as the “weaker” sex; which is why it’s an insult when one is compared to a girl. (For example, “You throw like a girl!”) They begin looking at their bodies and wishing to look like models and women in advertisements. 

In a video where Emma Watson explains why she is a feminist, she tells how her friends stop playing sports in fear of looking too “muscle-ly.”  She explains how the word is constantly being criticized as a dirty, unpopular word. Women are being told they are too bossy, too strong, too aggressive, unattractive, and lastly, anti-men. Feminism is fighting the same obstacles ancestors fought, but pushing to overcome more. It’s being paid equally for the same quality of work. It’s not being sexualized in public for what a woman chooses to wear. It’s having the right to one’s body and what they choose to do when it comes to their reproductive rights.  It’s fighting for women to be able to obtain any job position she chooses to reach for, even in political settings.  Feminism is fighting for gender equality in all aspects of life. Emma Watson makes sure to speak up for men as well.  She mentions that they should also be able to express their feelings and emotions however they want, without fear they might receive backlash for it.

In an article by Glamour Magazine, they interviewed Barack Obama on why it is important for men to also be feminist.  He goes into detail about how he was raised by a single mother, but also how he is living with a wife and two daughters. Obama touches on subjects like how a girl is supposed to behave, but also the limitations our societies puts out. He insists on breaking down the attitude that woman are meant to be quiet and bear children.  He mentions how he and his wife have taught their daughters to speak up in unfair situations or when they identify double standards due to their gender or race. It is important for brothers and fathers to fight for the equal treatment of their sisters, wives, mothers, and daughters. In a world that is constantly changing and flourishing in areas, we need to push for our future youth to view each other on the same level. I understand that there are differences when it comes to men and women, but in regard to rights or fair pay/treatment, we need to not let our genitalia be a hurdle. I never want to hear my daughter feel she can’t be or accomplish something in her lifetime due to being a female. I also hope I never hear my son judge a woman based off her choice in clothing. I know I will teach my children they must view each other as equal and that they will have to both put in hardwork to earn anything they wish to gain.

I choose to be a feminist because I believe in equality for all.  I feel I deserve to be paid the same as a fellow male coworker, who is in the same position with the same background and work ethic.  I believe I, and only I, should have the right to my own body.  I do not speak against what men decide to do with theirs, which is why no one, including the government, should be able to do the same with mine.  I do not want to worry if I will ever reach a glass ceiling. Instead, I will be climb with my hammer, in order to shatter the barriers that might be held above me.  I wish to see a change where everyone will one day be accepted for who they are, and live in a world where they have no fear.  Yes, it might seem like I am asking for much, but to me, it does not seem unrealistic.  We do not have to necessarily agree with other’s actions or behaviors, but we also should not put up barriers for others for being who they are.  We all entered this world from the same start and eventually will leave the same so I ask one question; Why should anyone have to struggle to succeed just for being female?