Are You A Feminist?

All humans and beings are equal. We are all living, breathing, creatures with the same will to live, although lifestyles across cultures and religions differ quite drastically. One of the beauties of life is the diversity we are exposed to on a regular basis. In a world where we are constantly engaging with people who are different from us, it is essential to be willing to open your mind to new perspectives, traditions, or ways of life, and never stop learning something new. If someone identifies as a feminist, that reveals so many beautiful things about them, including compassion and empathy towards individuals from all walks of life. Labeling oneself may sometimes bring up various feelings to someone who has had previous experience with one of more feminists. With that, it is extremely important to individuate each individual you meet, and try your best not to judge them based on past life experiences.

Women must support women so we can bust down stereotypical gender norms and shatter glass ceilings. The Sexual Revolution and the introduction to contraception, along with other important ‘waves’ in history, have helped society evolve into a beautifully diversified class of women all over the globe. If you identify as a woman, don’t be afraid to take a stand when someone wrongs you, and always put your best foot forward, no matter the competition that falls around you. NEVER  feel like you are less because you are a woman. We are the creators of the very existence of humankind. We are infinite. We are here, and we will have our voices heard and continue to demand equality of all forms. We are feminists!

For my Sex and Gender class at Rutgers University, we were asked to interview at least two people of different genders and determine if they identify as feminists.

Disclaimer: Names have been changed for the privacy of participants.

My definition of feminism is to have equality and equal opportunity for females and males as well as all other genders. It is truly about egalitarianism, which can be defined as all people being equal and deserving of equal rights and opportunities. The dictionary definition is along the lines of, “political, economic and social equality of the sexes” as well as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality of the sexes.” I have personally noticed that many individuals sometimes feel uncomfortable with labeling themselves a feminist because there can be repercussions from society for simply identifying as such. Everyone thinks differently about prioritizing equality, and feminists may be seen as attention seekers, unintelligent, etc. I feel that some negative repercussions people face (especially females) are aligned with not complying with traditional (female) gender norms.

For the first interview, I chose my male friend Zachary. He defines feminism as equality – fighting for women’s rights without the cost of hurting anyone. Women have been suppressed for thousands of years and it’s a stepping up for women. He sort of considers himself a feminist, but he says it isn’t a huge part of his identity. He’s seen multiple types of feminists- extreme or subtle and positive or negative. He names Emma Watson is a positive feminist because she fights for equality while remaining a good leader and an inspiration by empowering women. She also sets an example of a successful woman for girls growing up. She empowered Zachary by changing his views in a positive way towards women and taught him the importance of equality of women and spreading awareness of this issue. Zachary also touched on another type of feminist - those who overreact. He stated that oppression applies to women on a regular basis and at all parts throughout their lives. With that, women may act out in a dramatic way because he claims that “hurt people hurt people.”  

In regards to sex, anything extreme becomes an ideology. He thinks feminism influences sex (submission and dominance) but is not necessarily a driving force, because sexual partners may alternate their masculine and feminine energy, which he feels every individual innately has a mix of. He sees a connection between feminism and the Sexual Revolution as moving towards freedom in a way, and encompassing less traditional thinking in regards to gender norms (releasing these ideas). Also, in third world countries, he feels the suppression of women will become lessened over the course of evolution due to the spreading of awareness of feminism. As the entire world increasingly becomes westernized, traditional gender traditions will gradually drop away and make way for feminism (equality).

For my next interview, I decided to interview my close friend Natasha from whom I met in high school. She self-identifies as a feminist and describes feminism as equality, and personally focuses on pay (the gender pay gap).  She views feminism as positive overall because it’s a way to empower women and overcome inequality in society. She feels it sets the standard for future generations of women, and teaches them how to demand respect from others while engaging in non-traditional activities solely based on personal interests. She also believes feminism to be positive because it gives women a space to express themselves freely in ways that they haven’t been able to in the past, which in turn helps open up men to understanding and believing in equality as well. She tried to view the world through the eyes of a feminist, in order to spread awareness about equality of all people.

She believes the Sexual Revolution definitely inspired women to have more respect for themselves and not see themselves as sexual objects whose purpose it is to satisfy men. She feels that over the course of history, women have been able to utilize contraception which allows them to have sexual relations more freely because they have less of a need to worry about the nine-month investment of carrying a child, which was previously unavoidable. It’s addressed as an evolutionary perspective as how men sexually control women, by historically being known to have a stronger sex drive than women, born with an innate purpose to spread their seed.

As a feminist, I enjoy shedding light on the idea of what feminism encompasses, and even such, I just scratched the surface. I hope I got you thinking, and inspired you to view feminism in a positive way.

Sending love and light…

Xo, Susie