The F Word: Being a Feminist Every Day

In recent years, the advocacy for feminism has become increasingly essential to the success of our society. After the fall of a highly qualified female presidential candidate and the election of an openly misogynistic, homophobic, and racist orange man, many felt that hope was lost. By recognizing the grave importance of feminism and openly upholding those values, we have the power to overcome and withstand this dark time of history. Being a feminist does not mean that you have to necessarily stand in the streets with a sign (although that is always encouraged). There are easy, yet powerful ways to declare your independence. By liberating yourself in a male-oriented society, you too can be a feminist every day. Here’s how.

1. Wear whatever the hell you want to.

This is quite literally a declaration of independence and freedom. Why should the judgements of others, even if that judgement is perpetuated by other women (see rule #4), dictate how you live your life? If you want to wear a lace bodysuit, do it. And if you want to wear oversized “man” clothes, go for it. Why should the misconceptions of “slutty” or “prude” permeate your personal life? They shouldn’t.

2. Never. Stop. Learning.

Women are socially conditioned to believe that they are not as inherently intelligent as their male counterparts. This is just incorrect. However, the mere misconception does its damage. By the age of middle school, girls are significantly less likely to major in hard sciences or mathematics, even those who were passionate about such subjects only a couple years prior. Fight for your education. Read (Girls and Sex is a must). Follow the lives of inspirational female warriors like Tamika D Mallory, Emma Watson, Zendaya, Malala Yousafzai, Elizabeth Warren, and the countless others.

3. Stop apologizing for taking up space.

If you’re late for a brunch date, thank your friend for waiting instead of apologizing for being late. Replace your “I’m sorry” with “thank you.” This will change your outlook on life, and continuously remind you to be self-aware. Words matter. Use them to better yourself.

4. And lastly, and most importantly, love and empower the women around you.

This sense of self-awareness extends to recognizing the importance of respecting all the women in your life. This means women of all races, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or societally assigned gender. Women are wrongfully expected to compete against one another for attention and for status. Catch yourself when you begin to judge the actions of women around you. Notice the people in your life that empower you and remember those who make you feel small. This speaks volumes.