Running With the Boys

The feminist movement means something different to us all. We craft our definition from experiences, what we read, and what people tell us. These three factors differ from person to person, and as a result, our individual notions of feminism differs from one another. A “movement” insinuates change, which inherently requires action. So rather than argue over what feminism is, I would like to talk about feminism from a behavioral standpoint. In honor of Womxn’s History month, I would like to share what feminism looks like for me.

The statistics don’t lie. We all know that higher up executive positions are dominated by men. Moreover, many agree that womxn+ are equally as deserving and competent to hold these positions. Nonetheless, companies now feel pressured to give womxn+ more opportunities in higher-up positions as a means to “support the feminist movement.” The thing is, I don’t want a free pass. I sit in my Computer Science courses as one of the few womxn+, learning the same material, and completing the same assignments as everyone else. At the end of the day, I don’t want to be thought of as a good software engineer “for a womxn+”, I just want to be thought of as a good software engineer.

Woman in pink jacket on laptopBiology also doesn’t lie. There is a good reason why womxn+ do not compete against men in many sports. Thus, I think it’s important to recognize that gender cannot be completely removed in all comparisons of ability. My freshman year, I took a military conditioning class which allowed undergraduate students to undergo training with students from the ROTC program. During one workout, the head lieutenant yelled, “Are you boys going to let a girl beat you?” I remember thinking: Hell yeah, I am! Needless to say, there were some boys who were quite faster than me, and I enjoyed trying to keep up with them anyways.

Woman running with a sunset in the backgroundI think that people often get caught up on the definition of feminism. At the end of the day, our beliefs are best showcased by our corresponding actions. We can argue all day over its subtle details; however, I prefer to wake up each day and prove that I am willing to work just as hard as anyone else towards my dreams.