My name is Chelsea, and I am indubitably, eternally, and ebulliently a feminist.
I wanted to do a blog post for all of the women out there that are kind of sitting on the fence about identifying themselves as a feminist. I want to show women that it isn't a bad word and that we need to throw away the negative connotations that are associated with it (See: Femi-Nazi, baby killer, slut, tramp, bitch, butch, ugly, bitter, jealous, godless, heathen, liberal, etc).
The first time that I heard the word 'feminist' was way back in elementary school, while listening to the TV, blaring some boring cable news show. I didn't really know what they were talking about, because I barely caught the end of the segment. Is a feminist just someone who really likes...females? Or someone who doesn't like them? Whatever, I went back to watching All That and eating an after school snack of a handful of miniature Chips Ahoy cookies.
I did not learn what it really meant until my mid-teens. As with many teenage girls, I was looking for a role model between the pages of magazines such as Seventeen or YM. Yeah, I wanted all of Britney's clothes, and her super adorable boyfriend from NSYNC, but...what was she really doing? It seemed as if she didn't want to do anything but dance and change her belly button rings. I turned on my Compaq laptop (that weighed around 20 fucking pounds) and logged onto AOL. I searched for 'female role models' and kept getting Oprah Winfrey. I do love Oprah, but she still had her talk show. She hadn't done everything that she had wanted to do yet. I had to look to the past. I eventually found names my little feminist (although I did not know it at the time) heart was looking for. Dorothy Parker, Margaret Sanger, Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem. These women were champions to their causes. They had committed their lives to furthering the cause of equality for women, all the while striving to make the world they lived in a better place.
And that's how my whirlwind relationship with feminism began.
I urge you to look within yourself as a man (men can be feminists, too!) or woman, and think about women's issues. Do research on statistics you're not sure of, and read stacks of books until you find a set of opinions that describes what being a woman means to you. If you've never really thought about what becoming an adult woman means to you, now is the time to find out. I promise that it will enlighten you to things about yourself that you've never known before.
Here's a few little feminist goodies for you.
"In the book I do a test, and the test is this: if you put your hand inside your underwear and you see that you have a vagina, you check that, that you're a lady. So the answer to that question is, "Are you a lady," yes. And then you say, "Do you want to be in charge of your vagina?" and the answer is yes. Then congratulations, you're a feminist."
“We need to reclaim the word 'feminism'. We need the word 'feminism' back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist - and only 42% of British women - I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of 'liberation for women' is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? 'Vogue' by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?”
-Caitlin Moran, How To Be A Woman
I'm currently reading this, and it's one of the most honest books on modern women and feminism told through personal stories of Caitlin from age 13 to where she is in her life currently. It's newly out in paperback!
"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."
Gloria Steinem was the leader of the Women's Liberation Movement in the late 60's and 70's.
If you're a strong woman in her late teens or mid-twenties and don't know who she is, Google that shit immediately, because you've obviously been listening to way too much Katy Perry. Pull those lollipops out of your ears, girls.
This lady kicked/still kicks ass.
These are her top ten 'fearbusters' for your life, ladykins.
Gloria Steinem's Top Ten Fearbusters
10. Reverse the golden rule. For women, treat ourselves as well as we treat others.
9. Fear is a sign of growth. If you are afraid, it means you are stretching and doing
something you haven’t done before. (This is in regard to endeavors, not people)
8. Anger is an energy cell, it is precious.
7. We (women) need to make sure we are using our own unique talents, and not imitating others’ talents.
6. Measure yourself by the real, not by the ideal.
5. Look for allies everywhere. Do not be bound by conventional hierarchies.
4. What is viewed as a disability – being “feminine” – has enormous advantages within it.
3. Just about everyone can learn to change, even us and even them.
2. Ask for help. Surround yourself with people who make you feel smart, not dumb.
1. Remember that our humanity, our equality, our self-determination is the key to everything.
My favorite feminist organizations/websites