Feminism / Women and Gender

I Want the World to Know, I’ve Got to Let It Show: Happy Feminist Coming Out Day!

Happy 2nd Annual Feminist Coming Out Day!!  So here’s a pic of me coming out in my fab new “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” T-shirt!  Started by a queer student group and a feminist club at Harvard, who wanted to “put a face to feminism” and celebrate the range of diversity amongst feminists.  I love the idea of busting stereotypes about feminists.  Too many people view feminists and the word feminism in a negative light, even though it’s all about empowerment.

I’ve shared before how and why I became a feminist.  When I was young, I played with both “girls’” and “boys’” toys, not caring about the gendered implications…but my mother did.  That’s when I first became aware of gendered stereotypes: little girls played with Barbie’s, babies and ponies, little boys played with tools, trucks and He-Man.  But I didn’t care about what was appropriate for my gender; I just wanted to be me.

Despite my fervent interest in gender and abhorrence of sexism, it wasn’t until I was in college when I started calling myself a feminist.  One of my Anthropology professors asked in class who identified as a feminist…and no one raised their hand.  I replied that I’m not a feminist BUT (ah the infamous ‘I’m not a feminist but…’ tagline) I believe in women’s economic and reproductive rights.  Women have the right to choose an abortion, people in the LGBTQ community shouldn’t be treated any differently than a heteronormative couple and women should receive equal pay.  But I’m not a feminist.”  Despite my support for all of those feminist causes, I didn’t like the term feminist because I believed in equality, not that women were above men.  But I learned that feminism wasn’t about excluding men as gender stereotypes hurt men too.  After reading feminist writers, who articulated my rage and annoyance with the inequities of the world, I realized that my beliefs and actions aligned with feminism.  And so I started to call myself one.

Feminism to me is all about equality and freedom: freedom of choice and freedom from harm.  If you oppose sexism and support equality, then you’re a feminist.  I’m tired of living in a world that caters to white men.  I want to live in a world free of sexism, racism, classism, ageism, ableism, misogyny and queer phobia.  Women should earn the same wage for the same job as men.  Women should have full reproductive control over their bodies, whether that means choosing abortion, birth control or becoming a parent.  Anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, should be allowed to marry or raise children.  No one should be subjected to sexism in the media or in the home.  Women and men should be free from domestic violence, rape and sexual assault.  We need to empower women and embrace the diverse choices in their lives.  All of this is feminism to me…and why being a feminist kicks so much ass.

Check out articles & videos about being a feminist and Feminist Coming Out Day:

Feminist Coming Out Day: What Does Feminism Mean to You?

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