21 November 2012

An Inspiration To Ladies Everywhere

I pulled this off of a friend's Facebook and I felt like she articulated many sentiments that I hold near and dear quite well.
 Thank you, Alysen, for helping us find our voices.
Thank you more for having one of those voices that so many feminists struggle to find.  
I love being a feminist. I love calling myself "feminist" out loud
because that word wields power. It's like an open invitation to anyone within earshot to call my bluff. Identifying as a feminist tells other people that I am strong-willed, defiant, critically minded, independent, opinionated and most importantly: vocal. I love being a feminist because I can vote, go to college, read literature, and publicly state my opinion without being imprisoned or risking death.

All of these things were difficult or impossible for women to do even 100 years ago, and women in other parts of the globe STILL do not have some of these freedoms. Openly identifying as a feminist also means that I risk being ridiculed, condemned, or criticized. Like many women, I still confront the embarrassment of being honked at when I walk down the sidewalk in a summer dress. I still constantly feel the unrelenting pressure to conform to ideal body standards. I still feel the scorn when I tell some people that I do not wish to have children, get married; or that I would seek a legal abortion if I wanted one. I still feel overwhelmed and sometimes lost, ignored, taken for granted and self conscious that nothing I do or say will ever be good enough because society tells me that I have to live my life in a certain way to be happy. 
So I fight. I fight against people who try to reduce freedoms that women have gained. I fight against people in my own community and on this campus who attack my core values (recall the individual who posted "7 Ways Feminism is Destroying American Women" all over campus, or the campus religious zealots who would rather see women die in back-alley-botch-jobs than have access to legal and hygienic abortion procedures). I fight against professors who show favoritism to males in the classroom for the simple fact that they are males. I fight against my peers who don't understand why I will not just shut up, be empty-headed, pretty, and flirt with boys. I fight to be recognized as valuable, intelligent, and fully capable. I will continue to fight for consciousness-raising. I will speak out whenever I can because silence is an act of compliance. Any time I raise my voice in objection, it is a small victory for advancing equality. 
Yes, there will always be those who disagree. But if I can use my voice and my knowledge to make life better in some small way for someone I will never know in another part of the world, or someone who will live in another time decades into the future, that is a battle worth fighting for--because some brave women in the not-so-distant past who never knew of my existence cared enough to fight for me. Feminism is my vivacious spirit, and no one can ever
take that away.

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