Katey Brosche Katey is a student at MTSU and a staff writer for TFP. You can visit Katey's blog here - www.katbrosche.com
Let me start this post by saying I am aware of how different the inequalities women face in America are compared to those being faced in third world countries. I am aware that in comparison, we have it much easier and are much luckier than those women. I am also aware, however, that the United States of America is supposed to be a leading nation and while the two sexes are not equal, that will never truly be correct (a fact confirmed by The World Economic Forum’s “Global Gender Gap Report 2015,” where the United States ranked 28th our of 145 countries). Rape culture, discrimination, and sex trafficking are just a few issues in which the odds are statistically stacked against women.
This is why we march.
RAPE CULTURE is alive and thriving in the United States. With every brave survivor of sexual assault comes a hoard of attackers asking “What were you wearing?” and “How much did you have to drink?” Because of the hostile society that prioritizes keeping guilty males out of jail and passing the blame on to the victim, many women will never tell others about being raped so understand that even as high as these numbers are, they are grossly understated.
1 in 5 women has been/will be raped or had experienced/will experience an attempted rape at least once in her lifetime. 1 in 4 women has been/will be beaten by an intimate partner. 1 in 6 women has been/will be stalked. Source: National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, performed by the CDC.
82% of all juvenile rape victims are female, 90% of adult rape victims are female. Source: RAINN.
1 in 5 female college students are survivors of sexual assault and that only accounts for the 11% of rapes on campus that are reported. Source: Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation Survey.
334 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to the police and out of those 1,000 sexual assaults, 994 perpetrators will walk free. Source: RAINN.
Of the few perpetrators who do not immediately walk free, many will receive sentences less severe than the man who tied a tarp to change the “HOLLYWOOD” sign to “HOLLYWEED.”
Brock Turner, famous for being found guilty for 3 different felonies and still being referred to as “Stanford Swimmer” instead of “Rapist,” served 3 months of his 6 month sentence because, according to the judge, “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.”
Robert H. Richards IV received an 8 year prison sentence in 2009 after raping his 3 year-old daughter. Instead of forcing the rapist to serve his sentence, the judge said that the “defendant will not fare well” locked up. Said judge suspended the sentence and put Richards on probation instead, making his only punishments probation, being registered as a sex offender, and seeking “treatment.”
Austin Smith Clem was found guilty of raping a neighbor 3 times, twice when she was 14 years-old and again when she was 18 years-old, and was sentenced 40 years in prison. However, the judge wrote the sentence so that he would only have to serve time in prison if he violated his probation, which was supervision under the Limestone County community corrections program and a fine. That punishment was protested and he was sentenced again, but the judge still avoided forcing him to serve time.
Similar outcomes were the same for Jose Arriaga Soto Jr., Thomas Boden, and more.
DISCRIMINATION is another one of America’s embarrassing flaws. Discrimination against women has been around for hundreds of years, and it is for some reason still a difficult thing to shake in 2017.
Despite women earning 60% of all master’s degrees in 2012, in 2015 there were only 26 women (5.2%) serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Source: Pew Research Center, Women and Leadership.
In 2012, for doing the same job with the same qualification as a man, white women made 80% of what a man made, African American women made just under 70%, and Hispanic women made roughly 60%. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, U.S. Department of Labor.
In 2015, the smallest pay gap was reported in Washington D.C., where white women were paid 90% of what white men were paid for doing the same job with the same qualifications. Louisiana is where the pay gap was the largest, with white women being paid 65% of what white men were paid for doing the same job with the same qualifications. Keep in mind white women make much more than African American and Hispanic women. Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (allowed lawsuits for pay discrimination to be filed within 180 days of any discrimination-affected paycheck, even if it was the result of discrimination that occurred more than 180 days ago), a bill that Mike Pence voted against not once, not twice, but three times. Source: American Bridge.
Mike Pence also voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would require employers to prove that instances of unequal pay were job-related. Source: American Bridge.
By the time a college-educated woman turns 59, she will have lost almost $800,000 throughout her professional career as a result of the gender wage gap. Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Status of Women in the States 2015 Executive Summary.
If equal pay existed, it would cut the poverty rate in half for families with a working woman. Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research calculations based on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic supplements.
SEX TRAFFICKING is a modern day form of slavery in the United States that specifically targets women and children. Thousands of women and girls around America are kidnapped and/or groomed into becoming a sex slave. This is one of the fastest growing illegal activities. The average trafficker with in Atlanta makes over $34,000 a week, just a small part of Georgia’s $390 million trafficking industry.
Since 2007, there have been over 14,588 reports of sex trafficking within the United States. Source: National Human Trafficking Hotline, operated by Polaris.
1 in 6 endangered runaways were likely sex trafficking victims in 2014. Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked every year, of which 80% are female and half are children. Source: U.S. State Department.
Women and girls make up 98% of trafficking victims globally for sexual exploitation. Source: International Labour Organization.
Over 5 million men and women marched because of how different these statistics are for men. We marched because the United States of America should not be ranked 28th for gender equality. Write to your senators and representatives and let your voice (and the truth) be heard. Men are here because of women. Being a woman should not be a misfortune because it’s freaking awesome.
Katey Brosche Katey is a student at MTSU and a staff writer for TFP. You can visit Katey's blog here - www.katbrosche.com
Something to keep in mind: the current abortion rate is 1.46%, the lowest it’s been since before Roe v. Wade, with the rate of teenage pregnancy at about half of what it was 50 years ago The day after Trump’s inauguration, more than 5 million men and women of different races, cultures and political affiliations joined together to participate in Women’s Marches all over the world. Days later, the “Pro-Life March” celebrated their 44th annual event in Washington D.C. where they have been protesting Roe v. Wade every year since 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled it legal for a woman to safely and legally end a pregnancy, regardless of marital status and regardless of reason. The Women’s Marches received much criticism from people who are unaware of what it is, calling the movement “pointless” and “a waste of time,” among other things. Unfortunately, the reality is at this time there is very little we can do. Other than writing letters to senators and representatives (which we sent thousands of in Nashville alone) and spreading the word of all of the issues and oppression women face in the United States (think it doesn't exist click here to see how it does), there is nothing feminists can do right now other than campaign and protest to bring awareness to those issues. People who claim to be “pro-life,” on the other hand, have a multitude of things they could actually be doing if they were truly pro-life, but the sad truth is that nearly all of these protestors are simply pro-birth/anti-abortion. These men and women claim their morals and religion tell them they cannot “murder a baby,” so they want all women to be forced to carry the fetus to term. But where are those people when the baby is born? If they were truly pro-life, instead of protesting to have a Supreme Court ruling over-turned and women’s reproductive rights slowly terminated, they would be spending that time helping mothers and children. If they were truly pro-life, there wouldn’t be over 400,000 children in foster care, a number that’s less than the amount of people the event organizers say attended the Pro-Life March. This means that if only 63.8% of attendees fostered a child, there wouldn’t be any foster children in modern day orphanages. If they were truly pro-life, they wouldn’t be voting against bills to help families who fall below the poverty line when the CBPP’s census data shows that assistance programs reduce poverty as well as reducing the number of uninsured. If you are someone you consider to be “pro-life,” go out and do something to help those who will be affected by a ruling you want to over-turn, and understand how a decision you see to be “morally correct” will negatively affect others. Do you want to help and not be hypocritical, or are you a passionate pro-choice advocate and want to help? Listed below are a few quick and easy ways to assist mothers and children in need!!
Organizations to support by financial contributions or volunteering:
· Project Safe Place. Sponsored by the YMCA, it provides immediate help and safety to young people at risk of neglect, abuse, and/or other serious family problems.
· Global Fund for Women. It is an international grant-making foundation that supports the economic, political, social, and education advances of women in the United States and around the world.
· After School Alliance. This organization is committed to ensuring that all children have access to affordable, quality after-school programs.
· Futures without Violence. Previously known as “Family Violence Prevention Fund,” it operates to prevent and end violence against women and children in the United Stated and around the world.
· The Mommies Network. This 501c(3) non-profit organization is devoted to assisting moms find support and friendship within their local communities.
· Help a Mother Out. This is a nationally-recognized public organization with the goal of helping every mother always have enough diapers for her baby.
Bills and government assistance programs to support:
· H.R. 253: To invest funding in prevention and family services to help keep children safe and supported at home and to ensure that children in foster care are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like, appropriate settings.
· H.R. 107: To amend Title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Labor to prioritize the provision of services to homeless veterans with dependent children in carrying out homeless veterans reintegration programs + more.
· H.R. 161: To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a grant program to provide supportive services in permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals and families + more.
· H.R. 98: To replace references to “wives” and “husbands” in federal law with references to “spouses,” + more.
· Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provide free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
· Head Start. This is a federal program that supports the school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income households by developing their cognitive, social, and emotional advancement.
In most cases, those who claim to be “pro-life,” do so because of their religion. Because of that, I think it is important to include some verses from the Bible (NIV) regarding the importance of helping others.
· James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
· Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
· 1 John 3:17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
· Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
· James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
· Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.
the author of this essay has asked to remain anonymous
I was 17 when it happened. I was a senior in high school, just about to graduate. I had my entire life ahead of me, and then it happened. It’s been almost three years, and every day I still think about it. For a majority of those three years, I blamed myself. I shouldn’t have been drinking, I shouldn’t have been in his apartment, I shouldn’t have told him I liked him the weekend before, I shouldn’t have been wearing a low-cut shirt.. Because maybe, just maybe if I could go back in time and change one of these factors, I wouldn’t have been sexually assaulted that night. Half of the United States elected a man who has been accused of sexual assault and even said himself, “Grab her by the pussy.” People made excuses for him, saying he was joking, that it was so long ago it doesn’t matter anymore, it was just “locker room talk”. But, tell me, if it was just locker room talk, why are so many women being sexually assaulted? If it was just locker room talk, why am I even writing this? America has a rape problem. We cannot deny this. America also has a victim blaming problem. We cannot deny this, either. According to Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics on Rainn.org, “Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.” Yet only 20% of sexual assault cases are actually reported. Hundreds of women and men are being violated and nothing is being done about it. Why is this? Well, let’s look at Brock Turner. Ah, yes. Brock Turner, the infamous “Stanford Swimmer”. The star athlete that raped an unconscious girl behind a trashcan. Yes, he physically violated a young college student, but major news outlets seemed to have only referred to him as a “Stanford swimmer”. He’s not. He was kicked off the swim team, banned from the prestigious campus and oh yeah, he’s a convicted rapist. Fortunately, this athlete received time behind bars. A whole six months. He didn't even serve his whole sentence, though, because he was let go after three months for "good behavior". Wait, three months? That’s it? He did the unimaginable to another human being yet only faced 12 weeks in jail? You’re kidding right? Nope, I’m not! Unfortunately, his case is unique. Unique as in most convicted rapist never see the inside of a prison cell. One in a thousand reported attackers actually face time behind bars. But concerned citizens, do not fret. Another attack will never happen on the Stanford campus again. The University banned hard alcohol at their parties, so it won’t, right? I mean, after all, clearly the alcohol is the only reason why she was raped. Once we start believing this false narrative, we find ourselves asking, why was she even drinking? Wasn’t she underage? That’s illegal! What was she wearing? A short skirt, low cut top? I don’t know, it kind of seems like she was asking for it, right? He’s a guy, how was he supposed to control himself? These questions echo in the court rooms of every rape case, because for some reason it’s easier to blame her Mike’s Hard Lemonade and miniskirt than it is to hold the rapist accountable for his actions. We place the blame on the victims and show sympathy for the attackers. We’re one breath away from calling the victims sluts, then looking them in the eye and asking why they didn’t report it. I didn’t report mine. I thought rape was walking home alone at night and having a bad guy jump out of the bushes. I didn’t realize the bad guy could be your friend, the bushes could be his apartment, and, instead of strolling the sidewalk at midnight, you’re fading in and out of intoxicated consciousness while he climbs on top of you. I blamed myself. I was embarrassed, ashamed and didn’t want anybody else to know. And because of my fear brought on by society, I have become a part of the 80% of unreported attacks statistic. But what if she was lying? According to National Review, only 2-8% of reported rape cases are false accusations. So, are we going to ignore the other potential 98%? Are we going to continue pushing the false narrative that the victims are to blame? Are we going to continue questioning why cases aren’t reported, instead of creating safe environments for the ones who were attacked? The answer is unfortunately all too clear. Our President is a man who has been quoted saying “you have to treat ‘em like shit.” And “It must be a pretty picture. You dropping to your knee." America speaks of women as if we’re property then tries to act shocked when we are physically treated as less than human. As long as a majority of citizens are defending comments like “grab her by the pussy”, we are not "making America great again", we are making America rape again.
Kendall Kindred Kendall is the Editor and Staff Writer at TFP.
By now you've seen just about every crazy myth about abortion. I put together a list of some of the most common ones and disproved them for you. (Plus I included links, just in case you want a second or third opinion.)
MYTH: Adoption is always a better option than abortion. FACT: For some women, adoption is a great choice, but for many others, the adoption process is exhausting, and is often the woman’s last choice. Many women experience symptoms of grief for years following the birth of the child. In addition, the number of adoptions versus abortions performed is vastly disproportionate, more women choosing adoption over abortion would likely result in the placement of children in the foster care system rather than adoptive homes. Currently, there are nearly 400,000 children in the foster care system, and only half of them have plans for permanent placement. If abortions become harder to access, this number will only grow, and children will have an even harder time getting the resources they need to be successful. https://rewire.news/article/2014/10/20/adoption-universal-alternative-abortion-matter-anti-choicers-say/
MYTH: Banning abortions will put an end to them. FACT: The fact of the matter is, banning abortions will only force women to turn to more drastic methods instead of safe ones. The best way to prevent abortions is to make sure kids are getting comprehensive sexual education, and men and women are getting access to affordable healthcare and contraception. Teaching from an “abstinence only” curriculum is more harmful to students than helpful, because it fails to teach them how to take preventative measures. Making contraception accessible and affordable will seriously lower the amount of unplanned pregnancies and will, in turn, drastically change the abortion rate. Affordable sexual healthcare = less unwanted pregnancies = less abortions. It’s as simple as that.
Kendall Kindred Kendall is the Editor and staff writer at TFP.
As long as I live, I will never forget the way it felt to march alongside thousands of men and women, young and old, promoting equal rights. I will always hear the voices ringing out through the streets, proudly proclaiming “this is what democracy looks like”. Any time I feel hopeless and small, I will remember the faces I saw, the people I met and the voices I joined at the Women’s March, and I will rise up in the face of adversity and opposition. Everyone has their own specific reason to march, but we all share a common goal: equality. We want to create a world that is more inclusive than the one we were handed. Personally, I march for my little brother and sister. I march because I see the hope and the light in their eyes, and I know that they will be the ones to build this country into something better than we have ever dreamed of. I march to lay the groundwork for them, just as previous generations have done for me. In recent years, protesters have been met with scrutiny, many critics asking the same tired question: “What is marching around with a sign going to change?” Did anyone pay attention in history class? The Suffragettes didn’t just sit back and wait for someone to hand them the right to vote, they protested outside of the White House every day. They organized rallies and fought hard for their right to vote. We take a day off from work and school to celebrate a man that organized one of the most famous protests in history. Do people discredit Martin Luther King Jr.’s protests? Do they belittle the movement he gave his life for? No. So, why do so many people belittle modern protests when we are still fighting the same battle? The Women’s March was unlike anything I have ever experienced. There was so much hope in the air, it was almost tangible. There was a sense of safety and camaraderie as we all marched together, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder. I spoke with strangers who instantly became friends. I saw children holding signs promoting love and kindness, their parents following close behind and beaming with pride. As I marched with the people around me, I was very aware of the fact that there were people in every single continent marching along with me. I could feel history being made. It’s nearly impossible to put that feeling into words. Growing up, I read about the heroes in my history books and could never imagine myself in their shoes. I never thought I would find a cause worthy enough to fight and sacrifice for. I never thought I would be part of a movement that changed history. God, was I wrong. Today proved that. This march showed me, and the world, just how powerful women can be when we stand together and fight. So, to the little kids who don’t think they can make a difference, you are in for a big surprise. You are the future. You are going to do big, incredible things. To my little sister and brother, you both have the heart and the ability to change the world. You WILL change the world. I can’t wait to help you do it.
Tori Noriega Tori is a student at Pace University in New York City and Creative Director/Staff Writer at TFP.
I identify as an intersectional feminist. If you don’t know what that means, keep reading. That’s my whole point in this article. The kind of feminism that I see publicized at marches, such as one that recently happened, the Women’s March, is one that does not focus on all women. It focuses on women with female genitalia and predominantly white women. There is nothing wrong with white women or cisgendered women, I am cisgendered and white-passing, but the issues of “free the nipple” and “grab them by the pussy” do not apply to all femmes. First of all, let me explain what intersectional feminism is. I would like to point out that intersectional feminism was named by a black woman and is in no way is my original idea. The idea of intersectional feminism is that we are all equal. From white cisgender women to femmes of color. We take into account everyone’s needs and their issues. We work to resolve those issues. It is not an oppression competition. We are not trying to see who has it worse. We need to support all feminists and continue to educate ourselves. Never assume you know all that there is to know. I promise you, you don’t. That’s one thing my family taught me, especially my grandfather. There is always more to learn. The past feminists some idolize are not my idols. I do not mean to offend anyone, but those women didn’t fight for all women, they fought for white women. I idolize women like Rosa Parks, Assata Shakur, Frida Kahlo, Angela Davis and many more femmes of color who fought against white supremacy and the patriarchy. I am tired of seeing women of color, transgender femmes, disabled femmes and many more be erased in the mainstream media's version of feminism. These are our sisters, and if we do not fight for them, we are not truly fighting against the patriarchy. We are playing into it. There will be people who read this and think I’m just complaining more and more about things that are “made up”. They will think I am a sensitive “snowflake”, one of the many phrases people use to dismiss problems that don’t affect them. I see them on my Facebook from people I went to school with. I hear it from my distant family. Despite the opposition and name-calling, these issues are real, whether you want to accept it or not. Not everyone plays into a gender stereotype or identifies with a gender. We cannot erase nonbinary femmes. Transgender women are women, and they deserve our help just as much as any other woman. I don’t see as much talk about our sisters as I would like, we need to speak of the violence committed against them. Disabled women are very frequently overlooked, even from some of my extremely educated friends rarely mention disabled women. I rarely see disabled femmes out speaking to the masses. I know it isn’t because they do not want to, or because they do not have opinions on these issues. It is because we do not give them a spot. There is so much we need to focus more on. The amount of times I have heard and seen women of color say something that is revolutionary be taken by a white woman is absurd. As I said in the beginning, this isn’t an oppression Olympics, by any means, but sometimes you have to step back and analyze your situation compared to others. I know that as a Mexican-American woman there are things I experience that my white friends have not, but I also know that there are things my darker skinned latinx friends and black friends experience that I will never experience. They do not consistently remind me, I remind myself. We need to remember that if our feminism isn't intersectional, it isn't feminism at all.
Kelly Joyce Kelly is a student at Ohio State University, studying English and Spanish in hopes of becoming an educator.
Unfortunately, feminism can be considered to be a “dirty word” or a taboo topic. Personally, I think feminism is something that needs to be talked about and it’s a subject I feel very passionate about. Some people have the idea that feminism is about showing that men are inferior to women and women are the only ones who have to face any kind of oppression, but that’s not what feminism is. Those so-called “feminazis” who don’t promote “the theory or political, economic, and social inequality of the sexes” (which is how Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines feminism), are not feminists. It makes me upset how some girls hold back from calling themselves feminists simply because of the fear of backlash and the negative connotations that often come along with the title. I don’t want people to think feminism is a negative thing. Feminism is about promoting equality and acceptance, and supporting each other (regardless of gender). It’s about empowering women to feel that they have a voice and their voice is important and needs to be heard. It’s empowering anyone who feels that they aren't important.
Feminism is about body positivity. Every girl should be proud of her body, and shouldn't be ashamed of her appearance because she doesn’t look like the models that are depicted in the media. Guys shouldn't feel like they have to have toned biceps and washboard abs in order to feel confident. Everybody is beautiful and every body is beautiful.
Feminism is about equality in the work force. It’s about how women shouldn't be paid less than men simply because they’re women. Women shouldn't feel discouraged from asking for a raise because they don’t feel they deserve it. Women should be guaranteed paid maternity leave, just as men should be able to take paid paternity. Men get scrutinized for not being around for their children as much as women, yet very few jobs allow for men to take time off to be with their children. Women should work just as hard as men, not harder. Women should be able to have the same jobs as men.
Feminism is about making women feel smart, capable, and strong. It’s not about putting them inside this box that limits them and makes them feel like they have to be a certain way. Women don’t have to be “lady-like” or motherly. Women shouldn’t be made to feel like they should be a teacher or a secretary or a nurse or a stay at home mom, instead of being an engineer or astronaut or senator or even the President.
Feminism is about believing women have the right to decide what they do with their bodies. It’s not anyone else’s choice to decide what a woman’s reproductive rights are. Whether she should be on birth control or have an abortion or be sexually active is her choice and no one else’s, and she shouldn’t feel ashamed for the choice she makes.
Feminism is about knowing that being sexually harassed is never the victim’s fault, and has nothing to do with their fashion choices. Wearing a short skirt or a low cut skirt does not mean a woman was “asking for it.” No one is ever asking to be harassed. Abuse is no one’s fault but the abuser’s.
Feminism is about empowering women, and not making men feel like they’re inferior. Feminism is about supporting and promoting equality for all genders. I hope to live in a word one day where feminism isn’t such a huge social issue, and it isn’t something that comes with a negative connotation. “Feminist” isn’t a dirty word. Let’s stop treating it like one.
Katey Brosche Katey is a student at MTSU and a staff writer for TFP. You can visit Katey's blog here - www.katbrosche.com
Feminism. It’s a powerful word that makes some happy and makes some roll their eyes. It’s a movement that has revolutionized lives and stands on the basis of inclusion. However, many, many women and men have vocalized their distaste for the subject, and the more I learn about those people's opinions, the more I realize that faux feminists (also known as the ones who hate men and think women are superior) have ruined the word. The dictionary definition for feminism, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” What’s wrong with that? It doesn’t say you hate men, can’t like pink, that you have to be a woman to be a feminist, that you can’t like The Bachelor, or that your religion has anything to do with it. I love me some men, I like pink, I’m a woman obvi but I feel confident saying the guys I choose to surround myself with are feminists, I like The Bachelor almost as much as I like The Bachelorette, and I love Jesus. If you agree with any thing in the list I’ve posted below, CONGRATULATIONS YOU’RE A FEMINIST!
You do not hate men You care about men’s rights You care about LGBTQ+ rights You don’t think women should have any special treatment You think women and men should be held accountable for their actions You want to be educated You want to be domestic and have a family You want to be a stay at home mom/dad You want to hold a leadership position in your sorority or fraternity You don’t like how the media portrays women You don’t like double standards You, as a woman, want to be CEO of a company one day You, as a woman, do not think you’re better than men nor do you want to be paid more than men OR you think that women are equal to you and should be paid the EXACT SAME WAGE for the EXACT SAME JOB You believe in choice (not just choice of abortion, but choice of anything) You, as a woman, like choosing what happens to your body OR you like women having the choice of what happens to their body (birth control, cancer screenings, abortion, etc) You hate stereotypes and judgment in general You value homemaking You like to like the color pink You like to like dressing "girly" You don’t like being cat-called or being “grabbed by the pussy” You want equal pay for women because yes, that IS still an issue in the United States. You know that women in the US still face disadvantages, even though they’re not the same issues women in third world countries face You care about the welfare of women and men in all countries, first world and third world You believe in social justice You, as a woman, want to fight for your country OR you believe women should be able to fight for their country
Again, if you recognized a single one of those as something you believe in, you are by definition a feminist. If you disagreed with any of those, you are a feminist who disagrees with other feminists (aka how every feminist feels at some point). Feminism has no gender, has no race, and has no political association.We aren’t crazy. We don’t hate men. You don’t have to attend protests and limit your twitter timeline to only Louisa May Alcott quotes, but at the very least you can stop being anti-feminist.
Kendall Kindred Kendall is the Editor and staff writer at TFP. twitter - @kendallscout
As the daughter of an English teacher, most of my life has been spent with my nose buried in a book. I have always been passionate about reading, finding homes away from home in other people’s stories. Because of this, I was fortunate enough to have strong female role models as a young girl, both in my daily life and in my books. I can say with total confidence that I would not be the person I am if not for two characters in particular: Scout Finch and Hermione Granger. Scout Finch, the narrator in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, is my namesake. I have carried her with me throughout my entire life, even before I really knew her. Within the first few pages of To Kill a Mockingbird, I was completely hooked. I have always been fiercely independent, so Scout’s wild spirit and total disdain for the expectations thrust upon her quickly showed me that we shared so much more than just a name. Scout is bright and uninhibited, at times to a fault. She knew that she didn’t want to be just like every other girl and boldly protected her right to individuality. One of my favorite moments in the book occurs when Scout is being scolded by her uncle, Jack. “You want to grow up to be a lady, don’t you?” he asks. Scout responds, “Not particularly”. This is one of many times that Scout challenges the belief that young girls should be calm and quiet, wearing a dress and a smile at all times. I read about her and wanted to have the same kind of fearlessness that she did. I stopped worrying about what other people thought of me, and started pursuing the things that made me happy. I’m sure I speak for so many young women when I say that Hermione Granger is one of my heroes. The Harry Potter series, written by J.K. Rowling, has always been a big part of my life. I feel like I grew up with the kids at Hogwarts, and that has been so beneficial to me. Hermione excelled in her classes despite the fact that neither of her parents were wizards, something that most wizards saw as a disadvantage. She faced scrutiny from her peers and succeeded anyway. She protected her friends with a vigor matched only by her determination to defend what is right. Hermione is a hero in every sense of the word, putting the greater good above her own safety, and standing up for the defenseless. She is often overshadowed by her friends, Harry Potter and Ron Weasely, but she is a force to be reckoned with. The trio would not have survived if not for Hermione’s intelligence and grace under pressure. Hermione’s impact on me extends past the universe that exists within the Harry Potter books. In the movies, she is played by Emma Watson, a dedicated feminist and co-founder of He For She, an organization created by UN Women to promote gender equality across the globe. Emma, like Hermione, is unbelievably intelligent. While filming the Harry Potter movies, she attended Brown University and received a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. She continues to work closely with the UN, and is an advocate for women’s rights. Her passion for education and activism inspires me daily and makes me strive to achieve the things she has. Scout Finch taught me how to challenge societal norms. Hermione Granger taught me bravery, and encouraged me to take my education seriously. Emma Watson continues to pave the way so that young women like me can make real, positive changes as activists and feminists. There is a strength inside me that only exists because of Scout and Hermione, and I will forever be indebted to Harper Lee and J.K. Rowling for bringing them to life. My passion for reading exists because I have been able to find myself inside the pages of these books, and that is something I will always be grateful for.