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.