So, you think you’re NOT a feminist?

Feminism. FEMINISM. Women for women. MEN for women. People fighting for the cause of PEOPLE.

In today’s day and age, the word feminism is used in lots of different ways. It can be viewed as a “dirty” word. But it can also be hugely empowering.

What do you think feminism means? What image do you have in your head about what it means to be a feminist? I have some friends that hear the word feminism and automatically think of super-butch lesbians with short haircuts marching topless down city streets picketing for the cause of women. I know some people who think that people who are feminists think that WOMEN ARE BETTER THAN MEN, GOSH DANG IT, LET’S LET THEM TRAMPLE MEN!!

Really? C’mon guys. That is NOT what feminism is.

But, what does the word ACTUALLY mean? Let’s take a look.

Google thinks that feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

According to Mirriam-Webster, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

Urban Dictionary says that feminism is the belief that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals and social equals to men. These people can be either male or female human beings, although the ideology is commonly (and perhaps falsely) associated mainly with women.

Hmmm. That’s interesting. Feminism is NOT the notion that women are better than men. Feminists aren’t JUST super-butch topless lesbians. Feminism is the concept of GENDER EQUALITY. Feminism is the notion that men and women ARE EQUAL, and were created EQUAL. A feminist is someone who believes in having gender equality be an actual thing. A feminist doesn’t HAVE to be a woman; in fact, the biggest feminist I know personally is none other than my loving father.

I don’t know about you, but in my book feminism = HUMANITY.

So, I don’t think you were wondering whether or not I am a feminist, but in case you WERE wondering, YES! I am a feminist. With every fiber of my being, I BELIEVE THAT ALL HUMANS WERE CREATED EQUAL!

I come from a very religious background. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or as everyone knows us, the Mormon church. I was born into a Mormon family, but we were very nontraditional (and still are, for that matter). Yes, we attended church on a regular basis, yes, we donated 1/10th of our money to the church as a tithe, no, we didn’t drink coffee or alcohol or tea (except for herbal tea). In many ways, we were very traditional; however, my mother was not a stay-at-home mom, like women in the Mormon church are encouraged to be. My parents both worked several jobs at the same time in order to provide life for my older brother and I. My mother worked her butt off EVERY DAY (and still does). Both of my parents taught me the value of hard work. Ever since I was a little girl, my parents taught me to be a power-house woman, and that I could achieve ANYTHING that I put my mind to. I was raised to understand that I am EQUAL to men. I have the capacity to do the things that they do, and that I am just as intelligent, just as qualified, just as good as the men around me. My parents are so wonderful.

Meanwhile at church, I was taught that a woman’s “role” is to stay home and take care of and raise the children while the man was out working hard to provide for them. I was taught that a woman’s rightful place was within the walls of a home and that the most influence she could have in life would be on her children. Whenever I would hear this in church, I would think to myself, “But, my Momma works every day. She provides for me too. She doesn’t have to stay home in order to take care of me. She can work just like Daddy can.” From a very young age, I remember being aware of the gender-based injustices that were prevalent within the Mormon church.

As I have grown up, I have become even more aware of gender inequality, and not just within the context of my religious affiliation. Everywhere I look, I can see it; within the work-force, at school, among my friends, among my colleagues. There are little inequalities within my own life that happen every single day, and to be quite frank, it makes me very sad.

You might be wondering what the point of all of this is. Honestly, I’m not sure I even know. However, I know that I am passionate enough about this subject to write about it every week. I know that I want to help people understand why it’s necessary to have gender equality. Feminism isn’t a dirty word, and I want to help people understand what it really, truly means, as a concept in it’s most basic form: equality. Love. Respect. Recognition.

To me, that’s what it’s all about. :)

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6 thoughts on “So, you think you’re NOT a feminist?

  1. Hey! I love this idea for your class and I think it’ll be a great experience to write about feminism in your life. In my master’s program, we talk a lot about different aspects of feminism and I think that explaining what feminism means is a great start. I also think a lot of people are confused about what gender roles, gender identities, sexual identities, and patriarchy all refers to so maybe, if you want, you can include that in your blog. I actually am working on including feminist and peace theory when educating people about sexual and reproductive health, along with sexual violence prevention, for my final project in my master’s program so if you’re I interested in that, let me know and I’d love to talk about it! Also, lastly, because this is going so long, I do have a few blogs I’ve written that have some entries about this topic if you want to peruse them at rostowfske.WordPress.com! Wish you the best with this and can’t wait to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey! I think that this blog entry is great and I love the idea you have of writing about feminism during your writing class :) I actually love talking about feminism as well and, in my master’s program, we discuss a lot about feminism. I think explaining what it means is always a great idea. Also, I think that talking about what gender roles, gender identities, sexual identities, sexual orientation and patriarchy mean would be awesome as well just because I think those topics can be confusing, but they are pretty central to a lot of issues brought up by the field of feminism and feminist critique. I’m actually planning on writing my master’s final project about incorporating peace and feminist theory into reproductive and sexual health education, along with discussing its role in sexual violence prevention, so if you are interested in that, please let me know and we can chat! Lastly, some of my blogs on my websites talk about feminist issues (some in Spanish and others in English) that I think you may find interesting if you want to look them up :) Hope this goes well and I can’t wait to read it as the semester goes along!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Shakira!
    I know you feel strongly about this subject, as do I. Will you be presenting contemporary feminist issues and giving your opinion on them in this blog? I personally would be very interested in your opinions and ideas.
    The ever present battles of feminism, in my opinion and understanding (and why I am a feminist in my own right), are to dispel bias, and overcome fear. The feminist movement will be successful if women are not afraid to stand for their beliefs and desires, and feel free to chase their dreams. I strive to create in my life an environment where that is possible and encouraged.
    I echo your last statement, “Love. Respect. Recognition.” To me that is also what it is all about!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Feminism is tricky in the mormon community, for sure. Many recoil at the word. To me, feminism in the mormon context starts as simply as women lifting and loving other women. I despise being told what my divine role is. I truly believe that only I can know that. And in the mormon church, women are often each other’s worst critics, using those strictly defined gender roles as ammunition. But it goes both ways. My first aspiration and hope in the mormon community is for that to stop. We are all so different. Different talents, different circumstances, different challenges, different strengths, different tragedies, different goals and dreams. It is time to trust our instinct and our inspiration, and allow others to do the same. I truly feel that diversity is a gift to humankind. Let’s celebrate that! It’s a place to start in this tiny little realm, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rock on! You also should include how you feel about Women’s issues on a global level, things like FGM, education, literacy. A lot of issues are invisible in the 1st world.

    Like

  6. I am very intrigued by your blog! I would be very interested to get your opinion on some very fundamental feminist issues that people (uneducated in feminism like myself) may not fully understand

    Like

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