Becoming A Feminist

Feminism is a powerful word. People who don't agree with, or know, it's actual meaning use the word for people who believe in feminism (feminists) as an insult. But these feminists have been fighting for what feminism stands for centuries. Feminism is one of the most misunderstood and empowering words in the english language.

When I was first introduced to feminism, it was by my brother. He, like most of the people at my school, didn't know what being a feminist really is. When I was first introduced to feminism the context was my brother had just played in a basketball game where the ref, a women, had been a "feminist". He said she was biased towards the other team, who were all girls, and the ref made unfair calls in favor of the girls' team. So when I was first introduced to feminism, the meaning feminist is someone who is biased towards women. I know. Oof. My brother is now a women's rights advocate, thanks to my sister and I.  But because that was my only interaction with the term feminist for many years, I believed that's what a feminist was. 

A lot of people also have incorrect ideas about what being a feminist is. A feminist is really someone who believes in the equality of the sexes on social, political and economic grounds. One of the incorrect ideas of what feminists are is that feminists believe women are superior. That is obviously  incorrect, as the the definition of feminist is someone who believes in the
equality of the sexes. That goes along with another incorrect perception of feminists, that feminists have negative views towards men. Another untrue idea is that female feminists can't like feminine culture. This idea is offending, as it suggests women must become more masculine in order to become equal with men. A final incorrect image of feminists is that feminists are just "complaining". This idea is also very offensive, as it makes it sound like women are being treated equal to men and feminists are just whining, which is completely false.  There is still a pay gap - on average, in the U.S. women are paid 80.5 cents for every dollar a man is paid, according to the Business Insider. Also, thisisinsider.com says that while 1 in 5 women have been raped, only 1 in 71 men have. Another inequality women face is according to a survey by LeanIn.org, women are 18% less likely to get promoted than their male coworkers.

The fight for gender equality has made progress, though. The first gathering devoted to women's rights in the U.S., which covers the political part of feminism, was in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York. A huge benchmark on the path to making equality reality was on August 18, 1920. That was the day when the 19th amendment was ratified, granting women the right to vote, after nearly 100 years of feminists fighting to win that right.

I am now inspired by these feminists who fought for all the rights I have today. I have gone to a few workshops and read many articles about these amazing people and what being a feminist is. One of these was an event held at the home of Matilda Joslyn Gage, a famous suffragist who worked with Susan B. Anthony. There we  had discussions involving women's and human rights issues in our local community, as well as what being a feminist means. Another event I went to was the Upstate New York Girl Up Coalition Summit, with my friend, Megan. Neither of us knew much about Girl Up going into the summit, but we both found the event very inspiring. We attended a workshop called "Starting Your Own Girl Up Club" .

This year, Megan and I started the JDMS Girl Up Club, where we hope to inspire the girls at our school to help girls around the world and be feminists.



 


Posted by 25mclinton on Feb 12, 2019 11:37 AM EST

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