I am a Feminist

A year ago, you would have NEVER heard these words escape my lips. If anything, I used to consider myself sexist. I thought that men and women had different roles in society and that’s just the way it was. Little did I know that this had not been my original idea. Many believe certain things are their own opinions, but what if these so-called opinions are really just an effect of the media?

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“You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Unless you are truly informed about a certain issue, how can you possibly be considered responsible for forming your own opinion on it? Well, in this past year I’ve become informed.

As you will probably come to learn, I am not one who likes to get involved  in debates or confrontations. I say that if things are fine the way they are going, why bother changing them? It is not until recently that I realized I was blinding to myself to these problems, which is really only a coward’s way out. I was very misled when I thought that things were fine in terms of gender equality in society, which is why I have now changed myself and the way I live my life.

Coming out of my first year of college, I have had the privilege and experience of meeting so many new and different people, each with their own unique set of opinions and values. When I used to hear the word feminist, I thought of someone who was loud and obnoxious and thought all men deserved to be punished. However, I was surprised when I found myself forming some of my closest friendships with women who identified as feminists.

Many may be under the assumption that feminism is just an excuse to complain and to denounce men for all of the evil things they are doing in the world. These people need to learn to open their ears and their minds before letting these stereotypes cloud their own judgement. The definition of feminism is:

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In no way does this mean that we are blaming anyone for the way our society has created a clear inequality and difference of treatment in our minds and in our actions. If anyone is to blame, it is the media.

We need to REALIZE the effects that sexism have had on our society and how they are limiting the potentials of young girls all over our country. There are so many things we see or do in our daily lives that we wouldn’t give a second thought to. It was only when people start pointing out these small discrepancies to me was I able to realize how even I had fallen under the spell of the bombardment of media. I couldn’t help that I had been raised in a cloud of subliminal messages that there were only certain things men were able to do, and only certain things that were expected of women. Why would a young girl question the rules she came to know as norms if no one else seemed to have a problem with them?

I am grateful now to live in a society where Women and Gender Studies is actually something young students can study and MAJOR in for a degree. Awareness is key. I recently watched a film on Netflix called Miss Representation which completely opened my eyes to how much women are subjected to on a daily basis. It made me critical of our media in a new way and I am thankful to now have this extra sense which allows me to be more aware of when and where sexism presents itself in my life. It has made me so much more conscious of how ingrained this problem is in our society and I would HIGHLY recommend watching it. Even if you don’t consider yourself a feminist, please just be open and listen to the ideas the film puts out and educate yourself.

I want to spread awareness for this issue so that young girls won’t give up on their dreams of becoming an astronaut or scientist just because they think it’s more important to learn about makeup and fashion by the age of thirteen. It is our responsibility to help form the world in which young people grow up, and I want it to be a better one. Please spread this message if you believe in it. Give hope to our future. I am not ashamed to be a feminist. You shouldn’t be either.

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