The common misconception about modern-day feminists is this outdated visual of a female middle-class flower-child with unruly long hair and no shoes setting fire to her bra on the street in protest. Society also pictures the angry radical feminist with Doc Martins and pink punk hair harassing other women about their “non-traditionally feminist” life choices, but today I want to set the record straight. Yes, there are some crazy feminists out there that are on one end of a well-developed spectrum of women and gender studies, and I do respect the fact that it did take hard work and a bit of push to get the rights and liberties that we do have today, but those viewpoints are not the only theory in the feminist thought bubble.
I like to partially identify my political thought as moderate to liberal feminist with a touch of new wave and emphasis on recognizing not only sex and gender, but also race, religion, sexual orientation and other varying biological/social/economic differences. As a young woman of color who tries to do her best and view the world through different lenses, I take the stance that everyone should have equal protection under the law, and that we as a nation with those same ideals written in our constitution, should do our duties as informed citizens and exercise our rights to make it and keep it so.
This will definitely upset a lot of people out there, but I respect all sexual choices, from motherhood to porn as long as it is legal, it’s not promoting things such as violence or the mistreatment of anyone and it’s their personal decision to do so. I’m pro-choice, even though I don’t believe I would ever have an abortion myself, and I hope for the day that the law will appropriately respect everyone’s autonomy and choice.
As a proponent of education I believe the most important step in reaching equality is with informed citizens. When it comes down to politics I’m as excited as the next poli-sci student to consume a vast amount of civic information to make informed decisions but, except for the first year of my undergraduate education, I have never really gone out and did the hippie thing and pass out pamphlets for some cause with no shoes on (it was a weird year for me). I do believe it is important to keep tabs on your representatives in government because, as many of us forget, they are in fact our own representatives in government. This is something to keep in mind when you hear someone just picking the “lesser of two evils” for a position in government.
I believe feminism extends out beyond the confines of men and women and that focusing on trivial things such as Washington State’s recent effort to rewrite its laws using gender-neutral language is only taking away from the progression of equality and, instead of teaching impartiality through the American-English language, adding to the negative stereotypes of feminism, taking time away from more important issues, not even changing the attitudes of the people reading the more than 3,000 sections of the law that were revised and, to be honest, it’s just a little silly. Yes, before you say it, words are powerful, but our continually evolving language has redefined and has continued to redefine words, spelling, pronunciation association and meaning that are already regarded as all inclusive.
I suppose what I want people to take away from this is that I will continue to push for equality no matter who you are, what you look like, or what you identify yourself as. I believe that education is important and, not just education in the traditional classroom setting. I have no reason to burn my bra in the street, or be upset with someone for not fitting a certain mold, and I rather everyone is able to just live their life the way they would like to peacefully. Without changing the spelling of the word feminism and calling it a day, I hope to help people understand this updated definition of the word and see it as a representation of equality for everyone, period.