Yes, you are.
Why is it that women and men fear the word, feminist?
In the 70’s it was called women’s lib. That evolved into feminism and the word took a politicized, wrong turn to scaryville somewhere in the 80’s.
Lena Dunham, our favorite creator, writer, director, actor of Girls, said, “The word has a bad rap as either unappealing or too confrontational. But I think the best thing is to just keep using it until it’s so normalized that no one can have a negative reaction anymore. Feminism is rooted in racial rights and gender rights, and all of those things intersect, and to say that that’s not something you can stand behind–it confuses me.”
The fact is, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t a feminist. Today, here are three reasons you are a feminist. There are many, many more, but today we’ll start with just three.
You are a feminist if you:
1. Are against female genital mutilation.
Female genital mutilation is the practice of cutting off a girl’s clitoris and sewing her labia together. Do you think this is okay? Performed without anesthesia with unclean instruments, it is done “to prevent promiscuity and ready her for marriage.” Currently, 98% of girls in Somalia undergo this trauma, 96% in Guinea, 93% in Djibouti, 89% in Eritrea and Mali. Add in Egypt and many other countries, because it is happening all around the world.
If you think, “not my problem, not in my backyard,” shame on you. If you think it doesn’t happen in the United States, you are wrong. Fourteen year old(!) U.S. census data reports 228,000 U.S. women and girls mutilated. I repeat, that’s 14-year-old data. Today, it is higher.
I wanted to post a picture but am too heartbroken and revolted. Google “female genital mutilation images” and then tell me you are not a feminist.
2. Want equal pay for equal work.
Can you believe it? In 2014, women earn 77 cents on the dollar that a man earns. Do you have a daughter? Do you think it is okay for her to earn less than a man for doing the same job? I don’t think so. Guess what? You are a feminist.
Women outpace men in earning college degrees. Yet, over a 40-year working career, the average woman loses $431,000 as a result of the wage gap.
3. Are against the rape culture we live in.
What is the rape culture? It is the deeply institutionalized, embedded thinking that has our own culture, via the press, society and educational institutions teaching your daughters at orientation, “How not to get raped,” instead of teaching men, “Don’t rape.” It is the hypersexualized culture that promotes the idea that a woman wearing shorts or a skirt is asking to be viciously attacked. We have institutionalized this violence into our daily lives.
Rape culture propagates the idea that boys will be boys, and that a man with a sexual appetite is a stud (acceptable) but a woman with a sexual appetite is a whore. (not)
Rape culture is thinking that when your daughter leaves your house in shorts or a lovely dress, she is “asking for it” (imagine asking to be violently attacked) and might be called a slut.
Rape culture is: Thinking that clothes is the fault. If your daughter is wearing jeans, it’s rape. But if she’s wearing a little black dress, according to rape culture, it’s her fault she was attacked. Really?????
Have you heard of Slutwalk? Our favorite Wikipedia says, “SlutWalk is a transnational movement of protest marches which began on April 3, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, with subsequent rallies occurring globally. Participants protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance, and call for an end to rape culture. The rallies began after a Toronto Police officer, suggested that women should avoid dressing like sluts as a precaution against unwanted sexual attention.”
If you don’t identify as a feminist, tell your daughters and sons that you are for rape, are fine with your daughter earning less money for the same job as a man, and think female genital mutilation is fine, (but just not for your daughter). If you don’t call yourself a feminist, it means you are complacent about discrimination in hiring practices, the workplace and in healthcare services.
A male friend of mine has two adult children, a son and a daughter. The daughter graduated with honors from Georgetown, held a job in finance in Manhattan and is now getting a Masters at U. of Chicago. He said to me, “I never thought it would be the girl who would excel.” This, about his own daughter in the year 2014. He is why we need feminism.
There, I’ve given you just three reasons why you should be proud to call yourself a feminist. There are so many more.
Can you bring the word “feminist” out of the closet and into your life? Can you say it loud and proud? Let us hear your thoughts below.
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