When I was fifteen years old my friends told me that I had a “thick frame.” Somehow this managed to have thinned out my frame of mind. Thick made me think of a thick text book that no one wanted to read or a thick thigh that could barely squeeze into jeans. My “thick” framed the way I saw myself in a world of thin and tall and blonde.
My thick skipped breakfasts, lunches and dinners, cried over scales and tried to hate my thighs away. My thick was reminded that it was an object to be judged and viewed… that WOMEN were objects to be judged and viewed. I began to look-in at myself and wonder if I liked what I saw because as a woman I was raised to be objectified on the runway and in the classroom. “Men don’t like dark lipstick”, “Guys hate cellulite”, “Boys do not want a thick girl.” I was obligated to look-in at myself through the lens of a man, because pretty girls like me need to get married… pretty girls like me define their worth off of male acceptance.
I need feminism because I hated and starved myself for two years because I felt out of place, unwanted, and insecure. I need feminism because my mental health was never prioritized by the institutions that were supposed to shape me. I need feminism because cat calls make me uncomfortable. I need feminism because equality for ALL people is a right not a privilege.
With that being said, I would like to list the most common misconceptions about what it means to be a feminist:
Feminists are only women: First, let us define the term. To be a feminist is to believe in the political, social and economic equality of all people… not just women.
Feminists hate men: Now there may be days when boys drive me crazy, but feminists as a whole do not hate men. ( If you are confused please re-read the points above.)
Feminists are lesbians: I am a woman and I believe in the importance of supporting other women… and if that makes me a lesbian… then you are confused and do not understand the term.
Sexism does not exist, so feminism is stupid: No. In fact, you are stupid. Women in North America earn only 90% of what the average man would make. (If women were to be paid the same as men, the global economy would generate an extra 447.6 billion dollars per year in gross income). Women make up 51% of the world population, but only own 1% of the world’s land. Please note that it is rather hard for men to understand the effects of oppression, when men have been raised to be the oppressors.
Feminists aren’t allowed to shave: Contrary to popular belief… feminists are allowed to do whatever they want. If a woman or man would like to avoid mutilating their body to fit into social binaries… then let the hair grow! If a woman or man prefers to shave on a regular basis because they like it…. that is cool with me!
Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.” ~Clare Boothe Luce
Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths. ~Lois
Feminism is not about making women better than men, it is about reshaping the systems and institutions that constantly encourage unhealthy competition.