Learning now that elected officials in this 2017 term are slashing funds for Planned Parenthood, and even pushing to criminalize abortion procedures, I question what it actually means to be a woman in this society.
Who has say over my body?
Where does the ethical line get drawn between my femininity and politics?
Am I to chastise my body for the better of mankind?
Am I responsible for the violence against me because my skirt was just shy of 10inches?
In my prepubescent years, my mother taught me all I needed to know about femininity in a Mavis Jukes book, “Growing Up: It’s a Girl Thing.”
I remember when I owned my first disposable razor, when I started off on “training bras,” (I was already an “A” cup by the time I was 12), when I first noticed boys looking at me differently, and when I learned about sex for the first time through a D-list indie horror movie (might as well have called it “scary porn”).
Growing into my body became, for lack of a better term, an awkward experience.
I found pubic hair unnatural (how indecent to say pubic!).
Relied on makeup as a “cure” to hide my imperfections.
Configured Abercrombie & Fitch size charts as “normal” body proportions.
Disenfranchised my intellect at the work place.
When did I decide this was ok? Why did I fight so hard to be America’s sweetheart…bombshell…girl?
Why did I feel ashamed on the other hand, when I actually enjoy the simple pleasures of putting on makeup? or loving the latest issues of teen vogue? or putting myself through religious diets? or not minding domestic living?
I dedicated hours making boards on Pinterest: planning potential weddings, saving links on how to make crochet scarves (I don’t even crochet), and even planning my future cottage house.
Was I betraying my fellow sisters? Am I not “too feminist enough?” Am I even a feminist?
I became disenchanted by something I wasn’t completely and truly educated on.
I looked to Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist theory, the poetic genius that is Audre Lorde, and the second-wave “Feminist Mystique” from Betty Friedan.
I understand that feminism goes far beyond planning future weddings on your Pinterest board. It is a call to action for the structural violence women experience in the workplace, at home, in relationships, on college campuses, etc.
It is believing the sound reason that women deserve equal pay to their male counterparts.
The practice to teach young boys that it is not okay to go against a woman’s consent, no means NO!
The practice to also teach boys that it is okay to be sensitive, that being a quarterback football player is not the ONLY way a boy must be.
To be completely inclusive to the LGBTQ groups, and that women’s rights are not JUST WOMEN’S RIGHTS, but rights for EVERYONE.
If I stand so strongly with the feminist philosophy what compels me to hold myself with such low disregard? Why do I still feel guilty?
When I apply makeup, am I supporting this dominantly male operated corporation and saying that yes I have flaws that men will find unattractive and I need to cover those up?
What about the women who are stay at home moms, and enjoy being home with their children? Are they any less feminist than the shaved head, tattoo covered 21 year old art student at SCAD?
No. If you believe in the EQUALITY of WOMEN, MEN, and those who are fluid between both the genders, that the genders deserve EQUAL RIGHTS, then guess what my friend, you are a feminist.