Feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
Last year, I sensed an awakening in the world. People were starting to become more and more aware of key social issues that had been boiling beneath the surface of society’s radar for decades (if not longer), just waiting for a spark to set the movements in to motion. This new-age brand of feminism, taking hold of the younger generation, including myself, was just one of these key issues. As a child, both of my parents instilled within me a sense of independence and the belief that I could do anything I set my mind to, and be anything I wanted to be, so long as I worked hard and stayed focused in school. Like so many women my age, when I look back on my younger years, I feel as though I’d always identified with the tenants of feminism, but been too afraid to stand tall with the cause, for fear of being judged by the negative connotations that have long-since been associated with this ideal.
I had my own awakening in college after I took a “Race, Gender, and the Mass Media” class my freshman year. Once I was fully made aware of the injustices of the past, as well as their lingering presence and effect on society today, it was impossible to return to my previous world view. It took me a while to feel comfortable enough around my family to voice my true feelings, and my parents still have a hard time relating to some of the social or political issues I raise at the dinner table, but it’s getting better with time. I’m thankful to have a family that loves and supports one another, despite our difference in opinion; not everyone is so lucky.
Today, I am fiercely protective of women. I strive every day to honor those who came before me and sacrificed so much, by standing up for what I believe in and speaking my mind, openly and without fear. I support a woman’s right to self-expression and free-speech, as well as the ability for women to make their own choices (free of judgment) and govern their own bodies. A feminist supports the rights of ALL women (black, white, gay, straight, transgender, etc.), indiscriminately and without criticism, with open arms and a loving spirit. It’s about supporting women in achieving their hopes and dreams and endeavors (whatever they may be), while creating an environment of acceptance and encouragement.
Feminism is not an ideology rooted in hate, as the mass media would have you believe. The negative connotations that exist about this movement are a blatant perpetuation of an unfortunate, unfair stereotype of the past. This is an issue that is just as relevant to men today as it is to women, which is a point often lost on so many of those who are involved in the conversation. To me, feminism is so much more than a theory or set of ideals; it is a movement with the power to change lives and make a positive, long-lasting impact on the world around us. We’ve come too far in this fight to give up now, especially when there’s still so much progress to be made.
My name is Alexandra Daniels and I am a feminist.
Feminist: a person who believes in the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.