For a very long time, I've said that I wasn't a Feminist, I didn't like the label. I didn't understand what it meant. Turns out, I wasn't alone in my Feminist misunderstanding.
I generalized being a Feminist as a bunch of angry, hairy armpit, no makeup wearing, man-haters. In my mind, it was normal to think women and men should be treated equally. I'm not gonna make a stink about it. Plus, I LOVE MEN! I also love Gentlemen and chivalry. Mike always opens car doors for me, and most doors for that matter. If I'm in an elevator and a man walks out before me or another woman, I think "What an asshole!" I like the idea of a man taking care of his woman, I am not gonna spell it "Womyn" and stop saying words like "Mailman." Call me old-fashion, just don't call me a Feminist, right???
When I was younger I hung out with a lot of guys. I was used to "guy humor" and wouldn't get uptight when they would say raunchy things. I loved all the Hair Metal bands and all of their music videos included almost naked chicks dancing around - that didn't bother me. I grew up watching Pro-Wrestling where women where considered a joke, especially in the WWE, the worst was in the mid to late 90s. I'm talking "Bra & Panty" matches, wrestling in pig slop, food fights, a lot of them posed for Playboy, most of the women in the WWE practically "wrestled" in thongs and were paraded around in stripper outfits. In ECW, you pretty much HAD to wear a thong before a guy slams you through a table. I thought it was stupid, but I kept watching.
You know what else I love? Strong women. Women who can go into a man's world and not be intimidated, who can take charge, kick ass, and take names. I always admired that too. Back to pro-wrestling for a second (bear with me), there has been a shift in how women are treated. There is a difference between "Pro-Wrestling" and "WWE." The WWE is a spectacle with advertisers to cater to. When I was little, I wanted to see women fight with the men but that hardly happened. WWE tried it for a little bit with Chyna and Beth Phoenix, but these were BIG, muscular women. They still won't allow it, however, other wrestling promotions like Chikara and PWG, to name a few, allow intergender fighting and I love it! Sometimes the women win, sometimes they don't, but it's all done right and tells a good story.
So I got older, and my feelings started to change. I found myself getting more angry watching the news. More assaults, victim-blaming, slut-shaming, Bill Cosby, yet everything was the woman's fault. Why did she wait so long? What was she doing there? What was she wearing? Who told her to get stupid-drunk? Okay, I admit, I've asked these questions too. Maybe this is where other women will disagree with me but I feel like as long as some men will continue to think that they can be as predatory as they want, women should stay alert and have their wits about them. I don't have much faith that this behavior from these types of men will go away. Sure you can go out and party, drink, smoke, but when you let your guard down, you're unfortunately putting yourself in danger and making yourself vulnerable, especially if you are some place not familiar with strangers. Consider it a part of self-defense, don't lose your judgment! I hate that I even need to say this at all.
Then there are stories about privileged college boys getting off easy by a crusty old judge for sexually assaulting a woman on campus, even after getting caught red-handed. Of course, there's all the Trump bullshit too. Yeah, very angry. Then the election happened and I yelled out "WHAT IN THE LIVING FUCK IS HAPPENING?!?!?!?!!" I mentioned previously how scared I am. Many rights of women, Muslims, and the LGBT community could be taken away. This is not right.
I think a woman should be able to do whatever she wants, if she wants to run Yahoo, be a Mom, be a Stripper, it's all good! Women should not be limited in their reproductive rights or any other rights. I am still a little hung up with the "Feminist" label, but I have a better understanding of it. Being a Feminist comes in all shapes and sizes and can mean many things. You can make it just about putting women first, or make it about equality and fairness for men and women. No one should try to make another group feel inferior. Everyone can be a Feminist, in a perfect world, everyone would be.
Bridging the Gap Between White Feminist and Women of Color - The Mary Sue
4 Reasons Anti-Feminist Women Hate Feminism (And What They’re Missing) - Everyday Feminism