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What happened to feminism?

Excuse me for a minute while I step on my soapbox (which, naturally is pink and bedazzled) to ask, what happened to feminism?

The other day I was in the salon getting my nails done. During the conversation I said something that caused the woman doing my nails to ask, “what are you some sort of feminist?”

I wish I could remember what I had said, but it seemed so inconsequential to me at the time and I was so rattled by her question I can’t remember. But I do remember how I responded. Emphatically I said, “I am a woman, of course I am a feminist!” To which she replied, “you know what I mean.”

Unfortunately, I knew exactly what she meant. For some reason we (women) have allowed feminism to be turned against us. Rather than represent the notion of gender equality and that women should have equal rights, it has come to stand for radical, angry, aggressive, and anti-male women. So many young women are afraid to associate themselves with or identify as feminists.

The fact remains that we have not achieved gender equality. Women still earn on average less than men. When a woman is raped, her character or dress are still called into question. Women are continually labeled as hysterical or overly sensitive by men to delegitimize their feelings or concerns.

But I don’t just blame men for the current state of feminism, I also blame women. We have allowed men to hijack our term and use it against us! Case in point this really sad story of a young woman who tried to start a feminist society at her high school. She was repeatedly harassed and demeaned by her male peers for trying to start a club that sought to tackle issues young women face. I realize this is but one example, but this example alone should cause concern.

If you still aren’t sure whether or not you are a feminist? Don’t worry you can take a test here.

My point in all of this is that feminism is still important (and relevant) and we need to take back our word! This doesn’t mean I hate men, in fact I really like them, and there are plenty of men who are feminists! Nor does it mean you have to be a certain kind of woman. The core tenant of feminism is that you can be any type of woman you want (stay at home mom or corporate boss) and still have equal rights and be respected.

Before I step down from my pink jeweled encrusted soapbox, I leave you with this challenge. Let’s take back our word and let’s not let gender constructs tell us who we should or shouldn’t be! Let’s make feminism cool again!

A cute printable always helps!