A Message to Young Girls Regarding Feminism

A Message to Young Girls Regarding Feminism

Samantha Bay, Creative Contributor

I don’t know that I’m qualified to talk about inequality. In fact, I know I’m not. I’ve been more than privileged in my lifetime; I live comfortably, I’m receiving an education, I can expect job opportunities, but unfortunately, most women around the world cannot hope for these luxuries, and for that reason, I’m going to bring up feminism. I’m not talking about the man-hating, picket- sign swinging image in most of our minds. That’s not what feminism is about. I’m talking about the united, strong, equal activism that both young women and men have a responsibility to embrace.

Hate of feminism most often rises from two things: misunderstanding and shame. I could spend hours talking about the misunderstanding, but let’s just touch on the basics. I think it’s unclear to most what feminism is, and I can’t blame people who don’t understand. When I asked an anonymous sophomore what she would define feminism as, she thought about it for a while before finally answering, “I don’t even know what that is.” That seemed to be the consensus for most, and for that reason, it’s not hard to imagine why people are reluctant to identify as feminists.

When I asked Robert Fuller, a senior, if he would identify himself as a feminist, he immediately answered, “Definitely not.” However, when I asked him if he believed in the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes he said yes. For the record, that is the literal definition. Wipe clean everything you think you know about feminism, and take that as it is, simple and meaningful, rather than hateful and arrogant.

Not only is there a destructive misunderstanding of feminism, but most would feel ashamed to call themselves one. No one is immune to social pressure, however we cannot afford to feel shame when it comes to gender. Unsurprisingly, while interviewing for this article I found that young women feel the most pressure from each other. When I asked Delany Every, a senior, whether she felt more shame from men or other women, she responded, “Other women. Girls are mean.” I can’t help but agree with her. Young women must remember to stand up for themselves, and each other. We cannot expect to be taken seriously when we throw terms like “feminazi” and “slut” at each other like empty grenades. We must remember that we are all fighting the same battle, a crucial battle we share with all of  the young women around the world, who aren’t as lucky as us.

I think it can be hard to grasp how lucky we are as Americans, and for that reason most do not understand the importance of accepting feminism. The always opinionated Mr.Wells remembers a time when it wasn’t that way, but says, “I’m glad that women spoke up eventually to make a better life for themselves.” Consider that there are still young women who haven’t had that opportunity, and many who don’t have control over their bodies, or even their minds. When you stand up for yourself and other women, not only are you showing your peers that it’s okay, you’re standing up for those young girls who experience daily injustice and inequality in a way that we cannot possibly grasp. I encourage you to never take for granted the opportunities you have been given as an American, and never underestimate the power you have to make a difference for other young girls.