Over the last week or so, feminism has been on my mind. Rather, it’s been on my mind slightly more forcefully than it normally is. It all started with this post by Bella last Saturday and has been continued by this post by Clarissa.
The question, for me, has been “What is feminism?” What does it mean to me in my every day life? How does actively identifying as a feminist influence what I do? How does it influence how I relate to others?
To answer the first question. To me, feminism is an ideal in which both women and men (and everyone in-between) has equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities. Where everyone is free to make decisions for themselves, rather than allowing society at large to define you fully. To me, this means that you may choose to do something that is the norm. The point is, you’re choosing it for yourself. I believe that everyone has a responsibility to make their corner of the world a better place. I believe in equal pay for equal work. It doesn’t matter what biological sex or gender identity you have.
I realize, of course, that society does influence what we do. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re thinking critically about the decisions that you’re making.
In everyday life feminism means that I’m actively thinking about what I’m doing (most of the time) and trying to be better every day. My yard stick is myself, nobody else. When I say things like “I have the wrong body” (which was actually said by me this week when I tried on every single shirt in the women’s clothing section at Target in several sizes and none of them looked good on me, it was a low point) I try to think about it and realize that this statement is not true. I have the right body, it’s just the wrong one for today’s fashions (which is certainly not my fault. It just means I need to get better at sewing, haha.)
I have to admit, often identifying as a feminist makes interacting with others awkward (although, I was pretty awkward before, so maybe it’s just me). When my co-workers announce they’re on a new diet I have to fight the urge to tell them that dieting usually just makes you fat. Instead I congratulate them on working toward being more healthy. It’s really hard, but I think I’m getting better.
What does feminism mean for you?