I’ve always been a feminist. I grew up in a home where I was always told I could do anything I wanted. I was given the same opportunities as my little brother. I’m very thankful that I have parents who support my ambitions no matter what they may be.
I’ve always been a liberal-leaning feminist kill-joy. But, I didn’t claim the label as a feminist until my first year at Pacific Lutheran University.
The media make feminism out to be some kind of dirty word. When I thought of the word “feminism” in high school, my mind automatically imagined women in the 1970s burning bras and not shaving their legs. I didn’t do that, so I wasn’t a feminist.
Then I came to PLU and took my first Women and Gender Studies class. We ripped apart Twilight, talked about the over-sexualization of young girls in the media, and wrote about our own experiences of growing up in a gendered society. I was in feminist heaven.
I learned that feminism means that you believe in political, social, and economic equality of the sexes. It doesn’t mean you hated men or think women are better. It just means you believe in equality. I then had no problem telling my friends and family I was a feminist.
I think many people have an issue claiming themselves as feminists because of the media. The media talk about feminists like we want to rise above men. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh refers to us as “feminazis,” which would leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth for obvious reasons. Feminists just want one thing: equality for both sexes.
More celebrities are claiming the title of feminist. Much like myself, they steered away from using the title because they didn’t hate men or wore makeup, dresses and high heels. Things are changing. Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Emma Watson are coming out of the “feminist closet” and speaking up against sexism in the media and society.
Former “Harry Potter” actress, Emma Watson, spoke recently at the U.N. about her new campaign, HeForShe. HeForShe encourages men to speak up against gender inequality and sexism by claiming themselves as feminists. As Watson explained in her speech, some might wonder why we ignore 50 percent of the population when we’re trying to achieve equality for all.
Now, men worldwide are coming forward and supporting women in the battle for gender equality. Many male celebrities have stepped forward, taking to their respective social media sites to show their support for gender equality. Celebrities include One Direction’s Harry Styles, and actors David Tennant, Tom Hiddleston and Watson’s “Harry Potter” co-star Matthew Lewis.
This is such an important issue in today’s society. It’s problematic when U.S. Supreme Court rulings such as Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, decide a store has more say in what birth control can be than the woman herself.
Male senators are deciding our birth control methods and reproductive rights for us, even though they will never fully understand what exactly women go through to have or not to have children.
It’s a personal decision that should be left up to the woman, not male senators in Washington, D.C. I encourage all men and women on campus to look further into the HeForShe campaign and support women around the world.
For more information, check out the official website here.