Why it’s Cool to be a Feminist

Let’s be real – when you hear the word “feminist,” people like to run as far away as possible.

I’ve realized lately that ever since I’ve come out as a feminist blogger, guys don’t really hit me up anymore. Straight guys, to be specific. For the past week, I kept thinking why no guys would talk to me. I’m single, I’m not terribly ugly, and I’m a fun person with good vibes. What’s not to love?!

Then it hit me. I plaster the word “feminist” on all my social media outlets. And that’s my Achilles’ heel.

This compelled me to write a piece explaining myself and all the other feminists out there. We get a bad rep because people truly just don’t know what we do and why we do it. People just see the crazy, irrational, angry personas and think, “Oh hell naw, I ain’t getting near that.” Well, you SHOULD want to get near us. We’re compassionate, loving people who believe in equality for all.

Feminism means believing in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. (Straight up quoted that from Beyonce’s album. See, even Queen Bey knows what’s up!) That’s ALL it is. It means recognizing the power structures that exist in our society and challenging them to create structures that support everyone of all backgrounds. It means believing that anyone regardless of sex, gender, religion, and ethnicity deserve an equal chance to pursue happiness and liberty.

So, if YOU believe that, then voila! You’re a feminist! Yay, welcome to the club! And don’t be scared; you should be fucking proud to say you believe in equality.

I hear often from people that they don’t like the word “feminist” and prefer to be called “humanist” or “equalist.” Here’s why that’s toxic in itself. Humanism is rooted from the European Enlightenment. That is, privileged white European men sought to remake humans of the New World in their own image. (Messina-Dysert, 2013). Basically, it’s founded on patriarchal values that ignore all other gender and ethnic based injustices. Equalists, or egalitarianism, is rooted from the French and means that everyone should be of equal status. It means all humans should be treated equally and have equal opportunities. While that sounds fantastic and it is ultimately what we feminists want, it really dances around the belief that there IS gender inequality in the world. What that says to me is you don’t understand how patriarchy works. Egalitarianism and feminism go hand and hand, but feminism addresses that there IS an inequality that needs to be fixed. By saying you’re egalitarian, you deny that there’s any injustice going on. And real talk, that’s bullshit.

Feminism isn’t about hating men and stripping them of every ounce of power they have. It’s about allowing everyone else who isn’t a White male a chance at being treated with respect and equality. So yes, feminism does have the bias of women’s rights, but look at the history of this country – of this WORLD. Really, really look at it. If you still don’t see anything wrong, then I suggest you slap yourself. Because that’s some fucked up shit.

The fact that people don’t even want to be called “feminine” is toxic. It perpetuates this notion that displaying any sort of feminine characteristic is degrading and you should be ashamed of it. Are you starting to catch my drift? It’s not about “ermahgerd, women just want to be dominant and powerful! Onoz, what about teh mens!?” Well, what about them? They’ve had their story told over and over again. They’ve had their story told in history books, in literature, in movies,  in comic books, in politics, and in the media.

So again, I ask you, what about them?

It’s an unfair advantage they have and it has to stop. These existing power structures need to be dismantled in order to obtain an egalitarian culture.  It’s a long battle, but we can’t just give up. If we give up, we let all the strong women who dedicated their whole lives to advocating change die in vain. Their efforts can’t go unnoticed.

And if you’re a White male reading this and thinking, “Well, how the hell does this effect me? I’m totally on the winning side here.”

Indeed you are. This. my friends, is what we call White Privilege. It’s been debated a lot in the academic and media forums because of Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang’s essay that Time republished. If you’re white, you benefit from these existing power structures. That’s it. It’s a fact. No one would want to make this up. Trust me, we have better things to do with our time than sit here and make up concepts that put us colored people at a disadvantage.

So basically what I’m trying to say is that being a feminist means you’re a lovely human being that truly has good morals and beliefs. And I think that’s fucking awesome and cool.

It’s cool to be a feminist. I think women who are empowered by their knowledge of the world is so amazing. Guys, don’t be afraid of that. As Iggy Azalea said, “You should want a bad bitch like this.”

I’m a feminist because I believe in living in a world where my hard work and efforts will grant me the same success that a man’s would. I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world where terrorists won’t kidnap a bunch of girls and threaten them because they don’t believe women should have the right to an education. I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world where my daughters won’t be accused of being a slut if she expresses her sexuality in a way that doesn’t fit in a conventional mold.

It’s 2014. It’s time we make some changes around here.

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I Got 99 Problems, but Being a Bitch Ain’t One

Tina-Fey

Hey everyone,

I know it’s been a minute since I last posted, but I’m here. Just been takin’ care of things. I think it’s called life. Oh life… sometimes you just kick my ass a little too hard.

But as usual, I’ve been sitting here thinking a lot about a little bit of everything and I’ve recently discovered yet a new perspective of myself that I haven’t given much thought to.

I’m a bitch. And I’m totally ok with that.

Obviously it’s taken me a while to accept and embrace this fact about myself. You might be sitting here wondering how the hell a commonly degrading word can be empowering, but it can. You just have to change your attitude and control the power dynamic.

Women are generally taught to be submissive, polite, and quiet. It’s never really encouraged to speak up, especially against a man. We’re usually taught to just walk away from things that make us uncomfortable instead of facing it head on. We’re basically being programmed at birth to aspire to marry and start a family.

But what happens when a woman doesn’t follow this formula? As a society, we tend to shun her. We reprimand her for being too vocal and assertive. We make her feel guilty of her sexual choices. We become disappointed in her if she’s spending too much time at work and not enough time with her family, but criticize her work ethic when she chooses her family over work.

Don’t believe me? We see it ALL the time in the media. The recent controversy with Duke freshmen Belle Knox is one example. The unfortunate incident in Steubenville is another example. Or how about how the government is up in arms about giving women access to birth control? The list goes on and on. And that’s fucking sad.

I’m a bitch because I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of people looking at me like some dainty little flower that can’t handle anything by herself. I’m tired of people looking at me and judging my life choices, yet if a man were to make the same choices, no one would question him. I’m tired of people thinking the reason I’m single is because I’m so damn picky and I should just lower my standards in order to find someone. No bitch.. I shouldn’t lower my standards. People should be aspiring to meet my standards if they want to get with me. I’m an educated woman of color that doesn’t have time to play with little boys. What happened to all the men?

If knowing what I want to aspire in life makes me a bitch, then so be it. If being picky about a potential partner makes me a bitch, then so be it. If calling sexist and racist bullshit out when I see it makes me a bitch, then So. Be. It. If you don’t want to get called out, then don’t say sexist and racist bullshit. It’s as easy as that.

But hey, I’m human too. I’m not always this strong-willed, assertive boss ass bitch all the time. I get caught up in my insecurities too.  I find that surrounding yourself with loving and supportive people really helps. Also, listening to dope ass music that encourages you to be a boss ass bitch also really helps.

So moral of the story… ladies, it’s ok to be a bitch. Because a wise woman named Tina Fey once said, “Bitches get stuff done.”

Stop Slut-Shaming!

Hey everyone! Happy Thursday!

Today I wanted to discuss something that’s been plaguing my mind for a while and I knew I’ve been wanting to write about it. Just in the two weeks alone, I’ve heard pretty questionable comments come from my straight male friends that have made me cringe and ask myself, “Why?”

A couple weeks ago, I was at a bar with two of my guy friends and we were talking about this girl that I’m not personally fond of. My one guy friend asked me to show me her picture and my response was pure confusion. I asked him, “Why does her physical appearance have anything to do with this? It’s not going to change the fact that she’s a mean person.” When I showed him her picture, he then responded with, “Oh, she looks like a nice girl! Are you sure you’re not just overreacting?”

Um… wut? Yeah. Ok.

Last weekend, I was hanging out with another male friend of mine and he told me about how he went to lunch with a girl who has a “slutty” reputation among her peers. His friends didn’t waste anytime to let him know that he shouldn’t have hung out with her.

And this my friends… is what we call slut shaming.

Emma Stone as "Olive Penderghast" in Screen Gems' EASY A.

You may or may not have heard of this term before, but EVERYONE regardless of their gender or sexuality should know it and understand it. Why? Because at the core of this problem is that people are not receiving the respect they deserve. And everyone deserves respect. Everyone.

Slut shaming is used to describe the act of making people feel guilty or inferior for expressing their sexuality in a way that isn’t orthodox or “normal.” Slut shaming has been so ingrained in our culture that it is now a SOCIETY-wide issue; as in, all genders play a part in sharing the blame. It can happen in many ways. For example, it can simply be when a man looks at a woman who’s getting sexually harassed at a bar and says, “Well she deserves it. Her skirt is short and her boobs are hanging out.” Or it can be when a woman looks at another woman and says, “She’s fucked so many guys… that little slut.” And be honest with yourself. You can’t tell me you’ve NEVER heard anyone say those things, or you’ve never thought them yourself.

Here’s some historical background on it – once upon a time, women didn’t have any rights and the only person they were allowed to fuck was their husband, a.k.a. the person who had legal ownership over her. Through time, we’ve opened our minds to allow women to have sex before marriage, but she has to be sure she LOVES him. Otherwise, you’re a slut for opening up your legs for some random dude. This is where we’re currently at and quite frankly, that’s sad.
ladylike_sexist

One of my male friends reposted this on his Facebook and I couldn’t help but cringe at it. You see, THIS is another example of slut shaming. Are you seeing a trend here? Basically, if a woman is labeled as a slut or whore, she gives up all her rights as a human being and we as a society have the right to treat her like the trash she is. IT’S RIDICULOUS, and I’m so tired of being bombarded with these messages on a daily basis. Just because someone expresses their sexuality in a way that isn’t the way you express yours, doesn’t mean they’re any less of a person. These women are exercising their right to have sex whenever they want with whoever they want. And what’s wrong with that? Men do it all the time.

It’s because of this notion that our precious va-jay-jay is this pure, untouched temple of heaven and if too many people have gone there, then this place has become a filthy, nasty, trashed up place. To achieve gender equality, we have to stop looking at it like that because it holds everyone to a different standard. And what happens when people don’t hold up to these standards? Then they become fucking failures that are slutty and stupid.

Listen up, y’all. Everyone has the right to express themselves however they see fit. It is their body, and it is their personal choice on what they want to do with it. It’s a pretty arrogant mentality if you feel like you have the right to tell someone what to wear, when to wear it, if they should have access to birth control, if they should be drinking that much, and so forth. So what I’m trying to say is… stop fucking telling people what to do! Stop treating women like they need to act in an appropriate way that YOU see fit in order to gain your respect. They deserve that respect from the beginning. We all do.

meangirlsslutwhore

It really comes down to a power dynamic. Women who behave in a way that is deemed appropriate by men are higher up the totem pole than women who behave in “bad” ways that men don’t approve of. Here’s a thought – why don’t we stop trying to please everyone else and why don’t we focus on what the fuck makes US happy? Who gives a fuck if someone doesn’t approve of how you behave? It’s your life – do what you want with it. Another person’s personal choices don’t affect yours. Stop being fixated on shit that doesn’t play any relevance to you in your life.

Stop controlling other people’s choices. You don’t have that right.

Asian-American Beauty Queens Represent!

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!

So in case you were busy watching some Sunday Night Football, yesterday night a new Miss America was crowned. Congratulations to Miss New York Nina Davuluri!

Photo from kammasworld.blogspot.com

Photo from kammasworld.blogspot.com

And let’s not forget the runner up, Miss California Crystal Lee.

Photo from misscalifornia.org

Photo from misscalifornia.org

So based on the title of this post, I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. But brace yourself, I’m about to discuss a whole lot more than what meets the eye. You see, I’ve always wanted to do a beauty pageant themed post, but I never had a reason to. Well thank god it was pageant season, eh?!

First off let me just say I’m pretty conflicted about all this. I’ll start off with why I’m happy. I’m very, very proud that the top 2 contestants for this year’s Miss America were of Asian-American descent. As a proud Asian-American, I’m absolutely proud of these two ladies for working hard and being recognized for their hard work. Just so you know, this is the first time someone of Indian descent has won the Miss America title. FIRST TIME, EVER! I mean, yes I’m proud, but dear god, why is this the first time? We’re in the year 2013 and we haven’t had an Indian winner? Kinda makes you think twice about our country really being as progressive as we think. Just because we have an African-American president, doesn’t mean we’re progressive as a nation. I will admit we are headed in the right direction, but there’s A LOT that we still need to work on.

Second, I’d like to say that I’m very pleased that an Asian-American woman represented California. California is usually known for it’s “surfer” kinda girls with fake tans, beach blonde hair, and blue eyes, but that’s so not an accurate representation of ALL California girls. California as a state is SUPER diverse, especially the Southern California region. We don’t all look like that. There’s always been a pretty good Asian population throughout California, so I’m glad Miss Crystal Lee can represent that.

Third, in general, I’m just proud that Miss America is slowly becoming a different look each year. I mean, I get that this isn’t the first time a white girl hasn’t won, and that’s not the point I’m trying to make. The point I’m making is that there are A LOT of different ethnicity in this country. Miss America should be an accurate representation of an American woman.

Which brings me to my next point – the opposite side of this whole premise I’ve made so far. FYI, I’m about to get real critical up in here.

I hate the idea of beauty pageants. They’re just so outdated and it just PROVES we reside in this ridiculously apparent patriarchal society that needs to go the fuck away. I mean, think about it: a COMPETITION about who’s the most ideal woman? To who’s standards? Not only do these women have to be a specific height and weight, they need to apparently be able to sound “smart” and have some random ass “showy” talent to display for others. And before anyone starts to sound off, I AM aware that the Miss America website doesn’t specify a specific height and weight, but I’m sorry, when was the last time you saw a plus sized woman win? Exactly.

I’m sorry, but EVERY and ANY woman can do this without it being shown on national television. Have you ever heard of a speech and debate competition? You can practice your public speaking skills there. And all the other categories? I mean, swimsuit competition?! Really?? How can you tell me that we’re a progressive nation if we’re seriously judging these young women on their bodies? THEIR BODIES! Jeez, why don’t you just put me in a cage and parade me around like an animal at a zoo?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these women don’t work hard. I know they do. I know they are passionate about what they do. And that’s great. BUT, we can do that without competing against one another for a fucking crown. Any person, any size, shape, color, etc. can give back to their community. I think that’s great that all these women want to use their prize money on noble things, but can’t we obtain that money through other ways? Like, without having to strut in a bikini?

The whole idea just baffles me. I believe all woman are intelligent, beautiful, and motivated in her own way. I just don’t like the idea that we need to place a label of “Miss _____” to prove she’s the best. Because frankly, she’s NOT. No one should put a scale on how much you give back to the community and how passionate you are about education and the future. You can do all that shit without investing thousands and thousands of dollars on a fucking ball gown and beauty pageant lessons.

So, now you see the disparity in my feelings for beauty pageants, particularly this year’s Miss America competition. I really do sincerely congratulate Miss Nina Davuluri on her success, but I just think we need to start teaching our young girls that looks aren’t everything. Looks are subjective and we don’t need to be striving to be some sort of “ideal woman.” Fuck that shit. I am not a stick skinny girl and I’m very short, but I’m proud of my body, I’m proud that I can engage in political discussion, and I’m proud I can DANCE! I don’t need to compete in a beauty pageant to realize my potential as a well rounded woman.

-Ally