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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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.
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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.

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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.

Disney Channel Introduces its First LGBTQ Couple

Good Morning, loves! Happy Monday.

This weekend was sure an eventful one in the Pop Culture world. Yesterday night was the 56th Grammy Music Awards and although I don’t have the patience to sit through an entire award show, the performances were nothing short of amazing. Besides, thanks to my Twitter feed, I found out who won, who lost, and all the cute little gossip in between.

But I wanted to shed light on another phenomenon that was happening the same night. If you turn your attention to cable television, the Disney channel show “Good Luck Charlie” made a great stride toward gender equality by introducing an LGBTQ couple on the show. Basically the premise of the show focuses on the Duncan family and their shenanigans growing up as a middle class, White, American family. Charlie, the youngest of the kids, has a play date with one of her classmates Taylor. Charlie’s parents, Amy and Bob, talk about how Taylor’s parents are also coming over to hang out and they grow confused as to who Taylor’s mom is because they were introduced to two different people. When Taylor and her parents come over, lo and behold, they discover Taylor has two moms.

Before this episode aired, I remember distinctly seeing some articles floating around the internet about Disney introducing a gay couple and I remember thinking, “Wow. It’s about time!” Because most of the pop culture world tuned in to the Grammys last night, I felt like this event got lost in translation. We need to show Disney channel some love too! (Wow… didn’t think I’d ever catch myself saying that.)

Disney channel has always had a reputation for introducing squeaky clean child stars that for some reason turn into the hot messes of Hollywood, therefore becoming a questionable role model for today’s youth. However, I feel this important leap into gender equality just goes to show that Disney has still got it in them. I personally hope a lot of children and teenagers watch this episode because it’s about time we start introducing these archetypes into mainstream television. Especially mainstream television that KIDS watch because as we all know, they’re the most susceptible to internalizing the information they see in the media at this age.

Although I would have LOVED to see a colored family and actors that weren’t all stick skinny, I give Disney channel props for taking a step in the right direction. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the fight against injustice is a long, winding road and we’re battling against centuries of oppression that has become normalized in our society. Any step counts and that’s all that matters.

I also find it ridiculously adorable that during the Grammys, hundreds of couples, whether they were gay, straight, bi, or whatever they identify with, got married during Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ performance of “Same Love” with Queen Latifah officiating and Madonna making a guest appearance. My heart cannot handle all these feels, guys. I definitely cried during their performance and I am just so happy that people like them use their platforms to promote equality and change.

As one of my favorite Youtubers tweeted last night, “It was a great night to be gay.”

Click here to watch Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ performance of “Same Love” at the Grammys.