Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Being Feminist

When I went off to college in 1998, I entered a whirlwind of political and social causes. Everyone had a stance on everything, and there was a club, organization, or leaflet for it. If there wasn't, something would invariably spring up. At a liberal college with a very high population of gay students, feminism was a hot topic. My roommate was a feminist and I, in my idea that being a feminist meant being a hardcore femmnazi bulldyke that was constantly in your face about lesbians and liberating the vagina, did everything possible to be misogynistic. Sure, it was a dick move, but I was rebelling, man. I was also struggling really, really hard to figure out just who the hell I was. I didn't have a damn clue about anything. Let's fast forward...

Image from this blog
One thing I was always certain of, and I have written about before, is that I am childfree. I do not want, now or ever, any children. I love my birth control and my easy access to it. I like my reproductive rights. Guess what? That makes me a feminist. I found a great graphic that said "my body was not made for your legislation" and I can't agree more. I can not remember a time in my 32 year lifespan that reproductive rights have been so hotly contested, that I have actually feared the outcome of an election because of the loss of those rights.

Feminism isn't just about reproductive rights though. It's about recognizing the struggles of all peoples, even men. It's about stopping genital mutilation, ending hunger, providing vaccines and antibiotics to 3rd world countries. It's about fighting for a fair living wage. It's about stopping the  goddamned fat shaming and slut shaming and teaching girls to love and respect their bodies no matter how they look.

Looking back on college me, I really was a feminist. I wasn't rallying, no, I wasn't fighting "the man" because men aren't the enemy. But that one cry for my reproductive rights started it. And now I am so much more aware (thanks to the Internet) of what it means to be a feminist, that I've lost the stigma I once held for the word. I may not be an activist, not yet, but I hold my beliefs, and I hold my ground.

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