What Does It Mean To Be a Feminist?
This is a question I keep asking myself, despite feeling like I’ve been a feminist my entire life. People often think the answer is taboo. They believe that feminism requires massive lifestyle changes, that you need to become something you are not.
But this is simply not true.
Think about the last time someone treated you like shit. Were they taking advantage of you? Talking down to you? Ignoring you? Telling you how to feel (or how not to feel)?
Chances are this has happened to you recently, especially if you are a woman. It might have been from a rude stranger or a well-meaning friend, but either way you walked away feeling like ‘that was not okay’.
You are right. It wasn’t okay. It isn’t okay. It will never be okay.
That is what it means to be a feminist in 2021.
Remove the notion that you have to be a hand-waving, anti-shaving, fuck-the-patriarchy type of person to be classified as a feminist. While I totally support and encourage this attitude, if it is authentic to you, it doesn’t have to be one size fits all.
In fact, there are many types of feminism and that is what makes this movement accessible to everyone. The answer to the question ‘What does it means to be feminist’, therefore, is simple. Being a feminist means to embrace who you are authentically, to give no fucks to what society expects of you, and to demand equality.
Of course, the history of feminism is filled with incredible changes achieved through massive pushback. Whether it is women winning the right to vote, to drive, to drink, or to work… the examples are endless.
Feminism doesn’t stop there, however. Our current feminist theory evolves as we challenge political stances such as anti-abortion laws with large scale protests and lawsuits. It evolves as we tackle societal issues such as unrealistic beauty standards by creating the #normalizenormalbodies movement, which was founded by Mik Zazon (@mikzazon). Feminist theory is shaped as we speak out against violence towards women, which was the goal of mobilizing the #metoo movement.
These are just a few of the many ways we are making feminist history.
However, being a feminist doesn’t require you to march, hashtag, or speak out. The actions you take can be as simple as informing yourself on what it means to be a feminist and how you can be a feminist ally. Or, they can be as deep as changing your attitude towards feminism and embracing feminist behaviours that resonate with who you are and the values you hold.
Strong examples of feminist women include Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata), a bombshell model who speaks out against inquality. Emrata embraces her femininity to enforce body-positivity and uses her weaponized sexuality to shed light on political issues; Sarah Nicole Landry (@thebirdspapaya) and Mikayla Zazon (@mikszazon) are two gorgeous women using their social media platforms to create honest conversation about a woman’s body. They are dedicated to shattering societal standards of beauty.
Farida D., author, poet, and badass Arab woman uses her words to challenge the patriarchy. For instance, she has made waves with her book series ‘The List of Shit That Made Me a Feminist’ and my personal favorite ‘The List of Shit I Explain to Men’. Farida’s approach to feminism is accessible to everyone. She uses her social media platform (@farida.d.author) to shed light on taboo topics commonly left unsaid.
It goes without saying – feminism is not an exclusive club. This is a movement of mindset.
Simply put, it does not matter whether you identify as male/female, masculine/feminine, he/him, she/her, biological assignment at birth, or any other way we describe ourselves in this world of ever changing labels.
What does matter is that you care about embracing authenticity. You must care about demanding equality and prioritizing the rights of all women, regardless of culture, body type, or label. This is what makes one a feminist.