It’s pretty shocking at how few people actually know what a feminist is. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t even know what a feminist really was until I took my first Gender and Women Studies class last semester. It’s generally assumed that feminists are whiney, angry, lesbians that are trying to gain more women’s rights.
In actuality, all feminism is …is equality for all. At least, that’s what it means to me, and that’s what I want as a feminist.
In 2006 I saw a commercial on TV. It started with people in shorts, T-shirts, and hats, all wearing some form of teal or a teal ribbon. “I run for my Mom,” one woman said. “I run for my sister,” said a young man. “We walk for awareness,” said two parents holding young children. Continue reading
In 1995, Miranda July became disenchanted with her male-dominated pre-film program at UC Santa Cruise. Inspired by the blooming riot grrrl/DIY culture in Portland, she dropped out and relocated, hoping to find a place for herself in that scene. She made a pamphlet inviting women to mail in VHS tapes of short films they had made, promising that they would receive a VHS tape with nine short films made by other women in return. She left this pamphlet at shows or at schools, even giving Bikini Kill a bunch to take on tour. This was the beginning of the Joanie 4 Jackie project, which aimed to empower women to make their own films, as well as create a community of female filmmakers and an audience for their work. Continue reading
Growing up as a quiet, observant kid in the suburbs of Columbia, MD I always felt like I was not entirely as well established as other children my age. I felt that I was not always able to relate to other children’s stories about Christmas, vacations, family dinners, or birthdays. I felt like my Latino family did not share the same narratives as the children in my neighborhood. So as a kid I grew thinking that somehow my family was too different or not similar enough. My venture into activism began as an exploration of community, or semblance. Continue reading
If ever people wonder why we STILL need feminism
I took my first Gender and Women’s Studies (GWST) course during the fall semester of my sophomore year. My eyes were opened and I gained a completely new perspective. I learned that the ways in which we think and act are largely social constructions, cultural products so ingrained in our society that we do not question them. As a black woman, I had long been aware of racism and sexism. But I did not realize just how institutionalized oppression is. Through my GWST major, I have gained an acute awareness of injustice and oppression in its many forms. My studies have inspired me to question everything, to seek and share knowledge, and have given me the courage and the responsibility to speak out and challenge others. Continue reading
Scrolling through my Facebook timeline had been always been a favorite pastime of mine. I could easily catch up on what’s going on in my world, and openly ignore any other responsibilities like homework or washing any of the dishes soaking quietly in my kitchen. On this particular evening I happened to cross a news story about a defiant St. Louis pastor who refused to give in to an automatic gratuity for an Applebee’s waitress, after dining with several other people one night. Continue reading
When the word “activists” came to mind in high school I only viewed it as someone who was consistently active in a certain cause and for someone who wanted change; someone “not” like me. My personal story begins when I first came out as a gay teen my junior year in high school. I went through a year of depression where my parents were not supportive with my “decision”, something that had drastic effects on my relationship with them, and my academic standing. I had no one to really go to who I felt that could truly understand what I was going through at the time, since I only had straight friends. Continue reading
Before taking this class it had never occurred to me that I could be an activist and I was not too strong in my feminist beliefs either. When people would ask if I were for any cause or belief I would tell them that I was humanist, righting the injustices of human inequality. Saying this won me praise but when other girls identified as a feminist they were shunned and questioned. As I take this class and remember some of the feminist blogs and female conscience media, I realize feminism is a facet of humanism. Continue reading
When I was younger, I remember looking through old photo albums one day at my parents’ home. One of the pictures I came across was of a group of young women standing together in Washington DC, holding pro-choice signs. One of the women in the picture was my mom, and I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Continue reading
I’m not sure when it actually clicked with me that I had a choice when it came to the problems and injustices that seemed to be running so rampant in the world around me, but I eventually came to realize that when faced with these issues I could do one of two things: I could either be silent, or I could speak up and let others know how I felt. I began to gain my voice shortly after being diagnosed with and speaking out on my own behalf when it came to my struggles with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic attacks in my sophomore year of high school.