Hello, my name is Becca. I am 25 years young, I am a graduate student by day and blogger by night (or I try to be), I am a cancer, I am obsessed with sweet potato fries and bloody mary’s, and I am a feminist. There, I said it. I dropped the “F Bomb”. Yes, I shave my legs (although probably not enough, after all, winter IS coming). Yes, I wear a bra. Yes, I am straight. And yes, I do have a blog dedicated to “Bros” who are single and ready to mingle. Do I sound like a walking contradiction? Maybe that is because our society has placed feminists into a shorthaired, plaid-wearing, no-bras-needed box. I consider myself to be extremely feminine, ask any of my friends. Half of my wardrobe is different varieties of floral patterns, and I can’t go to Walgreens without buying a new nail polish or lipstick color (it’s a serious issue). I also adore men. I love “bro” culture, including frat tanks and beer. Hell, I have an entire website dedicated to men! Does that mean I can’t be a feminist?
No way! Recent findings are showing that more and more young women are identifying themselves as feminists. Feminists come in all shapes and sizes, sexual orientations, religions, cultures, and personalities. So why are we so turned off by the idea of a feminist? I imagine when someone hears the word “feminist”, they immediately create a mental image of hundreds of women picketing in the streets yelling about how much they hate men. This is just so not the case. What we all, even us women, are so easy to forget is that feminism means that men and women should have equal rights; not necessarily that women need to take over the world and men should be their slaves (although the idea of that does sound kind of awesome…maybe for a week).
Some of you may be wondering where this sudden outburst of feminist love came from. I would not consider myself an activist by any means. I don’t stand on street corners asking for signatures or attend rallies, and I never write about feminism on my site. I felt the need to write an article because of amount of times it has come up in conversations I have had recently. This fall, I started a graduate program that is predominantly female, and the topic has come up several times. On one of our first Taco Tuesday outings as a group, one of us mentioned that she is a feminist, and asked if any of us considered ourselves one too. I watched as some of the others girls squirmed in their seats, not knowing exactly what to say. It then struck me, are we afraid to admit that we want equal rights as men? Is it unattractive to tell potential friends that you see yourself as a feminist? Is it a topic that we have to ease our way into, like when you tell a new friend about your alcoholic uncle who pretends to be a mime at family events or that you keep Pepto tablets in your purse because you have a sensitive stomach? Then it really struck me, if we’re afraid to tell other women that we are feminists, how do we even begin to tell men, especially men we may want to date?
Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the issue at large. How do we tell a guy on a date that we identify as a feminist? We have no issue telling them about the kickass job or promotion we got at work, we have no issue telling them we are in graduate school/ law school/ medical school, we have no issue telling them how we can pay our own bills and rent, and some of us have no issue splitting the bill or even paying for the date. But some of us are embarrassed to say, “I think that men and women should have equal rights”, which is essentially what feminism is.
Let’s take a quick dive into the male psyche. I did a little research on men’s views on feminism (also known as asking a handful of my guy friends on G-Chat about it). I asked them how they felt about feminists and if they would ever date one. They all basically said the same thing; yes, I would date a feminist, and but it’s about how she approaches her feminist side. They all agreed that they supported feminist ideals because they said it is basic human rights, but women who let it consume their lives turned them off. They found it unattractive when women blamed men for all of their problems and did not take responsibility for their own lives. They don’t want your scorn from your condescending ex boyfriend, your boss who did not give you that raise that you deserved, or your teacher that told you to just marry rich. Just because they may all share the same reproductive organ does not mean they are all sucky people. They don’t want fingers pointed at them just because they’re a dude, which is totally fair. We ask them not to judge us for the same reason.
Ladies, I am not saying on your next date come right out and say, “By the way I am a feminist, I hope you still want to date me, please pass the salt.” But do not hide your beliefs or who you are because you are afraid that the guy you are out with will judge you or not want to date you. Any man who does not want to date you for saying you believe in basic human rights is definitely not worth your time. Nowadays, more women than men are attending college and graduate school, so us modern-day ladies are smart cookies and driven as hell. That is something we should be proud of! How many of us can say that our grandmas went to college? More and more opportunities for women are opening up in the work force, and women continue to push for equality on a daily basis.
Clearly a big issue we have to tackle is the mental connotations that are associated with the word “feminist”. However, this will not change until more and more of us Millennials come out of the feminist closet and drop the “F Bomb”. It’s time to change the face of feminism. We have to break away from the stereotypes associated with a feminist, and make it our own. Embrace your feminist side as well as your feminine side. You are still allowed to let a date open your car door for you and enjoy it. You are still allowed to wear your favorite shade of burgundy lipstick to work. Most importantly, you are always allowed to tell a man that you are a sexy, independent, intelligent, stylish, quirky, silly, and beautiful feminist.