Editorial: Feminism still relevant to society
I want to have a conversation about the F word.
Yes, that F word: feminist.
I’m a feminist. I don’t hear other people utter that sentence very often. In fact, I know many women who cringe at the label, and who preface any statement that supports women’s rights with, “Well, I’m not a feminist or anything, but…”
Why? Is “feminist” really such a dirty word?
Some claim that feminism is irrelevant in today’s world. Feminists are all worked up about nothing. They need to find something more important to worry about. After all, women already have equal rights, don’t they?
Far from it. There’s still a considerable pay gap between men and women. Over half of the population of the United States is female, yet women make up only a scant 16 percent of Congress. As long as women are forced out of their own conversation, I’ll be worried.
Really, that’s the essence of feminism: Fighting for women’s autonomy; fighting against the rigid gender roles and societal expectations that hinder both men and women; fighting for the equality that seems so simple but has been so difficult to achieve.
During election season, I often think of the women who came before me, the women who marched in the streets, who were dragged to jail, who fought for their rights and suffered in my place. I am deeply, inexpressibly grateful to these women for clearing the way for me. Through their sacrifice—their blood, sweat and tears—I have been given the beautiful, priceless right of voting. With the right to vote, I can make my voice heard. I can speak up for myself and for my fellow Americans. I’m amazed to think that, in the United States, women have had this right for less than a century.
That’s why it is not enough to simply speak the words of the feminist movement. It’s not enough just to hold the sentiments in your heart and squander the gift you’ve been given. Cherish it. Protect it. Use it. Even if you don’t identify as a feminist, the most important thing you can do with your right to vote is use it.
Feminists express their passion through voting—and, oh, are there issues to speak out on this year! Between “legitimate rape” and “binders full of women,” it’s never been clearer to me that those brave women’s work is not done.
That is why I am a feminist. I will not sit down. I will not be quiet. I will not apologize—and neither should you.
The work of the feminist movement isn’t complete. It’s up to us to clear the way for the women of future generations. This is not the sole responsibility of women: It’s the responsibility of every man who cannot look at the women in his life—his mother, sisters, daughters or wife—and tell them that he doesn’t believe they should enjoy the same rights and opportunities that he does. It’s the responsibility of every person who believes that all men (and women) are created equal.
We don’t have the luxury of waiting for someone else to change things. It’s up to us. Now is the time to push up our sleeves and make our voices heard through our words and through our ballots.
It’s time to start using the F word. We have work to do.
- None Found