Friday, August 7, 2015

Why I'm a Feminist

I preach a lot about feminism on this blog, but I don't think I've ever really explained why I'm a feminist. And you know, I think it's a perfectly valid question to ask, after you ask whether or not I am a feminist. It's also okay to not be a feminist if you have a legitimate reason to do so (read: saying women are already equal to men or that feminism is about the matriarchal takeover are not well-researched reasons to not be a feminist). I decided to come clean as to why I identify as a feminist in hope of shedding a little light on the intricacies of feminism.

1. I believe in the equality of the sexes.
Raw, un-adulterated feminism is about the equality of the sexes. In the 21st century, I think that's a notion that's pretty easy to get behind.

2. I'm a white, cis-gendered female.
And as a white, cis-gendered female, my identity carries a lot of privilege and I am well served by main-stream feminism. While I personally don't identify well with main-stream feminism because it benefits those who already have the most privilege in society, feminism at large is very accepting of who I am. Furthermore, since I don't have the most intersectional identity, I don't really fit in other groups that empower females of specific ethnic/racial group or LGBTQ+ females. Feminism is kind of this overarching umbrella group and I just fit better under that umbrella.

3. Feminists form a community.
Not all feminists agree on everything, but feminists do form a community. We have our own inside jokes (anyone bathing in male tears tonight?) and our own support networks. And while mainstream feminism is very exclusionary, thanks to the internet more and more people are learning and aiming to make feminism an all-inclusive movement, bringing in people of all sexual orientations, gender orientations, races, religions, and economic classes. Feminism is a wonderful way to connect with other like-minded people and also a wonderful way to come together with others to advocate for people's rights.

4. And there is a STEM sub-community.
There are lots of sub-communities within the larger feminist community. My favorite one is the STEMinist community, aiming to get more women in STEM fields. Being a woman in STEM, this community is my life-blood. I've met so many incredibly women in mentors who have helped me cut through the red tape and fight misogyny in the STEM world. As I mature and grow into this community, I hope that one day I'll be the mentor too.

These are just a few of many reasons why I'm a feminist. I get why feminism might not be for everybody; TERFism, racism, and other general preferences for cis white women are some of the barriers in feminism. But overall, I think feminism in our generation has the potential to be an incredibly positive movement, so I hope my reasons for being a feminist entice someone else too.

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