First of all, hold on for a second before you rage read this post. I am a 26-year-old woman who believes in equal rights, pay and opportunity for women. I believe women are stronger working together than they are on their own, and I believe I can do anything I put my mind to.
So, by definition, yes I am a feminist — but something about the word still makes me cringe.
I just Googled “popular feminists” to see who the media has decided I should currently be admiring. The first thing that popped up is bitchmedia.org.
Why does the word feminist conjure up the picture of an angry woman with no sense of humour getting mad at some guy who opens a door for her?
I have winced at poets who slam men, cringed at female celebrities who tear apart males for no reason, and I have rolled my eyes every time the baby mama in my life uses “feminism” to throw any point my partner makes that she doesn’t agree with in his face.
I have also admired people like Barbara Walters — the first female co-host for any news show, Maya Angelou — whose words always encouraged love and self-reflection, and Cleopatra — a powerful pharaoh who spoke over five languages and ruled an empire.
Then there is Madonna, Malala Yousafzai, Margaret Thatcher, Yoko Ono, and so many other amazing women who I don’t even know about and my soul starts to dance and I wonder why I ever wouldn’t want to be a feminist. These women represent female strength, empowerment, and drive. These are the women I look up to.
Being a huge Girls fan, I wanted to rip out my hair after reading Lena Dunham’s quotes about Odell Beckham Jr. after the Met Gala.
“I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards. He was like, ‘That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.’ It wasn’t mean — he just seemed confused. The vibe was very much like, ‘Do I want to f*ck it? Is it wearing a…yep, it’s wearing a tuxedo. I’m going to go back to my cell phone.'”
That’s not fair. Please don’t project your insecurities onto someone else. Lena, you’re awesome! You are an accomplished actor, writer, producer and director. You are funny and smart and pretty and I honestly believe you are doing your best. Maybe you had a bad day when you said that — like we all do —but the point is that feminists need to lift each other up, not tear other people down!
It’s much easier to jump to conclusions and blame other people for our own feelings of rejection than to take a step back and realize, maybe we aren’t the best at something. It’s hard to think that you aren’t enough. That doesn’t mean you can never be enough, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t enough for anything.
Maybe that man did deserve that job/award/praise over me, or maybe he didn’t. What I do know is that I did the best I could, and I want to believe that the people who made that decision did it with the best intentions.
Maybe that’s living my life through rose-coloured glasses, but I’m also going to be the first person to go for what I want and work my ass off for it.
I am fully aware that my views are biased because I live in a place surrounded by powerful women who have fought for me to feel this way, and I am forever grateful for that.
Thank you to all of the women and men who have stood up for me and said yes, you deserve this. That doesn’t mean I get to relax and stop fighting.
I’m going to prove to the world that I do deserve every opportunity I receive.
I am a feminist because I do my best, and my best is always done with love.
To read more by Alicia, visit http://www.unwinedwithalicia.wordpress.com