I am Woman…what?

According to the Oxford Dictionary feminism is defined as “The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes”. During my high school years, us “girls” were taught to become women and that we should respect others, but stand up for any injustice or discrimination we see against women’s rights. We would stand tall and proud on international women’s day, and hear the achievements and triumphs made by our elder female role models.

I like to think that I am a feminist. Along with my family and friends, I have always assumed that yes, of course I’m a feminist. I’m a strong woman who believes in having equal rights. Emphasis on the word EQUAL! But as certain issues arise in the social, economical and political world I’ve began to question whether or not I am a true “feminist”. The definition itself and the way people talk about feminism seems to have changed. The Times have described modern feminism as being “hot, rude and self-confident” while others like The Huffington Post say that it is still necessary. So here are the reasons I’m in two minds about who I am and what I want to represent when it comes to this no longer taboo topic:

The deterring side of things:

No doubt there is a new wave of feminism. But is it a good and positive wave? Since it’s birth, the supporting of women’s rights have given way to many reforms. But has that made us greedy? I have both witnessed and read about women using the idea of feminism to practically get away with murder. Whether they merely accuse others of being sexist simply make a point and prove themselves right with the most loathsome reasoning being “toxic white masculinity”. Or (in more extreme cases,) using feministic issues such as physical and verbal abuse in order to get what they want. Furthermore, modern/radical (?) feminism seems to sometimes degrade human achievement. In 2015, a scientist named Matt Taylor helped successfully guide a spacecraft on a comet, which is perceived to some as one of his greatest achievements. But instead of being commemorated for his success, he was instead heavily criticized for wearing a supposedly sexist shirt during his interview (seriously?! It was in reference to a video game). It is examples like these that make me question that feminism is no longer about equal rights, but instead simply degrading and overpowering others.

The attractive side of things:

As much as the radicals get under my skin, I believe that feminism is still needed. Even in my own family, it has been suggested more than once that I marry a man with wealth, in order to take the financial burden off my shoulders. I have been asked that at the tender age of 22, why I’m not draped over a mans shoulders yet. I, along with most of the female population cannot be outside and alone when the sun sets without feeling an element of fear and I think that no one should have to feel like that. Many of us are still subjects of being grabbed or catcalled at a bar or club (or even just down the street!) no matter how we’re dressed because we are “asking for it”. In many places in the Middle East, women are still subordinate to males, and there is still a 23% pay gap in males and females. Only in the last Century were we allowed to have a say in who leads our country, so there is no doubt that we still have a long way to go.

In the end, all I am looking for is equality. I do not want to overpower men, nor do I want their rights tarnished either. But I do want to be paid the same amount, for the same position that my male co-workers are in. I want to walk down the streets at night free of fear and to not being told I was “not being smart”, and I don’t want to have my personality and intelligence based on my appearance. I along with the rest of us have rights that are still being repressed and that is something we MUST stand up for. But we should not use this to repress the right of others. I am a feminist because I am an equalist.