The F Word

By: Brionna Sandridge

The word that has been sparking a lot of fire these days. The word that everyone kindof tip toes around. The word that is coming in between women all over the country. Feminism.

This topic has been weighing on my heart a lot these past couple of months. I have seen a bunch of posts on social media about why you should be a feminist, why you should not be a feminist, why feminists are crazy and annoying, blah blah blah. Well, I’m here to tell you that I am a feminist, in the simplest and truest form of the word. And I’m proud of it. Now hear me out, I’m not trying to convert you or something. I want to believe that people who aren’t feminists only say they aren’t because they see all the crazy shenanigans that the radical feminists are doing. These radicals may get the most attention, but out of the whole group, they are actually few and far between.

Here’s what I found for definition of feminism: the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

So, yeah, I’m a little concerned and frustrated when some of my female peers turn their noses up and say that they want nothing to do with feminism. Of course, we have the right to vote and whatever. But it goes way beyond that. I want to have a successful career someday, as most men and women do. What unfortunately still happens today is this: women are often paid less than men for the same job. 

Now, I’m just picturing myself getting to my first job someday, standing next to a man who is the same age as me. It’s his first day too. We have the same education, training, experience, etc. But he is going to make a higher salary than me because he has an X and a Y chromosome and I have two X’s instead. 

If he is more qualified than me, that is a different story. Sure, he would deserve more. But that’s not often the case. Now whether you’re a woman who wants to work or not, I think this should make you angry! If you can’t picture it happening to yourself, picture it happening to your mom, sister, or best friend! Even if it does not affect you, you should be supporting those women that it does affect! 

I know this topic is complicated, considering that men have been the “breadwinners” of society since the beginning of this Earth. However, if a woman wants to step up and get her own bread, she should get compensated just the same! 

I mean, each sex is equally human after all. Don’t equally qualified humans deserve the same pay?

On another note, I’m not saying that being a feminist means you can’t be a stay-at-home mom; I know plenty of stay-at-home moms who are powerful women. I am saying that if you are a woman who wants to work and hold the same respect as your male coworkers, you should be able to! If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, you should demand that same respect from both the men and women around you. 

My own mother stayed at home with my two siblings and I. It was the biggest blessing ever. I’m convinced that most days it would have been easier for her to go to an office job than to stay at home with three mongrels. But she made it, and I think we turned out alright. 

In elementary school, one of my best friends had a stay at-home-dad. I think this was the only time I encountered this in my entire life, but looking back it was honestly really incredible. Their mom was awesome, and she had her dream career. Their dad was the goofiest, most fun guy you could ever ask for to host a play date! He would jump on the trampoline, and even play boardgames with us. With society’s expectations and all, I’m sure it was not easy all the time to have that role as a stay-at-home dad. But if it worked for their family, then — yes — stay-at-home dads have rights, too.

Next, because I’m a feminist, that obviously means I don’t believe in chivalry. False. I have a boyfriend. Yes, I have moments where I want him to bring me flowers, hold the door for me, or pay for my food at a nice restaurant. But, I also don’t mind buying him a sonic drink or an ice cream every once in a while. We both work, and I enjoy treating him to meals and gifts, too!

I’m not here to whine that the WNBA does not get enough airtime on ESPN. I’m not telling you all to burn your bras and toss your nail polish. I’m not here to say that men and women are the same, because we’re not. I study biology for goodness sake. We are completely wired differently than men: physically, mentally, emotionally, and hormonally (except I would like to level the playing field out a bit and get men to have the equivalent of a period once a month...just kidding…maybe). I want us to acknowledge our differences, but realize that everyone — no matter what gender, race, religion, or culture — deserves equality. We have not reached this equality yet. But having a divide between women on whether one should be a feminist or not a feminist seems like a silly debate, and it’s holding us back from progress.

If you get anything out of this post, I hope that it’s the point that us women need to stick together. Why is this word coming in between us and dividing us, when it should actually be doing the opposite? I personally believe that we shouldn’t tell other women (or anyone for that matter) to stop fighting for something they are passionate about. If you are content with your rights, then more power to you! But don’t tell feminists to stop being annoying — they’re advocating for your basic rights. In the end, we must simply love one another.