I’ve been hoarding a lot of links lately to articles that I wanted to send you to, internet, and instead of trying to condense these beautifully written, poignant pieces into my own words, I figured it’d be best to offer them whole and try to explain why I think they are important.
Feminism wasn’t meant to become a hard, angry word. It was intended, originally, to inspire people to fight for women’s rights, to acknowledge that men and women are equals, and to give a name to the people who wanted a powerful movement to succeed.
To a certain extent, feminism succeeded.
And then, somewhere down the line, the word itself got twisted and bend and sharpened into something ugly that people did not want to associate themselves with.
Let us be crystal clear.
If you believe that woman deserve to live good lives with opportunities for success equal to men, you are a feminist.
If you believe that woman do not deserve to be bullied, abused, criticized or belittled for being women, you are a feminist.
There are bare-breasted dread-lock wearing hippie protestor feminists, and there are lesbian porn-star feminists, and there are gun-toting vegan feminists who don’t believe in abortion but do believe in rape clinics, and even *gasp* male feminists.
The bottom line is, you are probably a feminist.
You, reading this, right now.
“But wait!” you may be saying. “I enjoy making sexual jokes and watching porn and I have never once been to a rally or even signed a petition!”
If you believe women are awesome and deserve to not be treated like shit, you are a feminist.
“Oh,” you’re probably thinking, “that does sound pretty good, but is feminism even still relevant?”
Feminism is still relevant because there are still women all over the world being mistreated, and because there are still jerks around who think that that’s okay.
Here’s the bottom line.
You don’t need to go to a rally if you don’t want to. You don’t need to run around yelling at non-feminists if that doesn’t float your boat.
What you need to do, dear reader, at bare minimum, is try to be less of a jerk everyday.
Notice that I didn’t imply that you were a jerk, because you’re already a feminist, so you’re heading in the right direction.
No, when I say be less of a jerk, I mean when it next occurs to you to spew some ill-intentioned comment about a woman, re-evaluate your need to say that thing. When your friend says something mean about a woman, re-evaluate your need to validate that remark. When life offers you an opportunity to do something positive, think about doing that thing.
That’s the goodness we’re spreading today, internet.
It’s as easy as opening a door for a stranger, and you don’t have to feel awkward if they’re a little too far away and they have to jog for it.
Think about it.