I've had several comments from people that the pussy hats are vulgar and does that mean that men have to wear "dick hats"? And how does one explain the hats to young girls? Apparently, it doesn't matter explaining the hats to young boys....And how do we explain President "Grab Them By The Pussy" Trump to kids? He started this. There is symbolism to the hats. And by looking at pictures of the various marches with a bunch of people wearing pink hats, it did help make the movement look more uniform.
I hate how feminism has become a dirty word to some. Some people don't think it's needed because women are equal now. No, we're not. The ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) never officially got ratified to the Constitution in the 1970s. While there are some protections for women under some states law, we're not officially equal under the Constitution. Sexism, just like racism, and all types of other -isms are still prevalent. It might not be in your face type stuff, but it's there and subtle.
On the flip side, some people say that feminism isn't inclusive enough. Some say it neglects women of color, transgender women, women from other countries, poor women. Or if you're pro-life or religious, you can't be a feminist. Or if you're a man, you can't be a feminist. I beg to differ. There are lots of different types of feminists out there. Yeah, it used to be more of a club for privileged white women. It still sorta is, but many of the feminists I know are concerned about the rights of women of color, transgender women, women from other countries, poor women. There are so many feminist issues to be concerned about, that some issues get drowned out.
Abortion rights are a big one. However, all the people and feminists I know that are pro-choice aren't pro-abortion. We think abortion is terrible however it's a far more complex issue than just baby murder. It's not a binary problem and far more nuanced. Many pro-choice people I know are also for more accessible birth control options, better sex education, assistance for poor women, all in the name of reducing unwanted pregnancies or helping those that do have them. And if you're pro-life that's fine. Don't get an abortion. However, it's not up to me to delegate such a personal choice to other women.
I started getting into feminism during my college years. I'm not quite sure how I got into it. It was a mixture of punk rock, experiencing sexism first hand, as well as being in Purdue's Women In Science Program, which helped make me aware of the many challenges female scientists face.
Feminism spoke to me in so many ways. I never was much of a girly-girl growing up. Because of that, I always felt like I was a reject female. And on top of that, like many women, I have body image issues. Feminism helped me feel OK with being who I was and what I look like. It's still a struggle to be OK with who I am at times, but feminism has made me aware of why I struggle and how to cope.
My sense of feminism has evolved over the years, as I've gotten more exposure to different types of people. And it continues to evolve.
Feminism isn't only about man hating. Yes, men are the source of some grief, but it's more about challenging the status quo. I don't think that sex with any man is rape. Nor do I want to spell women as womyn. There are extreme forms of feminism out there, but it's the minority of feminists.
I think it's great to see so many women challenging the status quo and fighting for change. Our message does become mixed because it does vary from group to group. Our messages can come across as militant especially to people who don't like change. Although, I do find feminism to be more and more inclusive all of the time. I do think Islam, when taken to the extreme, is an oppressive religion, especially to women. The symbolism and reasoning for wearing a hijab or a burka, is awful if you ask me. However, I do get the desire to be modest especially if covering the hair is one person's idea of modesty. I may not agree with it but if it's the woman's choice to cover her hair, I'm OK with it, but it has to be her choice. I find make-up or high heels to be repressive. But I know of many women who do like to get glammed up from time to time. It is kind of fun. But as long as wearing make-up or high heels is not a requirement. As long as there is freedom to make your own choices.
And to me, that's a good chunk of feminism. Being free to make your own choice for yourself. Whether that be your career, sexuality, relationship, appearance, reproductive decisions, etc. It's freedom to make these choices without ridicule or shame.