You’re probably a feminist

Sarah James

Every once in a while, I hear it from across the room. My head whips around and my ears stand to attention.

“Oh, don’t let Sarah James hear you say that,” they warn. “She’s one of those crazy feminist chicks; she’ll bite your head off.”

Upon hearing this, I cannot help but cross the room to find out what someone thinks will make my “crazy feminist” blood boil. More often than not, the person has been telling anti-woman jokes and finds them incredibly hilarious. As a feminist, I find some of these jokes to be mildly amusing, simply because they illustrate the negativity associated with feminism.

When I identify myself as a feminist, many people automatically assume that I hate men, refuse to shave my armpits and listen to Alanis Morissette on loop.

None of these things are true. Many of my friends carry the Y chromosome and if there is hair under my arms, it is because I am lazy and not because of any radical leftist leanings. Ironically, I hate Alanis Morisette more than patriarchy if that is at all possible. I like to shop, and I wear mascara. I have never burned any of my undergarments.

It is hard for me to explain why I am a feminist, because it comes so naturally. It had never occurred to me to be against my own progress.

I am not a baby machine for the state, and I believe in comprehensive sex education. I believe women should be legally allowed to breastfeed in public. I do not see women as a subset of men.

Whenever I encounter a woman who claims that she isn’t a feminist, I am severely confused. I don’t understand how a woman could be against her own rights and advancement. I cannot comprehend how one could denounce generations and generations of angry women who fought for the rights and recognition men were given from the start.

It is a common misconception that in order to be a feminist you must be a woman. This is also untrue. There are plenty of men who identify themselves as feminists. Although they do not have access to the same feelings, men still have their place in the movement.

The thing is, you’re probably a feminist as well and haven’t realized it yet. Before you disagree or leave me angry comments, consider this:

Do you think that women and men should be treated equally? Do you think that a woman should be able to control the fate of her own uterus? Do you believe that women and men should be paid the same wage for the same work?

If you’ve answered yes, congratulations! You might be a feminist, too.

I know many people have written about feminism’s undeserved bad reputation on these pages, and my words are nothing new. I appreciate the subject being out in the open and discussed by my peers. If more people realized their own feminist identities, perhaps the word wouldn’t have such a negative connotation.

I’m not saying you should rush out and buy the “How to be a Feminist” manual, there isn’t one. I’m not saying to pick a fight with strangers when they tell anti-feminist jokes or to start picketing for reproductive rights.

I am, however, saying feminism needs to be embraced as the idea of equality. I long for the day feminism, as a word, is perceived positively.

Sarah James is a sophomore public relations major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].