As my first semester writing for ShoutOut! comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on how this experience has molded who I am today. I first heard about the blog in my Communication and Social Movements class during fall semester. I was introduced to the women’s rights movement and feminism in a light that I’d never seen it in before. I ended up doing a group project about the SlutWalk movement and I’m not going to lie to you, learning about this movement really sparked the fire inside me. I got so interested in this movement….I joined it. Thanks to JMU Communication Studies, an amazing professor and student discussions, I found myself.
More specifically, I found my voice. I found that what I had to say was not only important, but that I could say it well. When my friend told me about the blog and that I should consider joining, I realized that this was my chance to speak up and if I didn’t take this opportunity I would be doing myself and the world a disservice. This is my realization: feminism matters. Seems simple huh? But really though, this is probably the most important realization I’ve had.
Feminism matters for me, for the men in my life, for my sisters, for my mother, for my best friends and for people that I’ve never met. The issues that I predominantly focus on are women’s health care, sexual assault, slut shaming, representation of women in the media/politics and equality in general. When I say equality, I don’t just mean for women either. Equality for everyone no matter your gender, sexual orientation or skin color. I don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind and I’m really sick of the whole world acting like it’s okay to treat human beings like sh*t.
I realized that I didn’t identify myself as a feminist before because I had been so consumed by the world around me that said “suck it up, it’s your fault.” Well you know what? It’s not. I was born a female and I can’t change that, nor would I want to. I just want to be seen by the world as more than my gender. Which as of right now, doesn’t happen. And that my fabulous blogger friends, is why I now proudly call myself a feminist. Because the sooner women stop being afraid of the F word, the sooner we can break down the barriers that have held us back for so long.
Most of my friends write off what I do here for ShoutOut! as stupid. I can tell because when we have talks about it I know they aren’t taking what I have to say seriously. This bothers me because I know that if they were able to accept that these issues exist, they would be just as passionate as I am about feminism. While I haven’t received the support from my friends that I hoped for, I have received support from my fellow ShoutOut! bloggers and all of you lovely readers who made me feel much less alone in this fight. This is a fight y’all, and I won’t be satisfied till equality wins.
My advise for all of you trying to figure out what feminism means to you: find your voice, use it wisely and never stop fighting for what is important to you.
I’m sad to see this semester come to an end, but looking back on how much I’ve grown I am more than excited for next fall! Not only have I made great friends and learned a lot about myself and feminism, but The Good Men Project started following me on Twitter so that’s an extra plus. I look forward to more amazing discussions with all of you and thank you so much for a fantastic semester. Have a wonderful summer!