When I first started writing for ShoutOut, I was scared. I felt that because I barely knew anything about feminism, I was betraying my gender in a sense. I was surrounded by all of these other bloggers who seemed so confident in their feminist identity, whereas I didn’t feel like I was doing the feminist name any justice. It didn’t help when I realized that there were so many issues under the umbrella of feminism. The thought of trying to learn all of them became very daunting. What I was most afraid of was saying something stupid or making an uneducated claim and offending someone because I didn’t know what I was talking about.
Finding my feminist voice was hard and I was always very careful to say certain things. I felt like because of this, I was holding back a lot. I was so worried about saying something wrong, getting called out and then not being able to defend myself that I stopped myself from saying what I felt or putting my all into an argument.
While I have definitely grown a lot and become more comfortable in my feminist skin, there are still a few things I wish I had done differently. Here’s what I have learned from my time blogging for ShoutOut! JMU:
1. Do Your Research
The first step is always becoming educated. A lot of my problem with my low feminist self-esteem was that I didn’t do anything about it at first. It seemed to me like everyone who knew so much about feminism just happened upon the information. But in reality, learning about these different issues requires a lot of research not only about the topic but also about the differing opinions on the topic. Knowing both sides of an issue is important in forming your own educated opinion. I was able to learn about various issues mostly from reading posts from my fellow bloggers, but also by searching popular feminist blogs and websites, such as EverdayFeminism.com. Sometimes looking at various news sources from both a side you identify with (liberal, for example) and one that you don’t (conservative) can be helpful, too.
2. Establish Your Viewpoint
Once you have done your research, make a decision about your stance on various issues. This isn’t saying that your opinion won’t change, as it may once you learn even more. But being firm in your beliefs helps your arguments from becoming wishy-washy.
3. Speak Up and Make Educated Arguments
Don’t ever be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. The only way to fight for what we think is right is to make our voices heard. Put forth your arguments and be sure you have the right facts to back them up. Oftentimes we are afraid to be heard because of what others may think. There will be people who come at you and tell you you’re wrong. The best thing you can do is be prepared to defend yourself and stand your ground.
4. Recognize When You Are Wrong
While we strive to make insightful arguments in the fight for equality, sometimes we may be out of line. We may learn different sides or hear different facts after we bring forth our argument. It’s okay to be wrong; we can learn so much from our mistakes. The best way to accept defeat is gracefully by admitting that you are wrong. By doing so, we can then learn what we’ve said or done that wasn’t right and try to fix our mistakes.
While there have been both ups and downs during my time as a ShoutOut blogger, it has been one of the best learning experiences.
Thank you to all of the readers who have taken the time out of their days to read something that I have done my best to write, and thank you for all of the unparalleled support.
It has been an amazing journey that I am so honored to have been a part of.