For the uninitiated, being a feminist can be hard to wrap your head around. What am I to believe? What am I to think? Am I a feminist? The chances are if you are even asking yourself these questions you are more than likely already a feminist. To help further explore what it means to be a feminist, I have interviewed a local blog writer for ShoutOut!
Q: When did you have your ‘feminist awakening’?
A: When I took a feminist blogging class last year! The class taught me more about our fucked-up society than I thought it would!
Q: What has been your hardest experience as a feminist? For me it has been the continued denial that there is a power structure created in our society that favors men.
A: Throughout college, I have seen how discriminatory our society, even our University is. Sometimes, I feel as if men could get away with murder as long as they are white and have a penis. I have seen students get accused of rape and get a minor punishment for it. Also, women being kidnapped and sex trafficked around our University definitely does not make me feel safe. There are numerous occasions at which I have felt unsafe in a male’s presence throughout college and that is so wrong.
Q: How has being a student at JMU developed your own sense of self and along with it your feminist identity?
A: JMU has provided me with the inclusive and knowledgeable professors that I needed to expand my knowledge of feminism. The professors in the Communication Studies department are absolutely wonderful and supportive, in my opinion.
Q: I believe there is a negative stigma associated with identifying as a feminist, I believe the patriarchal society has led to this. In your eyes, what you do think can be done to reduce the negative stigma around being a feminist? Do you think it will ever be possible to remove that stigma entirely?
A: I think the negative stigma surrounding feminists stems from the lack of education on the topic. Not enough people are educated on what feminism actually means. At the beginning of the semester, one of my girlfriends defined the word as “People who protest and are irrational.” I corrected her so fast, her eyes almost popped out of her head.
Q: Lastly In your eyes does being a feminist mean one specific way of thought? Or one way to live a feminist life? There has been some discourse that there is only one way that a feminist may act. Even something so trivial as a woman wearing makeup can be an argument in itself.
A: I believe feminism revolves around equality, especially equality between genders, sexualities, ethnicities, and different economic statuses. Everyone should be given the opportunity to learn about feminism but unfortunately, that will not happen so us feminists need to take it upon ourselves to educate others. We should politely correct people when they use derogatory terms, spread the knowledge of equality, and start viewing the world through a feminist lens.
Living a feminist life doesn’t need to be so black and white, there are not set rules that you have to abide by. We have been living in a society that has perpetuated a norm since its inception. In this time of feminist expansion, we shouldn’t be repeating the same mistakes our very society has created, we should learn from it and make sure we don’t facilitate a norm just like they did. We aren’t items to be categorized, labeled, and put in boxes.