Currently Reading: "Outrageous Acts And Everyday Rebellions" by Gloria Steinem

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - The Year of my Awakening

I am a feminist. I am a STRIDENT feminist! Or at least that's what Caitlin Moran told me to say. But I'm not saying it because I've been told to. Speaking (and typing for that matter) these words does not make me a feminist.

Neither does owning the symbolic pair of black boots, wearing granny panties, or skipping make-up rituals for more time to eat food in the morning. (Although I do all three.)

Also, pinning feminist pins on Pinterest, though satisfying, doesn't do it either.

"Well Jenna, what makes you a feminist?" you must surely be asking by now. Good question, I am glad you asked! :)

The belief that women are human beings too. The idea that women should not be treated as less of a person merely for being a woman. Why, that makes me a feminist. The notion that women are equal to men - not better, not worse, just equal - that's what makes me a feminist. But it goes much, much deeper then that. And that's what I'll be doing with this blog for now on - going much deeper on the subject of feminism and what it means for me.

Contrary to popular belief, being a feminist is NOT about:
  • taking over the world
  • man-hating
  • making every woman a lesbian
  • burning bras
But it CAN be about:
  • treating everyone, (no matter their gender) with respect
  • fair opportunities to achieve and succeed
  • ensuring a woman's safety from rape and assault, and not getting blamed under the pretense of "asking for it"
  • being valued for more than outward beauty
  • breaking out of the baby making/house keeper/sexual trophy role
  • finally feeling comfortable in your own skin

And guess what? Along with my personal feminist values comes some pretty darn good things - like all of the things I mentioned earlier. Not having to worry about makeup every single morning, and feeling good about myself even if I'm wearing full-butt underwear, owning comfortable shoes, and pinning pictures of Georgia O'Keeffe paintings and Rachel Maddow quotes on my Pinterest boards. It's great!

2013 was the year where I realized I was a feminist. I am almost ashamed to say that it took me that long! It was the year of my awakening. The year when I first picked up the book "How to Be A Woman" by Caitlin Moran and said to myself "Whoa!" Her words and wit smacked me in the face (metaphorically, naturally)- and gave me the chance to see my own thoughts on paper. Other women feel this way? I knew, but never had known. After putting down her book, it literally felt like my world had broadened. It was the ah-ha moment. The light bulb above my head that began to buzz with electricity. And just like that, Ms. Moran gave me the confidence in myself to...well, frankly, to do what I'd already been doing. But this time I wasn't embarrassed by it, or ashamed. Reading her book took away the guilt and "explain-awaying" I'd been doing for with decisions for so long.

Seriously, ladies - go read it!
Subsequently, I picked up more books to confirm what I'd known all along. My reading list for 2013 included but was not limited to:
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide - Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
  • Women's History for Beginners - Bonnie Morris & Phillip Evans
  • Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists - J. Courtney Sullivan & Courtney E. Martin
  • The Feminine Mystique - Betty Friedan
  • Vagina: A New Biography - Naomi Wolf

Virginia Woolf needed money and a room of her own to write her fiction. Thankfully, blogging is free and I'll strive to write the truth as I see it. I had to start somewhere, and here it is. I am a feminist and I'm proud! More to come...

A feminist is any woman who tells the truth about her life. - Virginia Woolf