How to be a Real Feminist
by Thao Nguyen
Correct me if I’m wrong, but despite events like the Women’s March, or days like International Women’s Day, there is still a lot of confusion and disagreement about what it means to be a feminist. Some say it’s about breaking the glass ceiling, doing whatever is necessary to get ahead and receive prestige and recognition. Others argue that feminism is about getting on equal footing with men--extremists might even claim that we need to crush the patriarchy and establish a matriarchy. Still others believe it’s about getting out and fighting for rights that women in developing countries aren’t receiving. All of these different thoughts and opinions on what it means to be a feminist has led to a lack of unity among women. Which, if you ask me, is doing just as much harm to all of these platforms as anti-feminists are.
Now, I’m not saying that we all have to have the same ideals and beliefs to be feminists. Even among the Polarity team, we have many different ideas about what it means to be a feminist, and we all have different goals. For example, for me it means that I practice abstinence, am pro-life, and my goal is to be a work-at-home mom. All of these things are the complete opposite of the beliefs and goals of some of the women on the Polarity team, but it doesn’t mean we consider each other less of a feminist or less of a woman than the other. The important thing is that we respect each other. Because that should be the goal of every feminist, no matter what their ideals and beliefs are.
We have to remember that every single girl and woman has undeniable dignity and value. We may not have everything in common, but that is something that will never change. Regardless of a woman’s job, ideology, or political beliefs, she deserves respect. It doesn’t matter if she believes in everything you do not, respect her. It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t respect you, respect her. It doesn’t matter if she herself rejects feminism, respect her. If you can’t do that, then you can’t and shouldn’t call yourself a feminist. Until we all learn to build each other up and not to tear each other down, any strides we make towards equality will be useless.