Although I have recently identified as a feminist, I feel like it’s something that has been apart of me for as along as I can remember. Even as a child I remember seeing there was an obvious difference between the way women were portrayed in popular culture and the way men were, and the anger that ignited from that realization finally had a place where it could be accepted and I wouldn’t be viewed as an “overly emotional girl who is probably on her period.” I realized a few months ago that I was not an equal part of society and that my voice wasn’t as important as a man’s. This realization was one that came with a lot of emotions, a lot good and a lot bad. The most important emotion that was sparked was anger, I felt mad that people I knew, even people that I considered to be friends of mine, had these terribly distorted views of women in our community and women in popular culture, they were sexualizing us. The anger sparked something else that is just as important, motivation. I was motivated to make changes within the community I was apart of, I was motivated to speak with confidence about issues that I constantly saw myself and other women I knew struggling with, one major one was self-confidence. So naturally, once I began to identify as a feminist I realized a lot of things in my life had to change; I needed to change my vocabulary, I needed to speak up when I felt the values of my gender were being compromised, I needed to surround myself with people who wanted and inspired positive change in my life and the lives around me, and lastly I needed to appreciate every woman for what they were and that was simply, beautiful.
Society’s images of the way women are supposed to look and act are never anything that I considered myself to be: skinny but also curvy, sexy not ‘slutty’, perfect complexion, fair skin tone, in shape, long hair, smart but not smart enough to bring a man’s masculinity into question, independent but not independent enough to not need a man, and literally the list goes on. I spent majority of my life trying to be more like that, trying to make myself more alluring and appealing to the opposite sex. I spent so much of time trying to be these things that I lost touch with the person that I wanted to be, the way I wanted to look and the things that I wanted to value. I became so consumed with everything I didn’t like or wanted to change about myself that it then turned into me becoming jealous of every woman around me that possessed the qualities that I thought I needed and wanted. But it was like as soon as I became a feminist my ideas of a way a women “should” act or look like went out the window and I began to appreciate every woman for what they were and in turn it made me love myself more as well. I started to understand that beauty was all about perception and that I should perceive beauty as something more than what a woman looks like or the clothes that she wears. I no longer wanted to contribute to society sexualizing women. With that pact I made to myself any jealousy I felt towards other women for our differences, went out the window and I had left for other women was love.
Long story short, acceptance of feminism as whole and appreciation for its beauty will only lead to positive changes within you and inspire the people around you. The amount of beauty and the level of happiness that I have achieved since I started to appreciate women and the culture of women is exponentially growing and probably one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. I am forever thankful for this realization and my only hope is that one-day all women are able to feel this and unite to overcome the issues that really matter and need changing.