Before Emma Watson shook the world with her incredibly awesome speech at the UN, “feminist” was a scary word. I thought being a feminist meant associating yourself with those girls who stopped shaving their legs and underarms and didn’t wear tampons on their periods because they want to “bleed naturally.” Yeah, I wasn’t exactly eager to hop on that train.
I always thought I was a feminist, but I was afraid to say it out loud. It’s like admitting that you secretly like nuts in brownies. It’s just weird. I think it is absolute horseshit that there’s a double standard. I think it sucks that there aren’t as many women in positions of power as men. And I think women are completely capable of everything a man is capable of and more, which I know is true, because I put together IKEA furniture all by myself and only cried once. But I still didn’t know if I would call myself a feminist.
Feminists don’t wear short skirts or crop tops or think makeup is a form of the arts. Feminists don’t accept free drinks at the bar from men they aren’t even the slightest bit interested in. I do these things, regularly and often simultaneously. I like dressing up and I like wearing heels, but I don’t do it for any reason other than I like my legs and heels make my ass look good. I would be lying if I said I didn’t like male attention, but I don’t do it for male attention. If I did it for male attention, I wouldn’t be such a fan of red lipstick. I’m a bad feminist, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still a feminist.
I like men. They’re warm and cuddly and grow beards that make them look like sexy lumberjacks. What’s not to love? If feminism is the equality of the sexes, as we know from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Beyoncé’s “Flawless,” why should I feel bad about getting attention from guys? I’m checking them out just as much as they’re checking me out. It’s just biology. So if a guy sees me in a dress I think I look good in, wearing makeup I put on because I like it, drinking alcohol I may or may not have bought myself, I’m still a feminist. I hate that there’s the idea that you have to choose between being fun and being a feminist. My belief that women deserve equal pay and equal rights doesn’t change because my outfit does.
Being a feminist should be a label you’re proud to wear, like your nationality, your race, or your letters. The stigma that comes from being a feminist is the same stigma we get for being Greek. People have their own ideas of what it means, what you dress like, and who you are. Ninety percent of the time, they aren’t true. Once you get under the scary stigma, feminists are just people fighting for equality. There’s nothing scary or radical about that.
I’m a walking contradiction. I’m not blind to the hypocrisy that radiates out of me as I bash the rapey undertones of “Blurred Lines,” when in my head, I’m singing along. It’s a catchy tune. So sue me. But I’m not perfect, in this aspect of my life or in any other. I’m not a perfect feminist, but I am a feminist. It’s okay if you are, too. Be proud to be a feminist. By being vocal about it, you’re not only standing up for yourself, but for the millions of women in other parts of the world who can’t. Be so proud to be a feminist that you would put it in your Twitter bio. Make it a part of who you are, and it’ll show–not in the outfits you wear, but in the words and actions you say and do to further gender equality..