The Truth About Being a Feminist

I’ve always considered myself a feminist, because I’m a woman, and being anything else just wouldn’t make sense.

Naturally, I love being surrounded by what appears to be a feminist revival. I know gender equality isn’t a new concept, and my generation of women has the least to overcome of any generation of women ever, but we still need feminism and feminists for as long as we need gender equality and I’m thoroughly stoked to see feminism almost everywhere I look. 

Having said that, I’ve been noticing a lot of confusion, judgment, and weirdness linked to feminism lately, and if I don’t address it I might explode. One of the worst misconceptions about feminism is the idea that all feminists fit into one very specific category. Basically, that we’re all exactly the same; but that’s ridiculous and impossible. No one is exactly the same. Period. There is no set of qualifications you need to fulfill in order to become a feminist, you just need to believe in equality (and why wouldn’t you?). I know so many women who are afraid to call themselves feminists because they think they’ll immediately be linked with a list of stereotypes that don’t apply to them. Or they’ll call themselves feminists, but with a disclaimer, like, “I don’t really consider myself a feminist, but…” or “I’m a feminist, but I don’t hate men or grow out my armpit hair.”

This crap really bums me out. Let me be very clear about this ladies, if you believe in the total equality of men and women, you ARE a feminist. 

You can marry at eighteen, have five kids, and focus on being the best mom that ever lived. You can travel the world collecting lovers, memories, and glorious photographs. You can work ninety hours a week until you’re a CEO. You can get multiple college degrees or never attend college at all. 

You can wear a face full of make-up or go all natural 24/7. You can wear short-shorts and crop tops or sweatpants and hoodies. You can read Cosmo or Margaret Atwood. You can spend your vacation volunteering, getting shamefully wasted with your girlfriends in Cancun, or Netflixing and cuddling your cat. Or you can do all of the above. Or none. Or a little of both.

The thing about feminism is this: there is no one right way, or wrong way to be a feminist. The one and only requirement is that you believe in total, complete gender equality. That’s it. So please, please, please stop apologizing for being a feminist. Stop being embarrassed or afraid to call yourself a feminist. Stop doubting that you’re a “true” feminist and just be a feminist. Because, really, why wouldn’t you?   

Elizabeth Enochs is a twenty-something, native Ozarkian, who is trying to use a bachelor’s degree in writing with a minor in small-press publishing from Southeast Missouri State University. She is currently working on multiple essays, short stories, and a children’s book inspired by two of the coolest nieces west of the Mississippi. She’s happily addicted to coffee, herbal teas, porch sitting, exercise, cute animal videos, and the written word. You can follow her on twitter at @ecenochs.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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