10) Free Lunch Every Tuesday at the WMST Brown Bags. Free food, free knowledge, good people… What’s not to like?
9) I can read @feministtswift and think it’s absolutely hilarious. “I don’t know about you / But I’m feeling 22 / cents underpaid on the dollar” (C’mon, that is creative.)
8) I can feel justified in shamelessly procrastinating on Jezebel. Sometimes I’ll come across great feminist articles and sometimes I’ll find things like this gem. All completely worth it.
7) I get to talk about sex. Let’s be honest. We all love to talk about sex. Whether taking the Yes Means Yes Seminar, sharing a bottle of wine among friends, or watching awkward sexual encounters on sit coms, we are fascinated by sex. Not that I necessarily divulge my own experiences (or lack thereof) when I talk about sex, but having people around willing to talk about sex and sexuality in a constructive and free way is pretty nice.
6) I feel justified speaking up in class. For a long time I didn’t think it was a problem that I never participated in class. I was completely content sitting in the back of the classroom and listening to what everyone else had to say. But, I came to realize that I kept on hearing the same voices, perspectives, and opinions. Finally I started raising my hand, asking the difficult questions, and voicing different opinions. Not that I always have something worthwhile to say, but expressing a different viewpoint is actually important, especially when it’s a feminist viewpoint. So, speak up! You may not always be right, but at least you put yourself out there. You actually learn the most when you have to defend something you believe.
5) I have one more reason to stop critiquing my own body. I’m not the first person to admit that I have problems with the way I think my body looks. Some days I feel fat. Other days I feel beautiful. What being a feminist has done for me is realize that there are different ideals of beauty (as corny as that sounds, it’s true). While I’m still working on accepting my body for what it is, feminism is one more voice in my head on the team “love you for who you are.”
4) There is a sense of solidarity among feminists. “Oh wait, you’re a feminist?! Me too!” Ok, this may be a little contrived, but the idea is there. Sharing a common belief and value is at least a conversation starter. And although feminists don’t always agree on all issues or perspectives, at least we can all agree that we value human rights and equality for all. It’s a starting point and a great thing to have in common with feminists all around the world.
3) I get to meet amazing people. You know how college is supposed to be the best four years of your life? I think this is true for me not because I can go out and drink like a fish whenever I want (not that I enjoy that much anyways), but because of all the amazing people I interact with on a daily basis. Specifically, the people in the Center for Women’s Studies are awesome. I have learned so much from people with different life stories and perspectives that have pushed me to become a better person and feminist.
2) I have a goal in life. Pick up any self-help book and the first step is to create a list of goals. While coming up with some and adhering to them can sometimes be a painful process, they are also incredibly effective. Goals are helpful because they help you become someone you actually want to be. I want to be someone who advocates for human rights and equality. Having my feminist lens and working through feminist theory (both in an academic setting and in my actual life) gives me a sense of purpose in my life. And, while currently in the midst of figuring out what I want to do when I graduate (eek!) at least I have some direction of what I’m interested in and would like to pursue.
1) I have the satisfaction of knowing I’m right. But seriously though. I dare you to come up with a good reason why people should be treated differently and have different opportunities available to them based on their gender, sex, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, age, ability, sexual orientation, religion, etc. It’s hard to justify the violation of human rights.
To sum things up: being a feminist is awesome. I dare you to try it.
- Michelle Van Veen '14