She said the “F-word”!

By
As a young girl, it seemed like my mother was never around. I would secretly envy all the other kids who had moms who were always on time to pick them up from soccer practice or who would even stay to watch. My mother was always late and never watched. She was always working. She was never there when I came home from kindergarten, waiting for me with a snack. It was always a babysitter. I was a little bitter with her sometimes for missing a recital or two, but all these missed moments made me cherish the times we spent together even more. Some of my fondest memories I have of my mother were long car trips when she would tell me stories of her teenage years and growing up in the seventies.

My mother grew up in the second wave of the woman’s rights movement, the age of the Equal Rights Amendment and Gloria Steinem. Unlike my grandmother, my mom decided to forego being a homemaker for a career. She worked her way through college by getting a job in the nearby snack-cake factory. It was there that she met my dad, and they got married. Together, they moved to California where my mom went to medical school. She was one of thirty or so women in her class, and her class was one of the first few graduating classes where they exceeded their quota for the number of women they admitted. My mom didn’t burn bras. She didn’t participate in any women’s rights rallies. She actually came from a conservative background and didn’t get into any feminist activism, but she worked. She worked for all of her adult life, and she knew how to take care of herself without relying on her husband, my dad.

Today, I’m proud of my mom’s dedication to her work. Even though I missed a lot of moments with her because of an unexpected call from the hospital, I’ve finally realized what she has done for me in her absence. She taught me by example how to become a strong woman, and that while having family is important, dreams shouldn’t be ignored.

So naturally, I was drawn into the world of women’s rights; I’ve become the notorious f-word, a feminist. And as a feminist seeing my own generation’s attitudes towards women’s rights, I’m pretty darn concerned. In a recent CosmoGirl! Poll, only about a quarter of the girls polled said they considered themselves feminist. Only a freakin’ quarter.

We have come a long way, but feminism is far from dead, despite what you may hear. Even today women only make 75 cents for every dollar a man makes. And still, girls are constantly being told that their value comes from how many guys think they’re cute. Young women are bombarded with these messages starting their Disney Princess days, continuing into our teenage years with chick flicks and “young adult” books. What are these stories about: charging after dreams, or trying to find the perfect man? There’s nothing wrong with a little romance, but why are young women constantly being told that Mr. Right should be our number one priority, and why are we listening?

I’ve seen first hand how difficult it is for a woman to have a career and raise a family, but my mother and many other women before me worked their whole lives in order to ensure their daughters had opportunity. They are practically handing me rights on a silver platter. Why should I throw it back in their faces? Why should I work my butt off to get into and pay for college just to waste that by spending the rest of my life cleaning and baking cookies?

I have a little theory. I think all us girls are secretly afraid of being called the b-word. You all know which one I’m talking about. No guy will fall in love with a girl who wears the pants in the relationship, right? Wrong. Realistically, there will always be some jerks out there who preach about women and the three C’s: cooking, cleaning, and taking care of kids, but there are more guys who think it’s sexy that a girl has her own dreams. Surprisingly, recently more men are becoming feminists. Feminism isn’t just for women; it’s also about the expectations put on men. Think how much pressure is put on guys to be masculine and tough. It’s just about as bad or worse than the pressure put on girls to be feminine. Guys are just as afraid of being called “sissy” as girls are afraid of the b-word. And if men are made the sole breadwinners of society, won’t that put a lot of financial strain on their shoulders? That hardly seems fair to them.

So, yes, I am proud to call myself a teenage feminist, and in my opinion, all teenagers should do the same. I know what you’re thinking, Feminism doesn’t concern me, but Feminism is really about everyone. As teenagers, we are on the brink of financial independence from our parents, and we are finally realizing what defines us as individuals. Besides being full of politics and a lot of other crap, Feminism, for both girls and guys, allows us to shuck away all these expectations on what it means to be men or women. It’s about finding your own strength and independence. It’s about freedom from gender roles, choice to live as you want to live, and charging after whatever dream you have. To me, there is nothing more important in the world than protecting my choices and independence. That’s why I’m a feminist. I’m the f-word, and I’m not afraid to declare it to the world.





Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

MusicPandaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 5:51 pm
I know what it's like to be a feminist, and be spoken badly about because of it. One of my more conservative friends flat out said "I hope I'm not a feminist " and that "they get triggered by everything." No one really acknowledges what feminism is truly about, and this is due to feminism mainly receiving attention when radicals become involved. I loved this article, and you are very talented!
 
RavenScholar said...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Applause.

Kudos for discussing feminism and supporting it, while at the same time not male-bashing. There is far too little of that on the Internet, and the people who do that sort of thing just make a bad name for everyone else.

May I suggest you read "Are Men Necessary?" by Maureen Dowd? The title in no way accurately represents what the book is about; I suspect it was chosen to sell books.

- Fellow Proud Feminist

 
purpleink112 said...
Oct. 21, 2009 at 3:14 pm
Great article! Props to you for being a girl who stands up for what she believes in.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback