What Feminism Means to Me

My name is Sarah, I’m 22 and I wanted to share with you why feminism is so important to me personally. Let me tell you some more about myself, first. I’m a psychology major, I love to write, I’ve been with my boyfriend for two years next month and I’m Catholic. I live in New England, I will be starting my Master’s program in June, and I love animals. I’m a sweet person and I want to find a career which helps others. 

Feminism gives me hope that I can make a difference with my words, not my body. If you’re a guy reading this, it will definitely help you understand how women think. From a young age women are conditioned that they have to be attractive in order to obtain success. Think about it: prettier women will always get chosen over the Plain Jane. Unfortunately this often means that women have been pressured to make themselves more attractive in order to get work. Modeling is one of these careers. 75% have been exposed to drugs and alcohol, with 50% exposed to cocaine specifically. 60% have been asked to lose weight and 1/3 of the models surveyed have/have had an eating disorder. 60% of models feel they have no privacy when changing at work and 85% have been asked to pose nude without prior notice. 28% feel pressured to sleep with a male boss to get ahead and less than 1/3 feel they can tell someone higher up about the sexual harassment. To me this is very sad. This is why we need Feminism. I can write safely from this blog and know people are paying attention to my words. 

Feminism shows me that I don’t need to show off my body. I have the choice to do so but I choose not to. Many times women would be ignored if they were sitting in a room unless they were exposing their breasts or butts. Surveys have shown that in political discussions females speak less and are ignored more than males. I can safely discuss my views and get feedback, have intelligent conversations and change people’s views. To me, Amy Shumer and Kim Kardashian are not good role models and take away from Feminism. They tell people that the naked body is a definite necessity in order to be confident, beautiful and a woman. You don’t have to be naked in order to be a beautiful woman.

Beauty is everywhere in our society, whether it’s people, places, clothing, etc. But why we need Feminism is because people confuse appreciating beauty and lusting after another person. I can appreciate an attractive man or woman without wanting to see them naked. I appreciate beauty every day by being around beautiful people and beautiful places. G is the most beautiful person to me, however. I can never appreciate beauty the same way since I’ve been with G. Everything reminds me of him and I do my best to avoid temptations. 

I know I am not the most beautiful person in the world but I know I’m the most beautiful to G, and he’s the most beautiful to me. That is what is most important. We won’t be the only person the other finds attractive, but it’s about being appropriate and pushing away bad thoughts. What I feel relationships should be like are that we can notice a toned man on the beach or a woman in tight clothes, but we stop after a few seconds and don’t allow those people to consume our thoughts. 

I feel like our modern day society celebrates the Kardashians of the world when they contribute absolutely nothing to the Feminist cause. They get naked, sleep around, bash other women, get plastic surgery and profit off of the insecurities of other women. Yet most of America has seen the Kardashians naked because of the fact that the media pushes them onto us. The female Marines who have been humiliated by the male Marines through releasing private photos and information are why Feminism is still needed. Nobody deserves to have their private pictures or information released without their consent. It makes me angry because this has gone on for decades but only now is it a story. Women in male-dominated careers often get bullied or harassed. 

I wanted to list some statistics on women in the military. Women make up 15% percent of the military in the U.S. 8.3% of female veterans were unemployed in 2012 compared to 6.9% of male veterans. Between 2006-2010, the number of homeless female veterans doubled. 23% of female veterans are divorced and 39% are single parents. 1 in 5 females in the military have admitted they were victims of sexual trauma in the military, 33% experienced rape or attempted rape, and 85% experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment. 81-93% of women in the military experienced some type of trauma before joining so they were running from something. 27% of female veterans have PTSD compared to 10-12% of the normal female civilian population. 1/3 of VA clinics don’t have an OBGYN, so many women have to go elsewhere and pay more costs or not go at all. 

Because of people like the Kardashians, normal women aren’t respected. I’ve had men whistle at me while I walked around, a man slapped my butt once thinking I was his girlfriend, and I’ve felt men stare at me. Obviously people can look at who they want to, but it’s uncomfortable when you feel someone stare at you and follow you. 

Independent, a British newspaper, discusses how porn has influenced modern day culture. Former Prime Minister David Cameron wanted the Internet to filter out the adult content. It is very easy for people to access the material on their smartphones nowadays, and there is worse material out there called “rape porn.” There’s even videos online labeled “hilarious mental breakdowns” where porn stars who are on drugs/alcohol or just can’t take it anymore and have mental breakdowns, and many times the men in the videos and men watching the videos laugh! In the 1980s Feminists had a different stance on porn because much of the older porn was more female friendly. Most porn of the 80s had unshaven women and there was a focus on their pleasure. To say that today is laughable. Young men are taught that anal sex and oral sex are things that they have the right to get/give, and that women are submissive and their sexual opinions don’t matter. Popular newspapers and news outlets, sometimes censored and sometimes uncensored, publish pictures of women’s breasts and butts as if women are just a collection of body parts. 

It is unfair that half the population has to be objectified for the expense of the other half, and that women have to work at places where magazines/newspapers are sold that objectify them. Men aren’t objectified nearly as much. You don’t really see Playgirl at a store nearly as much as you’d see Playboy. The former editor of Loaded, a porn magazine, has had a change of heart due to the effects porn may have on his 4 year old son. The editor made a movie, but it focuses on the damage porn does to men rather than women.  

I worry that the notion of porn being addictive lets men off the hook. In much the same way, talking about boys who have been “sexually traumatised” by watching porn diverts attention from girls who are having to deal with demeaning and dangerous sexual demands from young men. I’m glad that Daubney argues for better sex and relationships education, but I’m uncomfortable with the notion that porn is suddenly a bad thing because it damages boys.

It is true, porn is not suddenly a bad thing. It’s changed since the 1980s when women’s pleasure actually mattered. When you listen to music from the 80s and 90s, although there’s sexual music in there, it’s not as derogatory as music is today. You listen to popular music today and women are called “bitches”, “whores”, “cunts”, etc., and women in music videos are basically underpaid porn stars. I hear men around me call women bitches, think women deserve rape due to their clothes, and say that there’s no problems with porn. Porn is a symptom of the bigger problem. Feminism will only be not needed when the sexes are truly equal. I don’t agree with Free the Nipple, because you’re turning yourself into a sex object in order to not be a sex object? When women can walk around by themselves without worrying about being raped feminism can go away. When modern day porn is a thing of the past and people learn to love and appreciate their partners feminism can go away. When, according to the Huffington Post, 1 of 3 women aren’t sexually harassed at work then feminism can go away. 71% of women don’t report their sexual harrsssment because it isn’t taken seriously. “Are you sure you didn’t lead him on?” is a response often given to women. Sexual harassment towards men is often seen as a joke, which is unfair towards men. When a male teacher seduces a female student he’s a pervert and a weirdo, but it’s “cool” when a female teacher seduces a male student. 

We need Feminism because women often cannot have equal romantic relationships because men feel entitled to things like porn, drugs, drinking, etc. I’ve had friends cry to me because their boyfriends don’t respect them with porn and strip clubs, and they don’t know what to do. This is wrong. It is wrong to lie to your partner and hurt them. Even if you don’t think it’s wrong, respect your partner! I’ve seen men tell other men to dump their girlfriends if they were in porn, if they went to a male strip club, if they got extremely intoxicated at a party and flirted with other men. Why is it ok for men to lie and hurt but it isn’t ok for women to do so? This is why we need Feminism. We need to change the world, one blog at a time! 🙂


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