But coming to BYU, I had a bit of culture shock. No one was a hippie liberal feminist. In fact, no one even voted for obama! (gasp)
So I kind of sunk into the crowd and closeted some of my ideas. I wasn't sure really even what my political or social beliefs were, so I took the classes and waited to find out what I believed in.
When I had signed up for Psychology of Gender and Women's Studies, I kind of rolled my eyes. After all, women are equal to men and there's just no reason for all of these crazy feminists to shove their bra-burning agendas down my throat, right?
(all of these stats were taken from my psychology of Gender textbook):
- Women are still paid less than men for doing the exact same job. (on average, they're paid 79 cents on the dollar that men are paid) Even in women-domineered careers like nursing, men are still paid more. And the census shows that this hasn't gotten better since past years! (see image right)
- 26% of all women will be raped at some point in their life. and 56% of women are sexually assaulted in some way.
- In classrooms, boys receive more encouragement for speaking up and voicing their opinions than girls do.
The list goes on and on... and on.
- The US provides the least amount of maternity time. (European countries give 6 months paid off, canada gives a year paid off!)
- The US has very few women in parliament in comparison to other countries in the UN. (see image to left)
So I came to a conclusion - there is still so much more that needs to be done before women are equal. And since Feminists seek for equality, I guess that made me a feminist.
But there's such a negative stigma associated with the word "feminist". I even asked Jeff one day:
A: "You'd consider yourself a feminist, right?"
A: "But you agree with me on pretty much everything! And you agree that there's a lot that needs to be done before women and men are equal, right?"
J: "Well... yeah."
A: "So that makes you a feminist, too."
J: "Yeah, I guess so. It's just that I don't like the word. I don't want to be associated with the stereotypical feminist."
I didn't really understand what Jeff meant. After all, I didn't really consider myself a bra-burning hippie. It's just that after learning everything I had learned, I couldn't ignore the facts.
But this past week I finally understood what Jeff meant. I've had a few people bully me for my beliefs. I'll quote what they had to say here:
"I just feel bad for you--that something happy... still gets tainted by feminist arguments. Finding the bad in everything isn't a very healthy practice."
"When you take such a strong stance like this on a matter post so frequently on it, despite how good and legitimate your arguments might be, anyone outside the bubble who doesn't care as much, starts invisioning you as a zealot."
"Amber is a bit of a feminist like Hitler was a bit of a meaner."
I never meant to offend anyone, but apparently labeling myself as a feminist meant that other people could freely attack me. I never wanted to come off as a "zealot" or be compared to Hitler in any way. And I'll admit it, I cried. I thought about deleting my blog. I thought about never posting anything about women's rights or never posting anything about my opinions ever again. But what good would that do?
This is what I believe:I'm a feminist... not because I think women should be exactly like men, but because women should have the same opportunities as men.
I'm a feminist because I think I should be able to have a career without being judged for not staying at home, just as much as other women should be able to be stay-at-home moms without being judged.
I'm a feminist for Madison, because by the time she turns 8, studies show that she'll likely already have a bad body image and have attempted dieting. she'll also have given up dreams of being president.
I'm a feminist for my future sons, because the media teaches that it's ok for men to be violent towards women, and that affects the men in my life.
Above all, I choose to focus on how the media affects all of society because studies show that this inequality isn't because of inherent sexism, but from learned portrayals of women in the media:
- burn bras.
- believe that the way to equality means that society should put men down.
- think that men and women are exactly alike. We are different, and we should celebrate those differences.
Lastly, if you disagree with me, that is fine. I don't know how you can argue with the facts, but you have the freedom to do so. Just don't leave a message or a post attacking me personally.
To quote my good friend Amanda, "misogynists gunna hate."
|I thought this was funny. |
And particularly appropriate considering the hitler comment.
pssst... agree with me? there are others out there like me!
check out http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/