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Feminism freaks me out

By - juliagarcia 0 Comments

Feminism freaks me out.

Mostly because when someone has ever referred to a “feminist” around me, they were usually speaking about them in a tone that my mother used to used to take when one of her six kids neglected the overflowing trash in the bathroom. A defeated and long exasperated sigh of “Are you kidding me? This is disgusting!”

To be woman and associated with feminism, has mostly for my generation of OG Millennials been “uncool” to say the least.

While I’ve made an underground career out of speaking up for things I believe are unjust, like racism and the lack of social health in social media I still have never felt ballsy enough to be on the front lines for feminism.

Who would I be fighting alongside anyway?

Would they rock purple hair or be biracial like me? Would they know what it’s like to be a single mom, or would they have ever been a college athlete? Would they have ever danced on a bars for money or volunteered for anything outside of church?

And even more,

Who would I become as a FEMINIST?

Would I be able to shave my arm pits, wear my favorite lipstick, or love my son and the men in my life anymore?

I am only now discovering as I pursue a greater understanding through my career and PHD work, how deeply scarred and tainted my views of my own potential as a woman and feminist have been.

Media plays a critical role in shaping us, and when you are either not represented or misrepresented in the culture you look to in understanding yourself more, imagination can only take you so far.

This may be why my pre-teen self thought success would be getting to be a sexy side piece in the latest TRL video. Or maybe this has something to do with why a teen girl recently told me,

“women shouldn’t be complaining because times are better now then they have ever been before”

As if we should be so grateful to get even close to what men are entitled to, how dare we ask for more?!

Perhaps what is most difficult though, is feeling like, even after #metoo went viral, I still read things on social media that said “oh boo hoo, what drunk girl doesn’t have some sad rape story?”

I am not naive enough to think this is all mens opinions, but that doesn’t mean just one person finding it “funny” to post that, doesn’t suck.

It makes me want to tell the imprisoned feminists inside of me,

See, I told you so, they hate us, they don’t believe us, and they will never join us.

Moments of defeat are thankfully, getting fewer and further between the more I see women and men (especially individuals I resonate with) speaking up about their hopes to end the lifelong struggles women have silently suffered, too often, alone through.

I know listening to a “feminist rant” may make you feel uncomfortable (it does for me sometimes too), but by dismissing the lived experiences of others or making us feel bad for feeling bad about what we have been through, you are denying our voices.

My hope now is that feminism can become a heck of a lot more inclusive and maybe even somehow find a way to be as cool as “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” That people like me who have one foot in and one foot ready to run out, finally become rooted in their commitments to create an equal and SAFE world for us all (even if we are not well received by others).

More than anything though, my dream is that “feminism” stops being a women problem that women have to solve. No one person can clean the kitchen, fold all the laundry, take the kids to soccer practice on time, fulfill all of your personal expectations, and still manage to break through all those damn glass ceilings by themselves (unless you can, and then you’ll def have to message me).

We aren’t wired to go through life alone, so why leave it up to a marginalized group of people to solve the problems society created for them, on their own?

I know for me, my first step is to admit that I have a love hate relationship with feminism, and to figure out why. Have I allowed media and the opinions of others to distort my views? Am I jaded? Am I afraid to be disapproved of or not liked? (or, all of the above).

Even as I write this I am confused on what a real feminist looks like and if I will ever “qualify” as one, and that’s ok.

It’s not about having all the answers. It’s about choosing to no longer stay silent when that poor captive feminist inside is raging to be let loose each time she learns someone is shamming or silencing another story.

I know there is a young girl out there (she may even have cray colored hair like me) who needs to know that she doesn’t have to tone her voice down just because others aren’t used to hearing a woman roar.

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