How to be a Good Feminist
Whether you are a radical feminist, liberal feminist or an - unsure what to define yourself - feminist, the fact is, feminism is extremely important and we can all improve our ways of supporting the cause. No matter what gender you identify with, we should all be rooting for the feminist movement. And since you have found this oneHOWTO article, it seems like you want to know just how to be a good feminist. So, keep reading and find out.
Respect and love yourself
It sounds cliched and is much easier said than done but it is vital to respect and love yourself in order to help the feminist movement. If you don't respect yourself, how will other women or men respect you? Loving yourself also doesn’t mean boasting about how wonderful or beautiful you are - you can, but it may come across arrogant. The key is accepting you for you and not worrying whether you fit into society’s ideals.
Women feel an immense pressure from the media and celebrity culture to look a certain way. If you don’t fit the bill, that is fine - you are in the majority. With that said, it is extremely important to note that even if you are deemed conventionally beautiful, wear lots of makeup and like to dress similarly to popular celebrities, you can be a feminist too. We don’t all go bare faced or wear baggy shirts. Feminism is not one size fits all.
Support and empower other women
It is natural for women to compare themselves to other women. So much so, women say they would rather impress other women with their clothing and makeup than men. Although social media has provided us with an array of opportunity, it has undoubtedly led to increase in self-doubt and insecurity in women and men. However, females are more inclined to compare themselves to other females on Instagram and feel horrible about themselves.
Instead of complimenting a fellow woman’s attractive picture and being content with them-self, they start listing all the differences they have. We should support and empower other women. Many people think you are beautiful, there is no need to try and beat your fellow females for likes. You should cut yourself some slack.
Think before you speak
This goes for both men and women. We are all guilty of using idioms and phrases that have underlying sexist tones. It is easy to desensitize ourselves to this offensive language when we have spoken it all our lives, but we must learn to think before we speak and analyze our word choice. When you become a feminist, you realize words and phrases you used without batting an eye suddenly become inappropriate and offensive to you; terms such as ball buster, housewife, frumpy, mumsy or spinster are just a few examples of an enormous selection.
Differences in language between men and women start from a very young age. Girls are taught that they can’t do the same as boys. In primary or elementary school, when a girl is loud or opinionated, she is called bossy, when a boy acts the same he is deemed strong willed. We need to acknowledge these differences in our language and make an active attempt to correct them.
Do your research and understand feminism
If you do your research and discover the present economic inferiority women face every day or the tiny percentage of world leaders that are women, you will then begin to understand feminism.
Learn to analyze film & television. Once you start, your childhood films will suddenly seem incredibly sexist. Almost every Disney princess is depicted as a damsel in distress that needs a prince to save her. And people usually applaud this happy ending.
You can also brush up on history, go back in time to the suffragette movement and realize how far we have come and how far we still have to go. For example, sexual assault is still a frighteningly major issue. Read this oneHOWTO article on how to keep your campus safe from sexual assault.
Treat men and women equally
Essentially, the essence of the feminist movement is to achieve equal opportunities for men and women. It is only fair for us to treat men and women equally in order to do this. Both genders have a range of differences that make this a challenging task, however, simple changes in our daily lives can make an impact. For those in a heterosexual relationship, try and subvert gender roles by offering to do tasks the other may commonly be associated with. Women aren’t born with special cleaning skills, we can all be efficient at tidying. The same goes for fixing things. The term ‘handyman’ seems a little strange when we say this to a woman because we don’t associate women with being able to fix things. These engraved opinions are inappropriate once we recognize them.
You can also teach your children to be feminists. Don’t succumb to the gender divide in clothing. You don’t have to buy your daughter pink dresses unless she particularly loves the color or style. Be experimental, blue is not just for boys. Furthermore, it is important to show them that whilst their parents are different, they have or should have equal status in society. Show them that their mother doesn’t always clean and cook and their dad doesn’t always work. Provide them with a varied environment.
Voice your opinion
The word feminism has such negative connotations associated with it, but in order to show people that everyone can and should be a feminist, you must voice your opinion. Ask questions like “Why does the term career woman exist and not career man?” Once we realize there isn’t a simple answer to these questions, more people will begin to ask why.
Challenge misconceptions. Not all women hate men. Feminists can be men, women, girls and boys. Openly call yourself a feminist and be proud of it. When someone criticizes a man for identifying as a feminist, defend him. Feminism can be harder for a man to identify with because he has never looked through the female lens.
You can also attend protests and partake in activism. Support rallies that promote women’s equality and talk about it. It is also important to find out which activists and politicians work towards equal rights for men and women and support them.
Putting things into practice
When you first identify as a feminist, you will realize you have judged women and men differently because of their genders, all your life. It is natural to be sexist when we have grown up in a society that projects certain ideals onto us. You will notice how sexist the music industry is, when it depicts women as sexual objects in music videos and lyrics. You will also notice sexism in newspaper headlines, as they often represent successful businesswomen as mothers instead.
Once you acknowledge these issues and actively challenge them, ensuring to discuss feminism aloud, you will soon know just how to be a good feminist. But remember, there is no such thing as a perfect feminist.
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