Feminism didn’t start with the bra-burning chicks of the 1960s, it’s had a place in society since forever. Women have always sensed that the ways in which society, i.e. men, have tried to control us isn’t cool. Women have rebelled and faced wars predicated on the false indoctrination of what men think women should be. There have been stories of women raising hell only to be called crazy, there have been stories of women using powers to fight back only to be called a witch. We’ve been attacked in body and in name because the truth is men fear us and with reason. We are powerhouses of energy, spirit, and the divine feminine. Our fight started long ago and it will not cease until we are given what we deserve. A rightful place in society where we are not ostracized, brutalized, or killed. Women have suffered. Women continue to suffer. Do you realize this? Have you ever thought about this? Well, if things are resonating with you while you read this, you should probably join the good fight for the good of women everywhere. We will not be silenced and we will not stop. Our mission is not for equality only, but for a state where women can feel safe, respected, and loved because we are amazing creatures worthy of so much more than what society gives us.
15. You look how you want to look
Find yourself evaluating what women are strongly suggested to wear via fashion magazines, billboards, and commercials? Yes, girl, if you are like, what is the deal with all these costumes, exposing our bodies and putting us in strange positions, you are probably a baby feminist, but one nonetheless. However a woman wants to dress is her prerogative, yet, an ideal has been set by the fashion industry. There are skinny jeans and 6-inch heels and waist cinchers and underwire bras; that stuff is cute, sure, but it’s not mandatory nor should a woman who doesn’t wear that über feminine look be made to feel any less female. We’re even told how to do our hair and makeup and it all boils down to the industry; they are making a huge profit off our insecurities, ladies. They have formulated their marketing strategy to attack you and make you feel less than you are; and if you buy what they are offering things will be much better. If you are nodding your head and screaming, Yes, girl –you get it. On the other hand, just because a woman wears makeup or follows trends does not make her anti-feminist; there are many shades of feminism.
14. You don’t agree with Beauty standards
Ever wonder why there’s a certain standard that’s in style and it changes from generation to generation? Ever wonder why you can’t seem to catch up or even keep up with all the shifting that occurs in the beauty world? You follow and that’s just what they want, you to follow, but never reach what you’re chasing. Beauty standards do change frequently, but one thing that’s stayed constant is the coveted European standard. This is a technique used against all women who don’t quite fit that European beauty; if you have felt this before you’re not alone. Something else, equally as clever that stems straight from the powers that be, is the appropriation of certain beauty qualities stolen from non-white women. Case in point, a black woman with big lips or butt is seen as vulgar whereas a white woman who imitates or buys those features is seen as beautiful; the same for afro hair that has been seen as untamed and dirty, yet of late has been adopted by the white population.
13. You own your body
Regardless of what you wear, do feel like there’s always some man somewhere telling you something about your outfit? Dads are like, Can you put those things (he’s referring to boobs here) away? Brothers are like, Can you wear something decent? Boyfriends are like, Why do you have to show all that skin? or It would be nice if you wore something sexy for once. First of all, why are they forever convinced that their voices matter when it comes to what we wear? Second of all, we wear what we want. Third of all, what we wear has nothing to do with rape but rather rape has everything to do with a poorly trained boy who doesn’t know how to control his desires or value the world or value the female body. Our bodies are ogled, too. We’re cat called and attacked and made a spectacle. If we wear something tight, we’re a slut and if not, a prude. We’re told about size and sizing and made to feel guilty or sad or even suicidal. Do you see what’s happening here? Men forever trying to confuse us and make us feel bad about ourselves. When you realize that, you realize more layers of feminism and realize the work we have ahead of us.
12. You keep it Au natural
If you rock your hair natural af then you might be a feminist. This is not a true sign, but it could be the sign of someone who’s surely interested in the movement. Wearing your hair natural means you’ve rejected the ways in which society tells you to wear your hair. Of course, changing hair color is just a form of expression and doesn’t really relate much to the male gaze; unless you feel like it does and then it does. Au natural doesn’t just speak for the hair on your head, girl, but all body hair. If you are letting it grow out and feeling a freedom you never felt before, then you are probably, at the very least, a cousin to feminism. Many women who are into organic, vegan, hippie living prefer to don their hair as natural as the universe gave it to them; but that doesn’t mean other women who don’t identify with those titles aren’t feeling the same way about their amazing locks and tendrils. Hair is expression and by rejecting social standards of what we should do with our hair, we’re reclaiming our natural state and that is very feminist of us.
11. You care about education
Have you thought about your position in the classroom? Are you left to feel like your voice doesn’t matter or you can’t occupy as much space as you’d like? Do you tend to let the guys speak, especially in classes like math and science? You’re not alone. For centuries we’ve been denied education and then we we were gifted it, we were told that we were inadequate and lesser in comparison to our male counterparts; but we’ve seen time and time again that girls exceed boys in many subjects, even those which have been predominately male-centered. If your experience didn’t get you fuming, then what about the future classroom for your niece or your own child? Are you worried about that classroom and how she will be able to participate in noticeable and successful ways? Yep, we are too, girl. So welcome to the front door of feminism. Now we need the password –just kidding, come on in, dearest.
10. You support women in their chosen Careers
Related to our experiences in the classroom, society tells us what careers we should have; and by society I mean the male-dominated society who steadily try to maintain their positions, thus tell us what to do because deep down they are threatened by our power and magical multi-tasking abilities. We’re told that we excel in the domestic realm; we’re best at being mothers or cooks or cleaners or seamstresses or nannies. We’re pushed into the home and held down there. We’re told that we’re too emotional to have a high-power, top-level position. We’re shoved into low paying careers and not given the chance to shine. Women are really bada$$ and men know this. They know they could not carry a living thing inside their bodies, give birth to it, then tend to the house in all aspects, and hold down a full-time job. Only women can do that. So why are we told we can’t do certain things when clearly we can do everything. If you have thought this several times on your commute to work, girl, good work. Happy to have you on the team.
9. You want equal pay
It starts in the classroom and continues into our careers and even touches our salary. You wonder why your colleague makes more than you when y’all do the same mf-ing job? You see that same colleague in line for a promotion while you are told you’re doing just fine where you are at that level? Girl, have you seen the favoritism and sensed the unfair comradery that exists between your male co-workers? Yep, that’s called misogyny. Men love to hate us because they fear us. And with good reason. It’s proven that we can be successful at any task and we have been known to learn things quickly; don’t let all those bogus studies that show men’s brains as superior, because while they are larger, it doesn’t mean a large brain equals a smart brain –their bodies are bigger and require a bigger brain for optimal neuron firing. So why do they get bigger salaries? Just because they’re men? Just because they’re not women. Yep, basically. Pretty cruel, right. Come fight the good fight, darling.
8. Marriage isn’t everything to you
Without a man, you’re less of a woman. True or false? Be careful how you answer, it’s the difference not just between a normal girl and a feminist, but it’s also the difference between staying where we are or progression. Marriage can be great, sure, as long as the husband doesn’t convince his wife that she’s second to him, that she must serve him, that she must bow to him. There are those marriages, they still exist; they are common in many religious homes. Perhaps you know, perhaps you’ve come from one of those homes and you were always frustrated with how your father treated your mother. Hey little feminist, you were realizing things even back then, during your formative years, about how marriage can destroy a woman if she marries the wrong man or for the wrong reasons. The idea that we are not worthy until we are claimed by a man is laughable, just another way they try to keep us down. Don’t they know we’re magic?
7. You don’t feel obliged to have babies
So first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. Does that nursey rhyme scare you? Does it leave you feeling like you want more from life? Yep, us, too. For many women around the globe, this is the trajectory of their lives. This is all they can hope for. And women in both first and third world countries are manipulated into thinking that having a baby is a woman’s obligation. This is erroneous. There are many women who are successful, married or unmarried, and who don’t have children. So should we take away her female title because she doesn’t have a baby? And what about all the pressure that comes from society for women to have babies. We are so much more than baby-making machines. Do you see that? Have you felt that before? Does the thought of a baby scare you, yet you feel you must because of parents or religion. Girl, all that stuff is constructed to keep us from achieving what we really want. Break free, my little chick-a-dee.
6. You don’t agree with the Capitalist agenda
It’s all capitalism. And it’s always capitalism. Why are women more prone to shopping than men? Capitalism. Why is there such a thing as retail therapy and it’s geared specifically towards women? Capitalism. Why do fashions change from season to season? Capitalism. We are targeted, ladies, and big time. We are told to buy certain products that will make our lives better, make us happier, make us skinnier, make us more beautiful, and essentially turn us into the money hungry and fast spending robots they want us to be. We are their products and as we buy from them we lose our own identities and that which makes us truly happy. It’s hard to accept, but if you’ve noticed certain things about marketing and felt it’s all too much, that all your time, energy, and money is motivated by the purchase, you’ve done a good job observing and you are well on your way to being a real feminist fighter.
5. You refuse to be a victim of the Male gaze
Not only are we told what to say, what to wear, and how to act –we’re told all this by men. Some women, too, have jumped on the bandwagon and joined forces with the chauvinist pigs and say that a woman should be like this and like that. Wake up, a woman is like how she wants to be –and that’s that. In many cultures, a woman is determined by how a man perceives her or how the male gaze dominates and persuades her to be. The male gaze is what drives us to buy and wear certain things, it controls how we act and project our personalities, and it even influences how we live our lives. The male gaze has got us doing things that are not natural for us. It sucks big time. It sucks to realize that all we do is somehow tied up in what men want us to be, they are, ultimately, supervising us from a little control station. We are all victims of this until we wake up and gaze at ourselves in the mirror for the very first time and realize we are something beyond social constrains and concepts.
4. You’re inclusive of all women
Feminism is much broader than just women, it also includes queer and transwomen. They are women, too, don’t you get it twisted, ma’am. We’re so worried about vaginas and whatnot that we forget that being a woman is an energy. Womanhood is so much more than a vagina although that can surely mean woman to some. We are so beyond such binary terms and we are so much more encompassing than thinking that a woman must be born one to be one. That’s silly. And we can change at any time we want, there is no rule and no one gets to make that judgement except the person going through whatever transition she so desires. If you agree, if you think that society’s definition of woman is antiquated and leaves other females and femmes out of the conversation, then you’d be absolutely right. The more the merrier, come on boos.
3. You support WOC
There seems to be a real divine in feminism and that’s been feminism for white women and then real feminism. If feminism does not include WOC then it should go by a different name; perhaps, colonizer feminism or we-only-care-about-our-own feminism. Women of all backgrounds, socio-economic status, colors, stages, and sizes must be included in the fight if we’re to fight the fight right. Are women of color not women, too? Just as queer and transwomen are women, so are women of color. There is no discussion here. That is the rule. If you don’t abide by this rule you can take your little fake a$$ feminism elsewhere and do whatever it is you do, but if you realize that feminism is an all-encompassing term related to women of all different sorts, then you’re on your way to being a good feminist today. That racist feminist crap is just that –crap.
2. You’re against Misogyny
Do you know what the word misogyny means? You’re one step closer to being a real feminist. But that’s not the only indicator that you are one or that you’ll be a good one. Are you ready to fight against a system that, by nature, hates us? Are you ready to battle the forces that be in order to give future females a chance, a real fighting chance at equality? Do you laugh when men say we’re not equal and that men are superior beings? Yep, we do, too because that is the garbage and the propaganda they try to sell us, and have been trying to sell us, but some of us aren’t buying it anymore. We’re not buying it because we have our own version of things that supports women, we’re not buying it because we have better things to do with our money like help each other, and we’re not buying it because men already have all the money anyways and we’re saving for a rainy day.
1. You understand a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body
This is a tricky one. Sex work can be for and against women. If you can recognize that, you’re well deep into feminism, so congratulations. Women have been using their bodies to earn money for a very long time; a women earning he own money outside of the home or despite male rules is a form of feminism. A woman accepting her body and doing with it what she wishes, as long as she’s safe and comfortable, is a form of feminism; it doesn’t matter if it’s porn or stripping, the point is that it’s the woman’s choice. However, there are situations, locally and globally, where women are forced or coerced into sex work and this is anti-feminism, hence the various support groups and foundations that fight to free women from such chains. Remember, sex work is not degrading if the woman feels empowered and she honestly understands why she’s doing it; and in the processes she uses the male gaze for her benefit and does something powerful with herself, her money, and her life. We cannot judge what women do with their bodies and that is a key factor behind the beauty of feminism.