I’m currently taking Women Writers of Color for my Fall semester. After a few classes of voting on authors and films to watch, we were finally able to really delve into the first lesson of the class, which was all on the F-word. Feminism.
At that moment, I suddenly felt very small. After hearing the F-word, I started to withdrawal. Oh no, they found me. It was only a matter of time. Why on earth did I pick the most obvious environment for the Feminists to find me? I’ll bet they’ll kidnap me and take away my make-up, razors, and bras!
Feminism was something I looked down upon. I didn’t agree with the mentality of a backwards The Little Rascal’s “she-woman, man-haters club.” Who wants to be part of a group of women who live to find ways to complain about their sexual disadvantages? Why would I join in on a riot of hormonal women when I have enough hormones as it is on my own? And good God, if Sarah Palin identifies herself with the word “feminism” I sure as hell never will!
But then my professor started to speak. And she addressed the very thoughts that flooded my mind just before. We associate the F-word with a negative connotation because we are only looking at the tip of the iceberg that is exposed to the common-knowledge person, which seems to only be the extreme version of feminism. And just as extremes are with anything, it always seems to just be extremely scary. However, after slides and slides of different types of feminism, a new ray of light shined.
After that, feminism quickly and dramatically transformed like a flower blooming in fast forward. My misinterpreted definition of the F-word was given new eyes that could see and a new heart that could understand. Feminism isn’t just “butch” women hating men. It isn’t hormonal riots in the streets. And it certainly isn’t lead by Sara Palin (bummer). Feminism speaks of many beautiful concepts: women’s movement to be free of societal expectations, equality among one another not just against men, and many other unifying elements that aren’t often heard. And not only does it speak on the exploration of being a woman in this world but, simply put, it just speaks.
Growing up into the (almost) woman that I am today, it’s hard to find other women to unite with on topics that challenge who we are and the way the world sees us. It is imperative that we know we are not alone and that while we can embrace our differences, we can also embrace one another through our similarities of being human; which is to dream, to love, to cry, to fight, to struggle, to live.
Feminism is not just a text-book definition but a source of language that sparks from women’s experiences and the courage to strip them down to a vulnerable nakedness and speak on their behalf. It takes all of our individual self-diagnosis of ‘crazy’ and turns them into a whirlwind of women connection and inspirational catharsis that lifts us into the air like leaves and allows us to float down comfortably like feathers.
I realize proclaiming to the world that ‘I am an F-word’ might be a little profound and obtuse but perhaps if more women and even men were to listen past the deafening ‘stereo’ in the word “stereotype”, then maybe we’d find a bit of the F-word in all of us.