Feminism… What does that even mean?

It seems like whenever someone says “feminism,” a multitude of false preconceived notions follows. “They want to overthrow men!” “She is trying to force her views onto me.” When in actuality, feminism is just about having the same opportunities that men receive. In my U.S. History class, we traced feminism back to its roots, including women’s suffrage, the first women’s rights convention, and pointed out important black and white females that moved this feminist movement forward into a new light.
Many political figures, such as Elizabeth Stanton and Betty Friedan were powerful feminists and nationally recognized crusaders in this women’s rights movement. Elizabeth Stanton, for example, started this fight for independence from men. Born November 12th 1815, she presented a Declaration of Sentiments, which was a documents inspired by the Declaration of Independence. Throughout her work, with the help of Lucretia Mott, she never once said it was about overthrowing the “man.” She simply wanted to be looked at as an equal, seen as just as important to society as men were.
I thought I’d ask around Baltimore School for the Arts, BSA, about why some of the females there are feminists and what makes them a feminist. Here are some of the responses:

– “For me personally riot grrrl (an aspect of 90s third wave feminism, a series of music, zines, and punk rock sentiment) got me into feminism and particularly the idea that it’s ok/good to be emotional and mad about what is happening to you. Before riot grrrrl, I wasn’t really angry about the state of women’s rights, but I think anger and emotion were, for a long time, something I thought made me weak. But just the sentiment that emotion is rebellion was important to me. It made me feel powerful as a girl and made me start to realize how fucked up the way we treat women is.”

– “I am a feminist because I believe in furthering equality between men, women, everything in between, of all races, sexualities, and socioeconomic statuses. I think I’m a feminist because I firmly believe in and support the goal of advancing equality. For me it’s liberating, and I know I feel more secure in myself knowing that I don’t have to adhere to whatever limitations society has put on women. I don’t have to live in the box they put me in. I can be as slutty or prudish or loud or quiet or opinionated or not as I want to be. Feminism gives me the agency to be the kind of woman I want to be.”

You see, Feminism isn’t about allowing females to be on top of the pyramid. It is about allowing women to be comfortable in their own skin, as well as creating an equal playing field for every one, regardless of gender.