The Harbinger Online

Staffers Remains Feminine While Supporting Feminism

Let me preface this column by saying that yes, I am a feminist and no, I (regrettably) don’t own any pantsuits. My hair is growing past my shoulders and my nails are painted a nude pink.  I own 16 different lipsticks, lip glosses and lip products: Maybelline, Covergirl and Revlon.Yes, I am a feminist. And like most other feminists, I’m not a stereotype.I didn’t know what a feminist was until I was about 12. My entire life I’d been surrounded by strong female figures: my mom, my two grandmothers and Ellen Degeneres. But never once was I told what a feminist was. No one needed to tell me; I grew up with the mindset that men and women were fundamentally equal to each other, and that was that.As a little girl, I was totally unaware of the inequality faced by women. Like a lot of girls my age, I played with Barbie dolls incessantly and had “Beauty and the Beast” practically memorized. My obsession with tutus was almost frightening.My femininity even went to the extreme in preschool, when I began the Dress Club, a club where all members were required to wear a dress every single day. Boys were even allowed to join, if they followed the Club’s single rule. If one of the Club’s members showed up wearing pants, they were rightfully kicked out. Of course, no boys ever joined the Dress Club. But under my tulle- and ruffle-heavy regime, boys and girls were equal.

The Dress Club was eventually disbanded by several preschool teachers for being too exclusive, no matter how much I wanted to argue that technically, boys were allowed. The Dress Club incident was to become the first example of the clash between my feminism and femininity.

There was never a specific moment when I realized just how ignorant I was to sexism. What little bits I did learn, I mostly learned through the media and overheard conversations.

Flipping through the TV channels to try and find a rerun of “Gilmore Girls,” I would catch a tidbit of Rush Limbaugh saying that feminism “was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.” After considering my own personal appearance for a few moments, I would keep switching channels. Or I would be sitting at the dinner table listening to my grandparents talk about women in the senate, hearing what they were saying but not really absorbing what it meant.

When I was confronted with the idea of sexism and gender inequality, I would simply shrug it off. Feminism just didn’t get me.

The first time I realized I cared about feminism was at a Cody Simpson concert back in December. Now you might ask yourself, what’s a bitingly sarcastic, pop-hating teenager doing at a concert for a pseudo-Justin Bieber? I was dragged there by a friend.

Choking on the smell of bubblegum perfume and partially blinded by a malfunctioning fog machine, I was in the middle of a sea of little girls. I could imagine no worse hell. When Cody’s opening act, the Galaxy Girls, stormed the stage with their booty shorts and spray tans, I knew it would be a long night.

My boredom slowly evolved into anger as I watched the Galaxy Girls grinding on each other and sexualizing themselves in front of little girls. My groans turned into angry huffs everytime the DJ asked the crowd, “Do you think you’re sexy?” I would have stormed out if the walk home wasn’t an hour and a half. It was the first time I’d seen women being objectified in person; and for the first time, I was furious.

Now I haven’t exactly become Gloria Steinem since then. But feminism has a whole new meaning to me. Feminism isn’t just a boring dinner table conversation or an essay topic. It’s important for people everywhere, not just for an average teenager but for little girls who will grow up in a world where women like the Galaxy Girls are viewed as objects.

Today, feminism is a dirty word. Mention it once and people will go running– men and women alike. Feminists are typically stereotyped as being straightlaced, hippie lesbians. But no matter what Rush Limbaugh says, anyone can be a feminist.

I don’t own a pantsuit. I like to eat pastel-colored pastries and watch “Switched at Birth” in my free time. But so what? None of that makes me any less of a feminist than Hillary Clinton or any of those other “unattractive women” slamming up against the glass ceiling.

So take that, Limbaugh.

Feminism is new to me. The leader of the Dress Club has grown up and found interests other than Barbies and Polly Pockets. And in less than four years you’ll find me at an election party, ecstatically sporting a Hillary Clinton ‘16 button on top of a lace blazer. I’ll be nibbling a macaron and brushing crumbs off of my skirt, knowing that the world is changing for women. And it’s changing for the better.

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