Confessions Of A Gen-Y Feminist: What It Actually Means To Be One

I have been keeping a secret, and it is time I come out with it: I am a feminist.

Phew! There, I said it. That wasn’t so bad, right? Except for every time I mention it to someone I get mad side-eye.

“So you want to like burn your bra or something?” “Oh, you don’t plan on having children?” “You hate all men then, right?”

What? No! I spend enough money on bras at Victoria’s Secret to appreciate them, and children are definitely part of my future. Just because I am pro-woman does not mean I am anti-men, either.

These ideas of feminism that people have today seem to be based off of extremist ideas of the feminists of the 1970s. Hey, guess what? It has been forty years! Opinions, events and people behind the feminist movement have changed.

Generation-Y and the rest of the world seem to have a skewed view on modern feminism. There is definitely a misunderstanding about what it means to be a feminist. I am sure that the definition differs from person to person, but let me explain what feminism means to me.

I do not believe in gender roles.

If boys want to play with barbies, if girls want to collect transformers, if men want to be nurses and if women decide to become firefighters, it is all okay with me. Society has defined what it means to be a woman.

Just because I am a woman does not mean it should be predisposed for me to want to be in the kitchen all day long and clean up after a man and children.

I desire for the self-esteem of women to rise.

The reality of the situation is that the media and Hollywood are constantly defining what it means to be an attractive woman. We have to stop accepting the ideals of beauty that are constantly presented to us, including those about body image.

It is not okay for women and young girls to be told they need a thigh gap in order to be wanted by a man or to be featured in a magazine.

I believe women are just as capable as men.

Women are as intelligent, cunning and as creative as men are. Sure, scientifically speaking, men are genetically set up to be stronger than women. Do I think that means a woman cannot work out and build up her strength to out lift a man? Definitely not.

It is often said that women are better parents than men because of a nurturing instinct. Does that mean a man cannot work to be as nurturing or as excellent of a parent as a woman? Definitely not. (I was raised by a single dad, in fact!)

I want equal opportunity and equal pay for women.

The pay gap between the sexes still exists. Men are still dominating corporate and CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies. None of this is okay with me. If I have a daughter, I want her to have the opportunity to grow up and become the president of any company or even our country if she so wishes.

The theme of my feminist ideology is that I am for a balance of the sexes. What I need to point out about all of those beliefs about equality for women is that I also want that for everyone else.

There is still a pay gap between races, still discrimination against hiring anyone in the LBGT community, still lack of representation of so many in the media and still a glass ceiling built of hate for anyone outside of the status quo.

As a feminist, I am not just pro-woman; I am pro-everyone. Those concepts I listed of equality for women are fundamental for all those living in the world. Inequality for anyone is injustice for all.

Attempting to keep those who are different from you separated or suppressed only confines society as whole, hampering us all from reaching our true potential.

Being a feminist today is not just simply about throwing off the proverbial chains of sexism. Modern feminism means supporting women, men and transgender, no matter the color of their skin or who they choose to love, and tearing down the walls of injustice and inequality.

To me, being a feminist just means being a decent human being.

Photo via We Heart It