Why Women Should Remember Kate Chopin During Women's History Month

by Alicia Napierkowski

In honor of Women's History Month, it's important to remember the woman who opened a new realm of possibility for women everywhere: Kate Chopin.

For those of you who aren't familiar, Kate Chopin introduced the foreign notion in 20th century that women are human beings who have desires, rights, needs, emotions, sexualities and personalities.

Chopin wrote about sexuality, self-exploration, emotions and retaliation against conformity – all of which were considered entirely taboo and inappropriate, especially for a woman.

Many people slandered Chopin for her (what were considered to be) outlandish topics, but her bravery is even more reason to commend her. She wrote about adultery, sex, lesbianism, feminism, exploration and finding identity in a period when women were not permitted to have them.

Seriously, articles that made it to press were centered on how to be a good housewife, with step-by-step guides and an utter lack of regard for these very real women, with more than surface-level concerns. This makes it even more valuable for women to hold Chopin in high regard.

She broke through an oppressive stereotype by inspiring women to find their voices and use them through her manner, which was devoid of inhibition and featured in highly-regarded publications (of course, she still faced much criticism).

Fast-forward to 2015, and women are still facing inequalities. We face subjectivity for being female. We face disregard, pay gaps, rape culture and reprimand for identifying ourselves as feminists.

This needs to change, and luckily, we are in a time period of being able to make this happen.

One by one, we can form and join communities of similarly-minded human beings who are after the same changes. As we come together with inspiration, new ideas and invigoration, we can break through inaccurate perceptions, starting with our thoughts, ideas and words.

We can make and embrace our own styles. We are surrounded by opportunity to bring awareness to not only social inequalities but also educational inequalities, financial inequalities and economic inequalities women face globally.

Joining a community of feminist bloggers has been the best decision I have ever made, especially since my "feminist coming-out." I realize there is an astounding community of women who lead and change the world every day by acting on their ideas, thoughts and creations.

They are changing the world. I am changing the world and you can, too. I am constantly in awe and influenced by their bravery.

We are all given a voice, and when we use it to identify with our passions, we will always be heard. Even if it starts out shaky, there will be someone who listens.

That's how we become stronger -- by small murmurs that become screams; words on napkins that become novels; people who want better, bigger and more because they know they deserve recognition for being themselves.

By doing something that makes our hearts race and our fingers quiver, but fully giving ourselves to the experience and owning it, we can find ourselves and discover our capabilities.

This is an ode to you, Kate Chopin. Thank you, on behalf of women everywhere, for your fearless, artistic expression and feminist force, which made it possible for women to write honestly, openly and courageously.

Thank you for showing us our voices can make a difference, even if they seem taboo in comparison to culture or societal norms, and for uniting those who dare to change the world and encouraging us to start within ourselves.

Being a woman is not a condemnation, and if I can inspire one person or open up a new perspective for someone who misunderstood the meaning of feminism, I know I'll have expressed myself honestly.

And, that is how we can begin to change the world.