The F Word: Feminism

Being a feminist is hard. Let’s face it. When looking at the drastic underrepresentation of women in leadership positions, the gender wage gap, the continual misrepresentation of women in the media, constant legislative attacks on women’s health and reproductive freedoms, and even the fact that most people still shun and misunderstand what the word feminism even means. The list goes on and on.

Photo from  Ms. Foundation

Photo from Ms. Foundation

Yeah, being a modern day feminist has not been the easiest thing in the world. It is a constant uphill battle, with thorns, giant boulders, and lots of dirt.

It all becomes very easy to focus on the negatives. And sometimes I myself wonder, even in just the context of the United States, if we are moving forward at all in terms of the women’s movement, or if in fact, we are actually taking steps backwards.

So, sometimes, I like to sit down and remind myself of the successes. As a feminist, it’s crucial to maintain your energy for all the hard battles we have yet to tackle.

And so I wanted to use this post to highlight some of those successes with you all today:

  1. Men are feminists too. They really are. Not only are men starting to recognize and commend all of the work that women have been doing surrounding gender equality (you’re welcome), they are really stepping up to the plate and making the change. Here is an example of such a man who highlights some very important issues that both men and women need to hear. Seriously, watch the video. You won’t regret it. It’ll give you the feminist pick-me-up you so desperately need.

  2. The millennial generation is ready to Take The Lead. Caitlin M. O’Donnell, a Drake University college student wrote a blog entitled “Why Society Needs Feminism,” and it is one of the most incredible, fem-tastic, inspiring blog posts I have ever read. Ever. My personal favorite is that we still need feminism: “Because it’s assumed that if you are nice to a girl, she owes you sex – therefore, if she turns you down, she’s a bitch who’s put you in the ‘friend zone.’ Sorry, bro, women are not machines you can put kindness coins into until sex falls out.” Young women are not giving up. They see what’s wrong with the world and they are highlighting it, campaigning on their campuses, and are the ones at the forefronts of online advocacy. You go girls!

  3. We are reframing how we treat our daughters. I am seeing more and more stories and articles about how individuals are changing the way they treat girls so that they can grow up into strong independent women. In this particular case, the conversation this woman had with a little girl avoided the “princess talk” and instead engaged in a conversation about her mind. Novel concept, I know.

  4. Women politicians rule. The fact that I can honestly say I do not know which woman to highlight right now, says it all. I have been blown away by the strength and sheer audacity of our female political leaders that it has given me hope that women will take their equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. It is in part our female politicians who are making that a true reality. So to all of them – no matter if they sit on city council or in the U.S. Senate – I want to say thank you.

A final word of advice to all you feminists out there, remember that small victories are never really small. They have a lot deeper meanings and you never know how far they will go and how much of a societal impact they will make. And no matter how hard it gets to be a feminist (trust me, I know) always be sure to remember the positives.

About the Author

Kaitlin Rattigan is a recent graduate with an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution with a concentration in Gender and Peacebuilding. She is a firm believer in social media as an effective and meaningful tool to promote positive societal change. Never underestimate the power of 140 characters. Kaitlin is a voice for the Millennials, a constructive disruptionist, an advocate for women’s leadership, and is a believer in challenging and expanding the definitions of what it means to be a feminist. For gender-analytical fem-tastic commentary on current events, follow Kaitlin @KaitlinRattigan. Do you have an issue you want highlighted on The Movement Blog? Is there an area within women’s leadership that you feel passionate about and want to share with a wide audience? Feel free to send Kaitlin a DM or Tweet to @KaitlinRattigan with the hashtag #Women2025 and let’s keep the conversation going and work together to propel women into their equal share of leadership positions by 2025.