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The beat of roaring feminism

Submitted by Sarah DeClerk on February 28, 2013 – 12:21 pmNo Comment

A declaration: I am a feminist. I believe in equal rights for women. I believe that women are people, not sex objects. These beliefs are not objectionable, yet, in my society, I am challenged.

One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, the Domestic Violence Resource Center said. One in three girls will be sexually abused during her childhood, Stop it Now said.

These statistics disturb me. The number of women who have told me about how they were sexually abused disturbs me. Their stories remind me that I am lucky to have reached the age of 22 without the scars of perversion and violence.

These women must carry on their lives with the memory of their degradation. It is a question of survival. Will they rise, like Maya Angelou, and become phenomenal women? Or will their pain show itself in the gun that they point, not toward their attackers, but at their own heads?

Damage is done with every holler from across the parking lot. The whole feminist community feels every attack. Every catcall or jeer stings us. Every derogatory joke pulls us back in time. Every snide remark about feminism strengthens my resolve.

From across the world, I hear about gang rape and honor killings. I hear about women living under the blade of their husbands and fathers. I remind myself that I am lucky to live in America.

That is, until I hear journalists ask successful businesswomen how they satisfy their husbands. I hear the media comment on the aging of Hillary Clinton’s face. I read about sexual trafficking in our country.

I see the youth worshiping airbrushed beauties in magazines that tell their readers that beauty comes from within. Covertly, however, their advertisements say that beauty comes from robot-like perfection. These false images of femininity weaken our resolve from within and crush our self-hood.

Sometimes, I hear encouraging news. I hear about free childcare, longer maternity leave and wider access to birth control. Each stride forward reminds me of the distance yet to be covered. So much remains to be accomplished.

And it will be. Feminists today have more resources than ever before. We have the experience of our predecessors for guidance. We have female representatives in politics and business who can shatter our society’s patriarchal structure.

We have male allies, who will transport our message across the gender line. By supporting women, they can put a stop to sexism. They can explain feminism to people who will not listen to women.

Most importantly, we have role models. Anyone can be one; all you have to do is openly support feminism.

Feminism is not a dirty world. It is not outdated. Feminism is sexy, and it is here to stay. The struggle is unending, but women will conquer their oppressors and mold society into one that works for them, one that promotes freedom, equality and peace.

 

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