Cooking, cleaning and taking care of the family wearing pearls and heels: this has been the image of ideal women in the past. Women who have led uproars over suffrage, equal rights in the workplace and control over their bodies have been considered ludicrous. We’ve progressed from there. The distinction between ridiculous and reality is the greatest today it’s ever been, and we’ve moved far beyond last generation’s static stay-at-home image. But Feminism isn’t always understood, and it needs to be. It’s crucial the uproar continues. So let’s hear some of us roar.
Samantha Slomin, Berklee College of Music student, says, “…feminism is about equality. It is about putting women on equal footing as their male counterparts, as well as remembering there are differences between men and women, just like there are differences between all different people. It is also about giving women control of their own actions and bodies.”
Sally Profeta, student at St. John’s University Law School, says, “I believe that feminism should be defined as an ideology that supports raising the status of females to equal males. A feminist, in my book, is someone who believes that females should not be limited to the scope of stereotypical feminine roles. But, I say ‘should not be limited’ consciously to mean that I don’t believe women are effeminate if they don’t choose to transcend those roles.”
Profeta continued, “Feminism has grown into a very powerful movement with a lot of chest beating. It used to be that only little boys would be told to imagine their future as a journey with infinite destinations. Now little girls are increasingly being brought up on the same principle. I was brought up on that principle, and now I’m in law school. As it turns out, 49% of my entering class are women too. It took a long time for women to really make a significant entrance into the field, and now we’re here.“
Saskia Talay, a City Year Counselor (AmeriCorps), shares her take on feminism: “I absolutely, wholeheartedly consider myself a capital-f Feminist. I think my generation’s misunderstanding of the term and the movement comes from decades of media and political representatives shying away from and devaluing feminism. Feminism points to and challenges the norms – ideally in a fully intersectional, inclusive, and critical way across gender, race, religion, and sexuality – and this terrifies anyone who benefits from the patriarchal society we live in today.“
Heather Ewer, Western Michigan University student, shares her view on feminism in the music world: “I was told when I was a younger that I couldn’t play the tuba because I was a girl. I’ve learned that your gender has nothing to do with your musical abilities; I even just graduated with a degree in music education. You should just do what makes you happy, and don’t let stereotypes bring you down.“
Steph Speranza of SUNY Geneseo and Disney College Program participant, says, “Feminism is the fight for equality. It encompasses so many facets, including gender, race, class and sexuality.” Along with this viewpoint, Speranza elaborated on women and geek culture. “As a woman who enjoys comic books, super hero movies and video games I am constantly having my knowledge of these things challenged by males that dominate that community. However other men are just nodded at with approval, never having the legitimacy of their interests questioned. Identifying as a feminist helps me fight this ridiculous double standard and find support when I fall victim to the unnecessary scrutiny and patriarchal bashing of female nerds.”
Profeta tied up what feminism means to her, and her message is worth noting: “It’s essential that we don’t simply transform into something akin to a ‘generic female’ just because we think that’s what’s socially acceptable. In reality, that is the mindset that’s bound to hold us back, and that’s not what our feminist foremothers would’ve wanted. Feminism is about each woman having their own unique self-portrait with limitless possibilities and opportunities for growth. With that, one can achieve true existential satisfaction.”