When I left my high school bubble for an even bigger one at college, I met so many people with diverse personalities and backgrounds. Becoming close to different types of people helped me feel comfortable in letting go of my perception of what I thought I should be like- and I began to just let myself be…. well, whoever I felt like being that year. Throughout my experiences and studies in college, I really began to take pride in considering myself a feminist – aka someone who advocates for women’s rights in order to attain equality between sexes.
Don’t get it twisted: Feminism is not about woman taking over the world and forcing guys to go through all the shit we’ve been through. Being a feminist does not mean I’m going to start “grabbing guys by the balls” or refer to men as whores if they have sex, or start a magazine company where all guys are objectified. To me, feminism is just about giving BOTH sexes the opportunity to become whoever the hell they want, because they won’t be tied to ideas of what each gender should be like.
Technically, even in 2017 you can become whoever you want. Females can be engineers, they can also be a stay at home parent. Same with men. But the way society is constructed makes it more difficult for females and males to enter certain occupations and earn equal wages. People still hold implicit biases of what a man or woman should be like, and where each sex belongs in the world.
I could go on an on about how women are typically paid less for doing the same amount of work as men, or how women are constantly objectified in the media and then slut-shamed, or how sexual assault, harassment, and rape are all too common, even among women in positions of power. I could also go on and on about how, from a young age, men are encouraged not to express their emotions, but are encouraged to sleep around in order to prove their “manliness”. They are pressured to be the “breadwinners” of the family, to embody strength. Even though we’re all human and we’re all going to feel weak at some point, men aren’t encouraged to share their weaknesses- they’re often raised to hide them.
But you have the news for all that depressing stuff. This post is to offer resources for people, specifically women, to stay empowered through all the Harvey Weinstein scandals.
Sometimes it can be disheartening, and feel like fighting for equality is a losing battle. But pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and realize there are so many bad ass women out there who are speaking up, standing out, and not backing down. Here are my favorite resources when I need motivation to wear the feminist label loud and proud:
1.My Life on the Road, Gloria Steinem
Whenever I feel discouraged about a situation, I read a quote or interview from Gloria Steinem – I’m not kidding. She inspires me to the point where just thinking about her and everything she’s accomplished makes me hopeful inside. In the beginning of her career, Gloria Steinem was a freelance writer so she’s spent many years mastering the art of writing. As Steinem points out in the beginning of her book, many adventure stories are reserved for males in the lead role. Traveling alone as a female is often depicted as dangerous, but Steinem once again forges her own path, shares her tales of travel, and encourages everyone to do the same. I’m only halfway through the book, but it’s an incredible read from a remarkable human being.
2. Rich Bitch, Nicole Lapin
The world of finance and business news is largely dominated by men. Nicole Lapin reclaims the word “Bitch”, tailors her brand to females, and teaches her readers how to take charge of their finances in 12 steps. Even though I advocate against materialistic culture and becoming money-obsessed, the truth is that taking charge of your money, whether you have a lot or a little, is important no matter what your dreams are. Whether you want to donate your money, buy an old VW van, or go on a first-class trip around the world, the first step in making your dreams come true is knowing how to handle what you have.
3. In the Company of Women, Grace Bonney
This is a great book to flip through before work or a big project, or simply while relaxing, sipping coffee or tea (or wine). The photography is stunning and every interview is inspiring. Seriously. Women of all ages, looks, occupations, and backgrounds are featured in this book, and there is something unique yet relatable in each of them. They are go-getters, they are complex, and they are women in every sense of the word.
Ellevest is an investing platform tailored to women. As stated on their website, “86% of Investment Advisors Are Men, With an Average Age of 50+”. Since a woman’s salary and lifespan is typically different than a man’s, it could prove useful for a woman to get investment advice from a program who will take those facts into account when advising. Even if you don’t invest your money with Ellevest, I highly recommend signing up for their email list, as they feature various women in positions of power sharing stories and business advice.
Lenny Letter, Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner
The Lenny Letter is a collaboration between Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner to feature interviews from women all over the world and in various job occupations, in order to bring awareness to issues women face. Various celebrities, artists, and business leaders have all done interviews for this blog. Bottom line: it’s a great community to make you realize you’re not fighting for equality alone, and you’re not the only one experiencing certain struggles. I love reading Lenny Letter’s posts during my lunch break at work – it’s a good pick-me-up 🙂
Miss Representation, Jennifer Siebel Newsom
Miss Representation is a documentary about how women are portrayed in the media and how that portrayal affects public perception of them as a gender. Actors, directors, and writers in the industry are all featured, along with other inspiring women. After watching it, everything seemed to click in my head that made me understand why I cared so much about appearance, why I was so body conscious that I didn’t want to eat in the 6th grade, why I viewed other girls certain ways, etc. etc. It’s an important documentary for both sexes to watch in order to better understand how society has fed into your ideas of self worth and worldview. After watching it, I felt more at peace in my own skin, and more motivated than ever to continue to promote self love. I believe it’s still on Netflix.
Every person should have the right to feel comfortable in his or her own skin & mind. Don’t conform to what the world wants you to be- figure out who you want to be and then go for it, regardless of your age, race, gender, etc.
Bottom line: You do you. Go on with your bad self. As long as you’re not hurting anybody along the way, I support you 🙂