According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, feminism is “the theory
of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” But the
definition of feminism varies vastly and holds different weights and
forms in the lives of individuals. The theory that sexes ought to be
treated as equal seems neither objectionable nor radical, and yet
many, even self-proclaimed feminists, have struggled with labeling
themselves as such and translating that label into meaningful,
The simple concept that men and women are and should be treated as
equal members of society has found much opposition, and has become the
complex and controversial cornerstone of social movements,
organizations, policy, and employment disputes. Feminists all describe
and act upon their feminism uniquely, and many have had feminist
coming-of-selves that have redefined their outlooks on life and
allowed them to embrace their own brands of feminism. Many can look
back upon specific moments of feminist recognition or challenges that
forced them to embrace feminist perspectives.
I did, and it was within the past few years. What’s perhaps more
interesting is that feminists love to hear other feminists speak about
their feminism, since it differs so widely and from person to person.
My friend wrote about her feminist coming-of-age in an application to
Northwestern University, and promptly received an acceptance letter to
their undergraduate institution. OEP seminar and fellowship leader
Courtney Martin spoke about it in her awesome TED talk, exploring how
her feminism differs from her mother’s and from that of men and women
in past generations. Check it out. Then share- comment about your
feminist coming-of-self, or why you don’t identify as such- and what
that means in your life.
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