Feminism is as varied as the people are who feminists. If you so wish, find a feminism that works and makes sense for you. It took me a long time to muse over what feminism meant to me. If you subscribe to the ideas and beliefs of equality, you may find yourself asking the question, “How can I be a feminist?”
Feminism can be practiced in a variety of ways. The list below is only scratching the surface; if you think of anything not included on this list, tell me in the comments! (Fair warning, I will delete any trolling commentary.)
And now, the answers to the question: How can someone be a feminist?
- Read feminist literature. Reading about and understanding feminism is the first step to being a feminist. Stay tuned for next week’s #FeminismFriday, which will include a list for further reading.
- Support those who are hurt by the patriarchy. This is literally everyone – men, women, people of color, the LGBT community. Support can be in the form of crafting for charity; donating your time, money, or unused items to LGBT-friendly businesses and women’s shelters; or speaking out against injustices you see in person and social media.
- Unlearn toxic beliefs. Being raised in a patriarchal society is harmful to anyone. Do you harbor biases or prejudices based on gender or race? Do you see yourself actively avoiding the visibly disabled? Do you judge another woman based on what she wears, looks like, or what she chooses to do with her body? Unlearning these toxic patterns of prejudice can better you as a person. I’m still working on this, myself – the patriarchy has been ingrained in all of us since the doctor told our parents our gender. Train yourself to recognize any learned toxic behaviors or thought patterns, and analyze why you think that way. Making an effort to change your way of thinking will eventually evolve your thoughts. And as that old adage says, your thoughts become words, and your words become actions, leading up all the way to your very being.
- Share your thoughts with others. Discussions on feminism help all involved understand what feminism means. Feminism is not the man-hating stereotype, and engaging in discussion about it can shatter the stereotypes.
Keep in mind that, like any other movement and belief system, there are forms of feminism that stretch across the spectrum from casual to extreme. My brand of feminism may not satisfy every feminist in the world, but that wouldn’t happen in any community. Someone can’t please everyone, and this is even true in feminist circles. But if you find a belief system that works for you, no one can take that away.