As a society, we seem to have this idea that feminists, or let me rephrase this—“real feminists”—have to reject all social constructs of feminine beauty. By this I mostly mean that any good feminist shouldn’t wear makeup, or trendy clothes or be bothered to shave.
But the concept that a woman has to look, dress, act a certain way in order to be a feminist is preposterous. It’s an ideology, not a fashion statement (though, if you choose to protest through fashion, more power to you).
The word “feminist” has a rotten taste when coming out of too many people’s mouths. Really it just means equality—a word every one seems to be much more comfortable with. Recent forms of feminism are often described as overly abrasive, and more vocal feminists are referred to as “femi-nazis.” Although I don’t agree with all the ideologies that some do, that doesn’t mean I’m not a feminist.
I like to wear dresses and heels. I like to do my hair and makeup. I like it when boys hold doors open for me and pull out my chair. Does this make me any less of a feminist? Of course not, and for anyone to try and question my desire for equality based on these facts is hurting the cause not helping it. I want equality but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be treated respectfully in a more traditional way; in much the same capacity, I will always hold the door open for an elderly person or someone with a child among others.
Although the simple fact that everyone isn’t on board with feminism can be discouraging if not honestly astounding, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be open with people. The only cure for ignorance is education, and I believe that it’s the solution. Be patient with people and be kind. Tell people what you think and support it with an array of evidence—trust me, there’s plenty. We need men to be on board with us. Unfortunately, we can’t just make them the enemy, although that would be much easier. Kindness will get you a lot further on a day-to-day basis. That being said, yell when you have to or when you want to, because you can, because you’re entitled to, because when you yell you’re being rude and when a man yells he’s being assertive.
So, what does a feminist look like? Does she look like me? Do they look like you? Does he look like Mark Ruffalo? Does she look like Ellen Degeneres or Malala Yousafzai or Emma Watson? Is he/she quiet or loud? Big or small?
In short, a feminist looks like whatever the hell they want to.