Growing up being raised by my mother and grandmother, I realized early on I had an interest in bringing attention to real challenges facing women. But as a young girl, I had no idea what feminism was. I didn't grow up in a family where the bond between men and women were strong in terms of relationships. Also, my father was has never been a part of my life, but his non-presence motivated me to get an education and be who I am today.
When I began studying at Towson University, I felt inspired to utilize the resources that were available, which encouraged me to make a difference. I became heavily involved in the Feminist Collective and the Women’s Resources Program on campus and it helped me to better understand women’s rights, racial justice, human rights, sexism and patriarchy. I did however notice that not all female students had called themselves feminists and from talking with a lot of them, it was mainly because of the misconceptions.
Ultimately I realized that a lot of Generation Y women shared the same beliefs as I did, but were still afraid to call themselves the "F" word. Being aware of this was okay because it proved that it's just one of those things that still needs work. In case you were wondering, here are five reasons why millennials should be proud to be feminists.
1. We define it for ourselves
There used to be a time when white feminists fought to have their voices heard in the workplace, while women of color were fighting just to be treated as human. First wave feminism is relevant, but does not relate to our generation today, and because times have changed, we can now define it for ourselves. Women of color are not afraid to speak out and even though we still have our differences in what matters to us, we know feminism has a place for everyone.
2. Together we are a social force
Overtime feminism made us sisters. Individually we are impotent females, but together we are a social force. We are advocates and we will stop at nothing to keep going. We have come a long way, but we know there is still a lot of work to be done. There are millions of women who are still struggling to earn a living wage, gain access to basic health care, and secure affordable child care. The list goes on and on, but that is why we are still going strong.
3. We call ourselves what we want with pride and purpose
As millennial feminists we are also advocates, justice seekers, womanists, and humanists. We are proud of who we are and are not afraid to say it. We know that our names and allies define who we are and we live by it every step of the way. No longer are we standing behind sexist name-calling, racial slurs, and stereotypes. We've made it pretty clear that we don't need approval for who or what we want to be called. You can leave that to us.
4. Independence is much appreciated
While we welcome acts of kindness, we still do enjoy and really appreciate being in a position of power and providing for ourselves. Whether it's taking care of the kids, earning your own money, mowing the lawn or even wanting to be single, it's all being independent in the way YOU want to be. We've come a long way since the 70s and we'd like to keep it that way. Besides, this country was built on independence and we would for everyone to experience that.
5. We determine who our role models are
Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Betty Friedan, Audre Lorde, Bell Hooks, and Jean Kilbourne are only a few names of our foremothers who worked hard at defending equal political, economic and social rights for women. Now millennials are looking up to feminists such as Eva Longoria, Lady Gaga, Gabrielle Union, Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey, and Beyonce. Whether it be a celebrity, politician or family member, millennials are looking up to who they want, when they want.