As a life-long feminist, I think it's safe to say that we feminists end up having a lot of thoughts that are unique to those of us who dig the ideology. Of course, why anyone wouldn't dig feminism I can't understand, and I'm sure even those who shy away from the term, "feminist" still have some feminist thoughts without realizing it. (Because, honestly, being a feminist is just being a supporter of equality, and I think most people are down with equality.) I mean, I can't read minds, but I'm still certain there are thoughts that every single feminist has had at one point or another.
If you're openly a feminist — or even if you're one of those timid souls who really is a feminist deep down, but feels the need to start conversations about gender equality with phrases like, "I don't consider myself a feminist, but..." — then you know what I'm talking about.
There are still so many corners of our planet where being female is literally dangerous that I don't think feminists can or should try to stop having, and acting on, all their feminist thoughts. Here are 11 thoughts all feminists have had at one point or another.
1. "Please Don't Say What I Think You're About To Say..."
You know what I'm talking about. That moment when you know what's coming, and you really don't want things to get confrontational, but you can't just let some sexist/slut-shaming/racist/homophobic bullsh*t go unchallenged either? It sucks, because I think most feminists would prefer not to have to deal, since things can get really heated really fast. All feminists have had this thought at one time or another, because feminism is really all about equality and social justice, and we know these ideals won't become realities if we're too afraid to speak up for them.
2. "Why Would Anyone Not Be A Feminist?"
I can't wrap my head around this one. Why would anyone not want gender equality? How can you not feel passionate about equal rights for women of all races, sexual orientations, gender identities, and nationalities? How could you not be on board with the decimation of rape culture, closing the wage gap, and allowing both men and women to feel safe enough to step out of their societally-enforced gender roles?
Seriously, I think about this all the time, and I think all other feminists probably do as well. Either you're a feminist and you know it, you're a feminist and you don't know it, or you suck. I'm sorry, but there's no wiggle room here. If someone doesn't support equality for all, then they're a mean person, and why would anyone want to be a mean person?
3. "Why Does The Word 'Feminist' Bother So Many People?"
I've talked about this a lot with fellow feminists and with people who truly can't stand any variation of the word "feminist," but I still haven't figured out why this term upsets so many people. The closest thing to an excuse I've come up with is this: maybe a lot of people associate feminism with man-hating or bitterness? But even when I try to clarify what feminism means, and explain that feminism actually works to make the world a safer place for everyone, it usually just doesn't stick. So I just keep wondering why the word "feminist" is so hard for some people, and if you're a feminist, you probably do too.
4. "Feminist Women Are Freaking Amazing!"
Zooey Deschenal, Amy Poehler, my mom, Amy Schumer, and my buddy Courtney are all feminist women that I am thrilled to be influenced by. In fact, I don't know of any feminist women who don't inspire me to be a better person. I love feminist women, and I think all feminists are grateful there are so many of us to support and inspire one another.
5. "Feminist Men Are Freaking Amazing!"
Just as I'm grateful for feminist women, I'm also super grateful for feminist men, and I think most feminists feel the same. Feminism applies to men, too, but so many men are afraid to be labeled as feminist allies. So when I come across a feminist male, I'm impressed. Hopefully, over time, there will be so many men identifying as feminist that this will cease to be anything out of the ordinary, but even then, feminist women will still appreciate feminist men.
6. "If Donald Trump Becomes Our Next President, I'm Leaving The U.S."
I have zero doubts that every feminist in the United States is mortified that this joker is even being considered as our next Commander In Chief, because he is sexist, and he will hurt women's rights if he's elected. He may be a great businessman, but I don't want him as my leader. If he actually manages to win in 2016, I'm packing my bags and leaving until he's the hell out of office, and I think a lot of feminists would join me.
7. "I Can't Believe Women Couldn't Vote Until 1920!"
If it weren't for the notorious S.B.A (that would be Susan B. Anthony) and women like her, women would not have the rights they have today. I'm so grateful to her for being brave and self-assured enough to demand the right to vote. Also, she was just a super cool lady. In addition to fighting for women's suffrage and playing a huge role in the history of feminism in America, she started collecting petitions to end slavery by the age of 17. But really, every time I remember we couldn't vote until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, it blows my mind.
8. "Birth Control Is Amazing, But It Should Be Easier To Get."
I feel a lot of gratitude to President Obama for the fact that my birth control is easier to get now than it used to be. When I first started taking it, I could barely afford birth control, and it was pretty stressful. Fortunately, it's been covered by my insurance for a while now, and that's awesome — but I'm one of the lucky ones. Birth control is still really hard to get, depending on your location and what your insurance coverage looks like, and that's just really not OK. Women shouldn't have to jump through hoops to have control over their own bodies and their futures, and I know I'm not the only feminist who thinks that.
9. "Do We Still Need Feminism? (Yup.)"
Obviously, this is a rhetorical question, but I feel like it's one all feminists have thought about. Of course, the answer is yes, we still need feminism. We will never not need feminism, because feminism and equality are synonymous, and even if/when total equality is a real thing someday, feminism will still be needed — because social justice doesn't go out of style.
I think it's important for everyone to question and challenge their own belief systems from time to time, because I feel like it keeps us from growing complacent and judgmental. Self-doubt isn't good, but taking the time to think about why we need feminism helps us reaffirm why we're feminists, and that is a very good thing.
10. "WWBD (What Would Beyonce Do)?"
You know you've thought this, and the situation that caused you to think it might not have even been about feminism. It could have been about anything from a career choice to whether it's fall-enough to rock flannel shirts yet. Beyonce is just such an iconic feminist figure of our generation that I think most feminists look to her for inspiration and guidance on feminist and regular life issues alike.
I know I've thought about what she would do when I've had to choose between speaking my mind and risking being called "bitchy," or keeping quiet. And guess what? I ended up speaking my mind, because we all know that's what Bey would do. All hail Queen B, am I right?
11. "Am I Doing Enough To Help Other Women?"
Feminism is about more than believing in equality and hoping for the best. Feminists know things won't change without action, and that women need to be supporting and rooting for other women if we want things to get better. So I feel like this thought should be a daily one for all of us. I love writing about feminism, and I do think that helps women who enjoy reading about it, but there's so much more I could be doing to help other women.
Whether it's donating to organizations that help provide women worldwide with a good education, actually volunteering to go over there and teach them ourselves, or just helping our female friends to succeed in any way we can, all feminists think about how they can help other women. We know if we can't get on each other's team, progress won't happen. And, unfortunately, there's still a lot of progress to be made where gender equality is concerned.