I've been a feminist for a long time now, and I've always felt like feminism is a pretty easy concept to understand: If you support the equality of the sexes, you're a feminist. It's pretty basic stuff, and it applies just as much to the smaller issues (like being told to "smile" all the time) as it does to the big things (like the right to equal pay), but it seems as though a lot of people still associate feminism with the big ticket issues only — and the more radical, public displays and protests that come along with them. Of course, those protests are important and awesome, and we definitely still need them. But being a feminist is just as much, if not more, about finding little ways to add feminism to your daily life as it is about making a big, united, group statement for the public eye to see.
Feminism is more than a word, and it's more than an ideology — feminism is the way we live our lives.
If you're a feminist, you already know that feminism is a constant presence in your life, but what you might not know is there are actually a lot of little ways you can infuse feminism into your daily life. You don't have to attend a protest or write a feminist novel to make feminism a priority in your life. (Although, those things are awesome, and you totally can and should do those things if you want to.)
Here are nine little ways you can add more feminism to your daily life.
1. Read More Feminist Authors
There are so many great books written by feminist women about feminist issues, and there are few mediums cable of inspiring better than the written word. Even if your schedule is insane, fitting in a few pages before bed is totally doable, and you'll be really glad you did. Reading the words of other smart, skilled, experienced feminist women will invigorate you and remind you why feminism is so important to you. Plus, feminist authors like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Mindy Kaling are hilarious, and who doesn't love to laugh?
2. Watch More Feminist-Friendly Films & Shows
We all know that sexism is rampant in Hollywood. So one easy way we can add feminism into our daily lives while simultaneously supporting other feminists is by watching more films, documentaries, and TV shows created by, for, and/or about women. The Mindy Project, New Girl, and Orange Is The New Black are all excellent, well-known options to choose from, but there's a lot more feminist-friendly shows to choose from on Netflix.
Additionally, documentaries like Rashida Jones', Hot Girls Wanted, and Fox Searchlight's He Named Me Malala (set to premiere this October) are other notable, female-centered projects that will undoubtedly inspire and challenge us, as well as reaffirm our feminist convictions.
3. Wear Whatever The Hell You Want
This is one of the easiest ways to get more feminism into your daily life. Women are so often scrutinized, judged, and policed when it comes to what they're wearing. So choosing to wear whatever the f*ck you want, all day, everyday, is some pretty empowering stuff. (I mean, obviously you probably shouldn't wear a bikini to the office, but you know what I mean.) Make your wardrobe decisions for you, not for someone else. If that means wearing super comfy, modest clothes, awesome. If it means wearing short shorts and crop tops, do it.
Whatever you wear, if you choose it based on how you're feeling, you'll be inserting feminism into your daily life.
4. Do More Things Alone
5. Be Good To Other Women
You probably work with, or at least come in contact with, other women every single day. So use this interaction as an opportunity to add feminism into your life. When you see other women at work, restaurants, crosswalks, or shops, be kind, give an encouraging word or compliment, and know that by being good to other women you are living feminism. If you're a work-from-home hermit like myself, you can still live your feminism by being good to the women you work with/for. You'll just have to do it via email.
6. Don't Be Afraid To Say "No"
It doesn't matter how big or small the request is, if you don't want to do something, allow yourself to say no. Women are conditioned to be agreeable and please everyone, but that's just not possible, and it will make you miserable. Telling your friend you can't babysit because you really need a night to yourself, turning down a date with someone you're just not that into, or telling your boss you can't work late on certain nights does not make you a bad person. You are entitled to your own time, and saying, "no," for yourself is super empowering.
7. ... But Don't Be Afraid To Say "Yes," Either
Of course, saying "yes" for yourself can sometimes be just as empowering as saying "no." So whatever it is you want to say yes to, (whether it's a job, a purchase, a hookup, or just a night in) if you're doing it for yourself, you are living your feminism. Being self-assured enough to be honest about what you want is hugely feminist, and we're faced with chances to say "yes" to the things we want every single day. So go for it!
8. Speak Your Mind
This kind of goes along with giving yourself permission to say, "yes" and "no," but it reaches beyond that, too. We're given opportunities to speak our minds and vocalize what we want on a daily basis, and we should, but I feel like many of us (myself included) don't always take these opportunities because we're afraid of being "bitchy." But here's the thing — there's nothing "bitchy" about being honest, and that's all that speaking your mind is.
Be confident enough to be honest about what you're feeling, thinking, and wanting, because you deserve it, and it's one of the most feminist things you can do for yourself on a daily basis.
9. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself
I can't tell you how miserable I've made myself over the years by trying to be everything a woman is "supposed to be" all at the same time. Hell, I'm still trying to break this habit, and it's really hard to do. Punishing ourselves for not being all the things society tells us we're supposed to be is exhausting, and since the standard women are held to is also impossible to achieve, berating ourselves for not living up to it is just the most counterproductive way to spend our time.
Every day, we can choose to remind ourselves that we really don't have to be (and literally cannot be) everything we're "supposed" to be all at once, and that's more than OK. So going forward, let's make it a daily, feminist goal to remind ourselves that we are enough.