As a feminist, I always feel so inspired when I hear about all the big ways feminists everywhere are taking a stand for gender equality. From the work Malala Yousafzai is doing to raise awareness of the dangers non-Western women face just for demanding their right to an education, to Amber Rose's L.A. slut-walk, feminists in the West and in developing nations alike are doing more than ever to take a feminist stand. But for the majority of feminists, at least the majority of Western feminists, every day is not a protest-kind-of-a-day.
If you're anything like me, most of your days probably consist of work, a little socializing, and a lot of quality time with your phone, yoga mat, and Netflix account — but don't make the mistake of thinking that, since your Monday-Friday grind isn't always epic, you can't take a feminist stand in your daily life. Everyday life is actually the most important time to take a feminist stand, and I'm realizing more and more that, perhaps sadly, the opportunities to take a feminist stand in my daily life abound.
If you're not sure how, let me assure you that you can (and should) stand up for your feminism, and yourself, on a daily basis. Here are seven ways to take a feminist stand in your everyday life.
1. Call Out Mansplaining & Mansplainers
Mansplaining, unfortunately, is a near-daily misery that women have to face, and it's just the worst possible mixture of sexism, condescension, and infantilization of women I've ever seen in my daily life. I've been the unwilling victim of mansplaining more times than I can count, and I hate it — but what I'm even more upset about is the fact that I don't know if I've ever really called out the guys who have subjected me to their well-intended condescension.
Of course, I shouldn't have to in the first place, and neither should you, but this is one way we can start to take a feminist stand in our daily lives. And, really, we should. Because mansplaining sucks.
2. Disagree With People & Don't Feel Bad About It
It's OK to disagree with your co-workers, family, friends, partners, and literally anyone else you run into on a daily basis. Women are so conditioned to be polite and agreeable that we frequently silence ourselves, but we should never feel like we can't voice our disagreements.
Allowing yourself to openly disagree with the people in your life is a healthy way to express yourself while simultaneously taking a feminist stand in your everyday life. You can disagree with someone and be nice about it, too. Just don't keep silent on an issue you feel strongly about simply because you don't want to offend anyone, because you're really not responsible for anyone's feelings but your own.
3. Ignore People Who Tell You Not To Do Things Alone
I am 10,000 percent done with people (especially male people) telling me I can't (or shouldn't) travel, live, or even go to the auto shop by myself. I acknowledge that there are certain places that are not safe for women (or really anyone for that matter) to visit or live in alone, and I realize that a lot of people see women as easier targets, too — but women are told from girlhood that they are not capable of doing even remotely challenging or adventurous things without a companion, and that men are just waiting to take advantage of our timid natures. I'm over it.
Now, I'm not saying women don't need to be aware of the potential dangers of exploring on their own. Be smart, and know that people might try to take advantage of you. Do your research before traveling alone or moving somewhere new — but don't keep yourself from experiencing new places and adventures just because you're told something horrible will happen to you if you do. You're capable of doing whatever the hell you want to do, and you can do it — by yourself.
4. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For What You Want In Bed
OK, so sex may not be a part of your daily life, but it's probably part of your life on a pretty regular basis, and it will present you with a major opportunity to take a feminist stand. Don't tolerate bad, selfish, or painful sex just because you're worried about hurting your partner's feelings or putting a damper on their experience. Obviously, you should care about whether your partner is having a good time, but it's not all about them.
Ask for what you want, be clear about what you don't want, and don't ever feel bad about being honest about sex. In the end, you're the only one who's responsible voicing your desires.
5. Stand Up For Yourself & For Those Around You
Whether it's you who's being mistreated or it's someone you barely know, feminists stand against injustices — both big and small. So the next time you, or someone near you, is being slut-shamed, skinny-shamed, fat-shamed, body-shamed, sex-shamed, mansplained to, or bullied in any way, speak up. Because feminists know we shouldn't have to experience, or witness, unprovoked hatefulness and then be expected to do nothing about it.
6. Be The Boss Of Your Own Body
Every day we're given opportunities to be the bosses of our own bodies, and we should be taking those opportunities. Both directly and indirectly, women's bodies are policed on a daily basis. So one of the best ways to take a feminist stand in your everyday life is to completely disregard all the ways society, and sometimes the people in your personal life, will try to tell you what to do with your body. Love your body and take care good care of it, but don't make any decisions about what to do with it based on cultural "norms."
Wear whatever the hell you want, eat what you want, drink what you want, sleep with you want to sleep with, take birth control or don't take birth control. Do yoga or body-build, get pierced and tatted up or avoid needles all together — but whatever you decide to do with your body, be the boss. Because your body is not for male (or female) consumption. Your body is for you. It is literally where you live. Do what you want with it, and don't ask for permission first.
7. Trust Yourself
Trusting yourself to think, say, and do the right thing may be the biggest way you can take a feminist stand in your daily life. Mansplaining, infantilization of women, slut-shaming, body-shaming, and just sexism in general attempts to undermine female confidence from childhood — so having the self-assuredness to trust your own thoughts and decisions can be really hard.
Trusting yourself can also be difficult simply because knowing who are can be difficult, but trusting yourself to make the right calls about your body and your life is hugely feminist. Remember: no one is more qualified to make decisions about your life and your body than you are.