Tuesday, March 29, 2011

FFB: What I've Learned

Hello, all!

I missed last week's FFB post because I was busy-- and I nearly missed today's, too. So, with 40-something minutes to go in the day, I'm sitting down and writing this.

Over the past month, the wonderful ladies of the FFB have shown me what "feminism" is today. It isn't just about women's rights-- but the rights of everyone. It's about seeing clearly, seeing how the world nudges us in certain directions and trying to understand the implications of yielding to them. It's about knowing your role-- the role you are expected to have and the role you DO have, and knowing what role you WANT to have. It's about embracing who you are, making the choice to stand for something. It's okay to wear dresses and frills and lace and to feel beautiful, but it's also okay not to shave your legs or wear baggy clothes or hide yourself because that's how you are most comfortable.

The modern feminist movement isn't one of extreme action. It's small behaviors and watching, speaking up when you see the traces of sexism or gender bias or stereotypes, and trying to do something about it. It's about not being afraid of the title "FEMINIST", because you may not see yourself as that or you may be reluctant to accept a word that has such a history and stereotype to it, but knowing what you stand for anyway. Feminism today isn't just for women-- it's for everyone that has been limited or pushed or prodded into becoming someone or something they didn't choose to be. Because feminism today is about making a choice for yourself. Choosing your role or your title or your clothes. It's about communicating and reaching out to others, being open to discussion but willing to fight for the truth. It's an all-encompassing movement: you may not be able to pick a Feminist out of a line-up, but that doesn't mean that they aren't or couldn't be.

This month has taught me that feminism isn't a movement of the past. I can be a feminist, and I don't have to be ashamed of it. I'm allowed to write about my feminism and express my views and embrace the opportunities I have been given-- and acknowledging how lucky I am to have them. I haven't had to fight for these things; other generations, other women-- stronger women-- have fought for my rights and my voice and my body to be my own. But their work isn't done, and I can take up their cause, their words, their mission, and translate it into my own life and the world where I live.

Feminism hasn't died. It's changed and altered, sure, but the spirit of change and community of feminists is still here. We're all over the world and we may never meet, but we are united in this.

-Aly