Being a woman today is perhaps more complicated than ever, especially for those of us who are fortunate enough to have choices—to have options. We are mysterious jumbles of paradoxes, feminists. I personally resent the sexualization of women and the societal need to look a certain way, but I still wear make-up and care about my figure. I despise traditional gender roles, but I will happily cook for loved ones and quite frankly, I find joy in cleaning – it’s therapeutic. I am unapologetically ambitious and want a high-powered career, but I also want nothing more than to be a mother one day.
More than anything, I feel it is essential that we understand that feminism is about just that—choice. It’s about allowing women to have the choice to do what they wish with their bodies, minds, and lives. It’s about celebrating the mother that returns to work after maternity leave, but also about supporting the mothers who choose to remain at home. It is about the availability of reproductive health services but also about respecting the choice of women to abort or continue their pregnancies. It is about appreciating a woman’s choice to take her husband’s name but also re-living our friends’ rampant sexual adventures without judgment. As Emma Watson recently said in an interview, “Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women.” There is no fixed right or wrong. What is right for one woman will be different than what is right for another. And that is okay.
I, for one, know I am incredibly privileged. Choices, choices, choices. Latte. Almond milk. Extra shot. No sugar. Every day I make a million and a half decisions that some women are not privileged to make. I dress myself in clothes I bought, get myself to school or work however I want, pay for my own food, and so much more. So for those of us lucky enough to have so many choices, let us not take it for granted because it can so easily be taken away. The rights women have fought for over centuries can easily be stripped away. Let us remember that the fight for equality is never-ending. It is a flame that must burn steadfast and bright to weather whatever storms we face. This starts with action. So whether it is telling a woman in your life how valuable she is to you or donating to Planned Parenthood or similar women’s advocacy groups, be sure to do something today and every day. Actions speak louder than words. Happy International Women’s Day, gentleladies.
-An excerpt from a blogpost I wrote for the London School of Economics Student Blog last year-
On this day, March 8, 2017, we celebrate every woman around the world. We thank the women who have come before us (sometimes advocating civil disobedience—cheers, Emmeline Pankhurst), the women that walk among us, and the women that will brave new frontiers after us. We thank our loving mothers, our doting grandmothers, our often-impossible sisters, and our incredible daughters. We thank our accountants, our teachers, our nurses, our doctors, our lawyers, our yoga instructors, our favorite barista and barmaid. You are brilliant and bright and the world is yours. You look fabulous and you are fabulous whether you rock Louboutin, Converse, Nike, or Clark’s.
But just as importantly, we thank the countless men who stand behind us. We thank the men who dry our tears, pick up the dry cleaning, proofread our slides, cook dinner, snake the drain, love and support us. Because on this day, just as important as it is to honor the courageous ladies who live their lives vibrantly, it is just as important to remember the people that give us the strength to shine. We thank every one person who helps us face our fears and go for gold.