• Monica Montanari

Not Your Mother's Feminism


I just had this startling realization today. In fact, just moments ago. I realized that I, a liberal young woman, have claimed to hate feminism all my life- when in reality, I literally AM feminism- living and breathing. WHAT!?! I've preached my whole life how women have a place in society just like men do, and they should stick to that place. When every day, I fight to prove that I am NOT that stereotypical woman. I am, in fact, so much more. The sociocultural woman I am told to be is a docile, quiet, submissive one. She stays in the kitchen and raises her children. Which is exactly what I rebel against. You better believe that when I decide to have children, it is going to be MY choice. It is not going to affect MY career negatively, and I am going to share in the responsibilities with whoever is lucky enough to call themselves that child's father and my husband. So in fighting against the modern perceptions of women each and every day in my own life, I am a feminist. Do you get it? Cuz I'm still a little mind blown. I have spent my entire life rebelling against femininity. I do not do pink, or flowers. Sparkles, okay, but I do not do cooking and cleaning and expect my other half to not share equally in that work. I always thought feminists were those short haired women who didn't know how to dress or have fun, and had no idea how to wear a pair of heels or contour. But today, feminism has taken on a new shape. It is not the stuff of our grandparents' day, or even our parents'.

Actually just this week, a prominent feminist movement occurred in my hometown of Los Angeles, California. And I want to talk about it. That's right.

The #slutwalk.

Interesting, no? Taking a word that "used to control women and police sexuality. There’s no clear rubric for what makes someone a slut. Its definition is completely fluid and arbitrary — the better to dehumanize women, to victim-blame and to declare that women who are sluts are incapable of being raped or are somehow deserving of their assault".

The phrase "its a dress, not a yes!" rang clearly through the air. And how poignant that is- how true. Guess what people, we're human! Clothing is an option- rape is not. We live in a culture where shaming rape-victims is commonplace. And that isn't okay. Our society tells women that dressing a certain way is equivalent to saying that they consent to sexual relations with anyone who crosses their path- that the way they dress is how they are asking to be sexually harassed. When in fact, society is completely in the wrong. We shouldn't be shaming women for dressing a certain way- whether you believe promiscuity is a sin or not, it is an option for men and women- and being promiscuous or choosing to dress in such a way STILL is NOT saying that a woman does not own her own body. This is a totally new kind of feminism. A feminism that celebrates how women really can do it all- we can make our own choices and still look amazing. If a 90-year old man can go for a jog in a speedo, why are women still considered obscene for wearing bikinis at the beach that are a tad too revealing? Seriously? If there's one thing I really love about this, it's how Amber Rose is owning up to her sexual choices, saying "sure- I make my own sexual choices. That doesn't mean that YOU are my choice, or that I should be ridiculed for the choices that I make regarding my own body."

Often, slut-shaming is started at a young age. I am all too familiar with the way that middle school and high school girls will start totally false rumors about their classmates to humiliate them in this horrible, nasty, false, puritan way. I get people all the time telling me that my shorts are too short, my hair is too long, my body is too thin, my face is the wrong shape, my laugh isn't attractive, my shirts are too revealing or my dresses are too tight. Guess what- I ain't perfect! But I celebrate who I am and feel beautiful regardless of what the haters say daily. I shouldn't have to dress like a nun for you to respect me. You should respect me regardless of what I am wearing, look like, talk like, etc. Respect me because I am a human being and therefore worthy.

I love this article from the Washington Post talking about the complicated issues that this stood for- check it out. Then watch this video of the event and how those words hurt her- and everyone else who has ever been called a nasty word for wearing something or acting a certain way.