What Does Feminism Mean to You?

  • Angie PrencipeAngie Prencipe

    To me, feminism means working towards achieving global gender equality. Everyone is born equal, regardless of gender, race, or sexuality. However, there are so many aspects of life in which people are not treated equally: politically, economically, legally, and socially. Feminism is about working against the systems built to keep certain groups of people oppressed, and striving towards equality for everyone. It means fighting for internsectionality and acknowledging how race, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status affects feminism. It means having civil conversations with people I fundamentally disagree with to try and advocate change. It means taking a meaningful stance on injustices and standing up for inequalities, even if I’m the only one standing.

    Kylie Smith Kylie Smith

    Being a feminist means that you fight for the equality of all people. It’s important that your feminism is intersectional; it should not exclude people based on their gender, race, socioeconomic status, ability, or sexual orientation. Feminism allows people to look at the world not as it is, but how it could be. It shines light on problems that the patriarchy perpetuates, but also comes up with ways to fix these problems. I’m a feminist because ever since I was a little kid, before I even knew what a feminist was, I hated when things weren’t fair and wanted to help people however I could. Today, I often look at feminist issues in my research as a graduate student in the Sociology Department. Currently, I’m researching gendered differences in emotional labor among professors.

    Elissa NolteElissa Nolte

    Here's what feminism means to her: Feminism means having common sense. It’s the idea that everyone is equal and deserves to be given this equity. However, in our world, this isn’t always the case, and that’s where feminism comes in. It helps enlighten everyone of this injustice and acts as a way for others to take action to help make equality happen. Feminism isn’t just “women's issues.” It helps fight racism/classism/ablism/ageism/patriarchy/homophobia/etc., and everyone can be a feminist, regardless of race, gender, class, religion, ability, etc.

    Cori Woods Cori Woods

    To me, feminism means equality. That does not mean that I hate men, that I want to burn my bra, or that every women has to become a CEO; it means I fight for social, political, and economic equality between the sexes. However, feminism is not just about women becoming equal, though that is a large part of the argument—it is also about men being equal. For example, if a man wants to be a hairstylist or a nurse or a teacher, jobs typically reserved or associated with women, they should be allowed to. Yet, the same goes for women. If a women wants to be an astronaut or a construction worker or a stay-at-home mom, they should be allowed to. Feminists are typically portrayed in a bad light and that needs to change. That is why I am a feminist and why I work in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program; I want to spread this message to the IUP campus and, then, spread it to the world.

    Mary Reading Mary Reading 

    My interest in feminism and equality began at an early age. I was the only girl playing Star Wars at recess with the boys. I always questioned everything, including why there were boy’s toys and girl’s toys. As I moved into my college years, I had a wonderful professor in my Introduction to Literature class, Ms. Mary Hills-Hoffman. She always encouraged me to think critically. She introduced me to my first African novel about a young girl that goes through the now illegal practice of genital mutilation. After the class was over I bumped into her at a bookstore. She was looking for good novels to teach the following semester. She told me that I had a special gift for literature and that I need to continue my education and teach. She gave me a little bit of a push and self-esteem to continue on my journey of gender equality, LGBTQ equality, and the focus I am currently working in my PhD program. I will never forget that conversation and how it only takes one woman reaching out to another woman to encourage them to seek feminist scholarship and pedagogy. I have had many other teachers in education and outside of academia that have taught me the strength and possibility through their mentorship and passing the torch to carry the mentorship with others.

    Danielle Yushinski Danielle Yushinski

    I gained an interest in women’s and gender studies when I visited Thailand in the summer of 2014. I witnessed the struggle, pain and social exclusion of ladyboys. Before this experience, I never thought analytically about gender-based struggles, even in our own society, with acceptance and resources. Being an anthropology major, I took anthropology of gender, to learn more about the global view of alternative genders. I love learning about how gender-based injustices develop, and how different genders are culturally constructed and placed in society. This includes what cultural barriers keep people of different genders from having social mobility. This fascinates me and makes me want to learn more stories from people who have lived through social injustices due to their gender. #WomanCrushWednesday