By Indira Midha
Ah, the other f-word. You either love it or hate it. The first thing I’d like to do is give you the appropriate definition in order to decide whether or not you’d like to identify as a feminist:
“Feminist: A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of We Should All Be Feminists
Many people seem to think that feminism is about women hating on men, which is extremely inaccurate. A feminist is a person of any gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, education level, age, profession, size, or ability who believes that gender should not be a determinant in giving human beings rights socially, politically, or economically.
If you choose to be a feminist, after reading the above definition, keep on reading. If this definition does not sound appealing to you, the rest of this article probably doesn’t interest you.
As a college student, I like to do the following 4 things to stay “woke,” or informed on social justice issues (specifically feminist issues).
1.) Understand the meaning of the word feminist and use it to describe yourself.
I definitely use this word to describe myself often; being a feminist is something that I associate heavily with my morals, views, and identity. Don’t be afraid to use the word, but also don’t be shocked if people respond negatively – it happens often. Stay true to your beliefs and don’t be afraid to share them!
2.) Create dialogue among your friends about gender equality.
In order to achieve a united front and empowering attitude in the student body, we must engage in open dialogue. Talk about why you choose to identify as a feminist, what oppression you have faced due to your gender, or what traditional values you believe should be parted ways with. Another important conversation point is the situation on your campus – can women walk alone at night without being in danger? Is there a high rate of sexual assault on your campus? What can you do to improve the issues with these topics?
3.) Visit the Women’s Resource Center on campus and take advantage of its programs and events.
Every college has some sort of center like this, but the University of Illinois has an amazing Women’s Resource Center located next to Cocomero on Wright Street. This center gives out free lunch once a week throughout the entirety of the school year, along with an awesome lecture differing in topic each time. This Lunch On Us program is a great way to get educated on both hot topics and issues that you may not have heard of before. They also offer several other educational panels and unifying events, completely free of cost.
4.) Consume feminist media.
Between Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, podcasts, movies and television programs, millennials consume so much media every day. I suggest following accounts about feminism or social justice and watching shows on these topics. By including these topics in leisurely entertainment, we continue to expose ourselves to messages that go along with feminism and activism, therefore strengthening the concepts in our minds without even trying.