By Girl Up Teen Advisor Jada Young
2017 was an eye-opening year for feminists and women around the world.
The shift to the current Administration sparked a global feminist revolution. Women were outraged by sexist comments and derogatory words such as “nasty woman,” and new dialogue was sparked following conversations about sexual assault. Women from different ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds joined together to reignite the feminist flame. that had appeared to have died out.
While it was wonderful to see women march and speak up for themselves, some people seemed to have misunderstood the definition of feminism during the global cry of women’s indignation. Feminism isn’t about smearing your period blood on your face or hating men. Being a feminist means that you are aware that women are being mistreated and looked over in today’s society and you are ready to help and fix it. Feminism is caring about the broad spectrum of issues that plague women and realizing that they are all equally important and need to be addressed; getting women into the STEM career field is equally as important as making sure there is equal pay amongst men and women. Now that you know what feminism really is, here are 5 tools to add to your toolkit to be a better feminist in 2018.
- Be a Selfless Feminist
Don’t be a selfish feminist. This means that you only care about an issue that is troubling you and nothing else. For example, it’s easy to get involved when something directly affects you (think: a woman is up for a promotion, she has worked twice as long as her male colleague, but her male colleague gets the position), but then turn it off when that problem is resolved. This year it needs to be all or nothing. We need to fight for what all women and girls deserve, not just what you deserve.
- Learn the Issues
Educate yourself. If you don’t see feminist issues in your environment, do some research! There is always more work to be done. Somewhere in the world a woman needs your help so your work is far from over.
- Speak Up
The time for being quiet and silently acknowledging the issues is over. If you hear someone tell a vulgar joke, call them out. If you see inequality between men and women happening in your workplace or inequality between boys and girls at your school, tell your boss, coworkers, or classmates. Society is so used to conforming to what has been the normality that sometimes bringing the issue to attention is all it takes to make a difference.
- Build Yourself Up
Take time for self care! Look into the mirror and don’t point out what you think are flaws. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You deserve just as much as any other person. There is no one on this earth that can be you or do what you do better than you. Do not ever settle for less than what you deserve because you deserve everything.
- Build Other Women Up
Now that you recognize who you are and what you are capable of, it’s time to help other young women recognize it for themselves. 2018 needs to be the year that ends woman-on-woman crime. We need to stand together. No more comparing ourselves to each other or to the societal definition of beauty. All women and girls need to be a united front against injustice this year and for the years to come because as soon as there is one chink in our armor, society will push us down.
Here are the tools we need to take with us into the new year. Together, let’s slay 2018!
This post was written by a Girl Up leader and reflects her personal thoughts and experiences. Girl Up stands behind our girl leaders and encourages them to raise their voices for global gender equality.
Teen Advisor Jada Young is a rising sophomore at Keystone School in San Antonio, Texas.